Nuptials and nursing
Injuries are not fun, but it does give one the opportunity to focus on things other than the next Super Rugby game.
As part of the Stormers’ ongoing endeavour to reach out to the community, I attended a mini rugby day on Saturday in which 4 000 kids participated. It was absolute chaos. I enjoyed the boys’ happy, frenetic activity, but what I observed next to the fields was a concern.
The support offered by more than a few of the parents next to the field went way overboard. Passion was all too often out of control and the amount of pressure that some of the parents put on their kids, boys around eight or nine years old, was disconcerting.
Surely, at that age you play rugby to learn the value of playing in a team, to develop ball skills and, most importantly, for enjoyment. As you move up in age-group, the pressure increases.
If you go on to play professional sport, enjoyment is a product of success. The pressure to perform outdoes the pleasure of competing.
I was reminded on Saturday why I picked up a rugby ball for the first time. When I start playing again I’ll try to keep at the forefront of my mind that enjoyment should not fall by the wayside because of the narrow focus of pressure to win.
Since I won’t be playing against the Cheetahs, I now have the time and energy for contemplation on all sorts of things, one of which is my approach to injury.
I believe the enforced time-out can be approached in two different ways. There is temptation to sulk and feel sorry for yourself and gain nothing personally from the break. But that’s self-defeating and I’ve learned, I hope, to use it as an opportunity to do some soul-searching and to reinvigorate my approach for when I return.
Philosophical reflection and injury rehab will mean I’ll be back stronger, hopefully in time make an impact in the Stormers’ run-in to Super Rugby’s climax.
I’ve not been idle. When not at the HPC, I’ve been playing nurse/personal assistant/ slave to my younger sister, Tina.
Tina returned prematurely from a trip to South America because she almost lost her hand in a farm accident. So now, big brother Nick is at her beck-and-call. And trust me, little sister is taking full advantage! My chef skills are improving rapidly and I've even learned how to tie a girl’s hair!
A big group of Stormers’ players enjoyed a wonderful Saturday wedding. We celebrated the marriage of Peter and Leigh-Anne Grant. Leigh Anne was a beautiful bride, and Bash cleans up well himself!
Much of my evening was spent avoiding Schalk Burger, as Paarl Gym put 50 points on Bishops on Saturday. My months of trying to convince Schalk to send his son to Bishops lost a bit of credibility, and Bishops therefore probably lost their 1st XV captain for 2030. I'd better keep a low profile for a while on that one and then start my campaign all over again.
Schalk’s wife Michelle is somewhat nervous, as Schalk apparently weighed over 6kg at birth.
We had a DHL function on Thursday evening at the Grand in Granger Bay. It was a superb evening, where our partners could mix and the Stormers’ family could get to know each other better.
Siya Kolisi and Peter Grant won the awards for forward and back of the tour, winning a trip for two sponsored by DHL to attend a Formula One race or English Premiership football match of their choice.
Bash will obviously take Leigh-Anne, which meant that Siya immediately became the most popular member of the squad.
Siya has had a girlfriend for only a couple of weeks, so everyone was trying to convince him that he should take a friend because it would be a memory to cherish forever, followed by the most wonderful reasons as to why he should take them ahead of all other candidates!
Siya is worried that if he takes a teammate on the DHL trip they may never return home. Yes, Siya, I am definitely available.
The Springbok camp last week was fascinating, as we all expected it to be. Details of what was said and done are obviously confidential, but suffice to say that Heyneke Meyer and his support team are meticulously well organised and those fortunate enough to be part of the Bok team are in very good hands.
During one of the camp training sessions, Jean de Villiers lost his wedding ring. There was pandemonium, and the entire SACS boarding house missed their first hour of prep while joining in the search party in a desperate effort to find the coveted ring. I'm sure Jean hasn't let the boarders know that he found the ring in his jeans' pocket when he got back to the hotel!
This is a big weekend for the Stormers, since the players are determined to build on our tour momentum by turning in a top performance against the Cheetahs at Newlands.
It’s a huge day for the Western Province Vodacom Cup team as well. Having beaten the Lions in their quarterfinal, they now face the Pumas in a home semifinal.
We’ve all seen the excitingly talented youngsters who have made their mark for the Stormers this year and, believe me, there are a few more brilliant youngsters in that unbeaten Western Province team too.
Feel free to leave any questions or comments below, and I’ll tackle the best ones.