Sport has played an integral part in my life, not only was it something that I enjoyed doing in my free time as a kid, it has also been a means for teaching me important “life lessons”.
I grew up happy to try my hand at any sport. Football, rugby, cricket, tennis, swimming, rowing, gymnastics and countless more. And with that I suppose there is my first lesson – don’t be afraid to try something new.
I have played a combination of team sports as well as individual ones. In any team, you are only as strong as your weakest man. That’s why it’s so important to communicate effectively in order to use each individuals’ strengths to your full advantage. We are accountable not only for our own abilities, but also for how they can impact on and improve the group as a whole. We must consider the needs of the people around us. Sport teaches us the importance of working well with others and also the independence to work alone.
At the age of 15 my rugby team went the season unbeaten – we played 38 games, winning all 38; scoring 1111points and conceding just 128 in the process, we won each game on average 30-3 – it was unbelievable. The following season, just two months after the previous had ended, we lost 2 of our first 3 games. We didn’t know how to react. Losing two games in such quick succession wasn’t something that we had ever done before. What did we do? We knuckled down and worked even harder. We went the remainder of the season unbeaten.
What did rugby teach me?
That I don’t like losing. It doesn’t sit right with me. To walk off the field knowing that we had been outplayed in spite of giving it our all is not a nice feeling. We used it as fuel to motivate ourselves to get better, to take ourselves to the next level. We remembered how awful it felt to lose in order to strive to never feel that way again. Whatever we choose to do in life we must work even harder and stay disciplined in order to be successful.