5 ~ “You Might as well Jump” -Van Halen

I changed my homescreen on Jan 1.

This is a pic that was taken during the last year.

At first glance, it would appear that the player is sitting in the bleachers, but upon further inspection one can see the position of his feet reveal that he is in fact, in the air.

Four short years ago, the depth of his knowledge of the sport was fairly limited, he was considerably smaller in size and had just left home to start out on his own.

An ardent outdoorsman, he always travels light, taking with him only a few mementos and a duffel bag full of dreams.

Amongst those was, one he had carrried since the age of eight.

To make his mark at the highest level of amateur sport.

One day, he shared the latest version of that dream.

“Dad, I want to start in every game, and I want to make a difference on the field for the men’s varsity rugby team.”

Feeling lucky to be included, I sat down and wrote up a multi-point plan to leverage every single variable over which he had control. (Reach out to me in the comments and I will send it to you, it is not limited to rugby, or even sport)

I shared it with him but TBT didn’t know if it was a flight of fancy or if it would resonate with him-you know cuz young men are often easily distracted.

Along the way there were a few things life brought to his game that were beyond his control. They certainly taxed his resolve both physically and emotionally.

For example, he broke an ankle, damaged a shoulder and suffered a neck injury, yet he kept leaping.

His parents separated and the only home he ever knew was sold- yet he continued.

Despite the upside down status of his world, he never stopped leaving his feet, jumping into the air, reaching for his goal.

According to Webster, Alchemy is defined as “a medieval chemical science … aiming to achieve the transmutation of the base metals into gold

Over the past four years I have had the privilege of watching my son perform alchemy.

Only instead of turning low value metals into gold, he turned dreams into his own precious mettle.

For two consecuctive seasons he was declared a league all-star in his position.`

In his last season his on field minutes were the highest on the team.

His was recognised and respected as a player of consequence and better- of integrity and fairplay.

Acting with passion, he accomplished this with nothing more than rentless self sacrifice, focus and humility – rarely speaking of his progress, neglecting to mention his awards to friends and family.

On the day of the last game of his university career, he captained the team, in the semi finals.

I call that -success .

For many of us though, we choose to clip our own wings, when life drops us from the sky with seemingly brutal indifference.

Sometimes forgetting what we are capable of, despite having flown the plane upside down, we let our misguided, misinformed or mistaken choices force us to a crash landing.

Life pounds us and then all too often we let it ground us.

We focus on a view of the wreckage and regret, which often that appears too heavy for another takeoff. We fear the lift off, frozen by the imagined landing.

We mindlessly anchor our feet, heart and dreams to the ground.

There, we join the others- who have traded the same perspective of life’s threats and challenges for their goals and dreams.

There’s a couple of ways the game of Rugby mimics life .

1) When your opponents score on you, you give the ball back to them.

Unlike football, where, when you get scored on, (beaten, embarressed or mistaken) the team who scored hands kicks you the ball cuz ‘it’s your turn’

In Rugby, after being spanked it’s like your team is forced to say:

“THANK YOU SIR! MAY I HAVE ANOTHER?”

The result is, sometimes in Rugby, a team takes control and just never yields the ball again.

And if that doesn’t test your ability to remain willing to leave your feet and chase your version of success- then this little rule will:

2) In Rugby, the opposing team cannot make contact with a player attempting to catch a ball IF the player catching the ball has both feet off the ground.

The game screams..If your not fully commited to success then you’re gonna pay.

Upon landing though -a lot like life- the recipient better be ready for impact.

Cuz the game keeps going and rugby, like life, is a without question, a contact sport.

There is no time for over thinking and self defeating hesitation.

In fact not committing to the leap actually places a player in a position of greater danger.

In order to avoid getting pummelled, by catching on the ground, the recipient must precisely time the moment to suspend animation (and fear) in order to leap into the air.

To hang from the clouds until the ball finds his hands.

And when he does, the opponents will be within arms reach, so most often the player will find himself at the bottom of a pile of sweaty, smelly, and heavy opponents.

Forward progress may be halted, but he will be holding the ball like a briefcase full of cash.

I changed my homescreen Jan 1 … for several reasons:

  1. Because I can literally feel the fearless commitment to a goal in this picture.
  2. So I remain grateful for the privilege of being his father.
  3. Some days I really need to be reminded of how it feels fly.

Yet, I changed my homescreen mostly because there’s one other similarity between the game of Rugby and a life fully lived:

When you score … it’s called a “TRY

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