What Rugby Taught Me About Life

by Nelson Patchett

To be honest, even walking into the grounds on Game Day, you wouldn’t have thought I played Rugby – hair slicked back, shirt and tie with a well fitted sweater over the top, freshly polished shoes, matching belt and a complementary watch – looking like I just stepped out of the office. I did not fit the stereotypical image of a Rugby player and that was okay with me because there is more than one side to me.

I hope that if you ever watched me play, or played alongside me, you would know that the dapper, smooth talking, blonde Aussie and the competitive, bossy and dogmatic rugby player that you see on the field are one in the same.

In my 10+ years playing Rugby, I was never the fastest, the strongest, the biggest or the most skilled, and that is reflected in my relatively short list of accomplishments. Having represented North Harbour, Brisbane and a few other regional teams, I felt like I was always close to living up to my potential – until the last couple years, which has resulted in me taking a break from the game. Stepping back/out (?) has given me the opportunity to reflect on past times and lessons I have learnt along the way – things that Rugby has taught me about Life.

1. You can makes friends in unlikely places

Upon arrival to NZ I was thrown into the mix with the Premier Grade teams, as an 18 year old with plenty of nervous energy; the prospect of making new friends was daunting, but exciting! Rugby taught me that even though we may come from different backgrounds, colours and creeds, sharing a few challenging experiences can create the strongest of bonds with those you experience them with. So the lesson learnt here is to not shy away from challenges, instead look to those around you for help and work together to overcome them – not only will you improve your chances of success but also the likelihood of making strong friendships.

2. Hustle WINS

You’ve probably heard the famous quote, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” This is very much the case with Rugby. It was up to me to grind for every opportunity that I hoped to be offered. With no name, history, reputation or family ties, it was only my hard work that I could rely on to get noticed. The lesson is to never feel like you’ve got no chance to accomplish something. Fortune favours the brave, and it favours those who go out and work their butts off to make that happen. Because of Rugby, I have a self inflicted pressure to take the decision-making out of other peoples’ hands and redistribute it to myself – because what’s better than hoping something will work out in your favour? Going out and making it happen.

3. Do more than what’s expected

With Rugby, you are likely to have awesome coaches, the best equipment and everything you need to be successful. In life, we have the Internet, pretty much the golden ticket to learning and being anything we want. This privilege means that it’s easy for us to line up, be told what to do and simply follow orders. What’s a little bit more challenging is going out of our way to ask, “What more can I do?’ – this is the question that everyone can ask themselves. If we just cruise along and do what’s expected, we will never exceed expectations. If you don’t know how to do it, go and find out how. If you want to be successful in anything, you must build a reputation for being someone who over-delivers on promises – now it is up to you to go do it.

While Rugby offered these lessons to me, it is less about the sport and more to do with the belief systems that we can adopt, that we can choose to apply RIGHT NOW.


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Posted on February 12, 2016 .