The Best is yet to come


Following yesterday’s post, I was interested to read a story in today’s Guardian about Ulster rugby’s European Cup semi-final and in particular that of their hooker Rory Best. Once again I could empathise with his story. Best is Ireland’s most capped hooker but he’s had his fair share of disappointments and set backs as the article reveals. In fact, some of the setbacks have contributed to thoughts of quitting:

…there was a time when I was enjoying it more than rugby. I wasn’t looking forward to games. It just wasn’t as fun as it used to be.

I know these feelings. I have the same about my own job. I even have the same thoughts about heading out on the bike as well. For best, the game – his job – had become all-consuming:

if we lost it would have destroyed me for the whole weekend. I couldn’t let it go.

I know how he feels, I can almost hear the inner dialogue that must have been going on in Best’s head. I’ve been there too.

But it’s not a story of doom and gloom. In fact, it’s a heartening story of how you can have different focusses in life, how these can provide distractions (if that is the right word) and how together they provide balance in life. As Best says:

When I get home now I drive to the farm, the gate closes behind me and, apart from my throwing, that’s rugby over with. I’m not as wound up.

And, as well as the usually quoted life balancing elements of family, farming plays its role. A European Cup final is for many rugby players a pinnacle of their career but not necessarily for Best:

The week of the final coincides with the prestigious Balmoral Show where Best hopes his prize bull, Logie Lustre, will conquer all in the Aberdeen Angus category. In an ideal world he would be up at 5.30am to wield the black soap and brush down the beast ahead of a different type of sporting contest.

Sounds like a handful to me but it seems to keep Rory Best happy and balanced. There’s definitely something for me to learn from that.

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