Team sport can be a wonderful thing. The camaraderie, unity in both victory and defeat, and the feeling that you are part of something unique make it extra special! However, it can also be, at times, excruciating; as you rely on the performances of others as well as your own to achieve set goals.
Of course, when you win alongside your team mates there is no greater feeling in the world. If one of the team makes a match saving tackle or scores a winning try, the squad will swarm them and worship them like a God.
But when things go wrong…things can go slightly south.
There is a way to react if a team mate drops the ball on the try line or misses a tackle in a one on one situation, and a way not to react…Easier said than done to keep your moral compass in the heat of the moment.
If you make a mistake and your whole team gets on your back, it can be an extremely demoralising process.
What is more unfortunate, is that in many local clubs (so we are told) there often exists that player, who just seems to make mistakes at the wrong times and is bombarded with abuse from the team. Not necessarily malicious – it’s just venting anger.
Sounds pretty horrible doesn’t it?
But fear not, this is not a sob story; in fact this is a tale of the underdog.
We chatted to a bloke the other evening who told us about, ‘The Late Bloomer.’
What’s that we hear you ask? To be fair we were similarly perplexed when the chap initially mentioned it.
Some poor players who just can’t seem to catch a break (or in some cases the ball), disappear for the summer disheartened but motivated, and return to the squad for pre-season, a tenacious almost-complete rugby player.
Not just a new player as in new stash (bright white boots and skin-tight under armour) but a player with new-found rugby ability that makes them almost unrecognisable on the rugby pitch.
In a 2-month period, some players can transform their rugby skill-set in an amazing way – how they do it we do not know. (Perhaps a Mr Miyagi-like chap is lurking around amateur clubs).
The LB’s understanding of the game also progresses and as a result, performance standards increase, making them go from zero to hero in the dressing room. (A bit dramatic perhaps as we are not saying they were hated - but their reputation certainly improves.)
Have a think for a second…you’re squad may have an LB.
If not, potentially you’re that player – If so, hats off to you!
Now. Don’t read this and assume your team’s usual scapegoat will return an exceptional rugby player after preseason - it’s not a given!
However, there are those who are late to develop physically, and can improve massively at the sport in a short space of time!
Kudos to the Players that continue to play the game even if they are consistently on the wrong-end of a shed-load of abuse! Even better if they come back a better player!
We understand that most rugby clubs will have a positive attitude throughout, where hurling abuse isn’t seen as the problem solver…but sometimes in the heat of the moment it can’t be helped!
The late bloomer: a player who appears hopeless one season, and a fantastic asset for the team the next. Heart-warming stuff!
Keep an eye out…