Column: Generosity of spirit

On and off the field, there have been recent reminders of why I love this game, writes former Springbok STEFAN TERBLANCHE in the latest SA Rugby magazine.

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From time to time we can all lose our way along the path of life for whatever reason, and sport is no different. In fact, it is a very intense form of life.

The highs after a win or a good season can be almost euphoric while the exact opposite can be said about a gut- wrenching loss or a season when the pre-season hype and off-season signings didn’t quite add up. That’s life and that’s our beloved game of rugby.

It will hurt you when you least expect and need it, but it will give you this incredible sense of belonging and absolute high when things fall in place. Recently, I experienced one of those days, and it made me believe once again that rugby is without a doubt the best game in the world payed by the best sportsmen in the world.

Rugby Unites was the charity of choice when rugby returned to the South African rugby pitches at the end of September, and for every try scored at Loftus at Super Fan Saturday, Vodacom donated R2 500 to this cause created by SA Rugby Legends president, Gavin Varejes during the pandemic, feeding well over 15 000 families to date.

I was blown away by the quality of rugby from the players after more than six months since their last rugby outing, and it was particularly good to see the speed and ability of all the new faces on display.

But most importantly, I also knew that with every try scored we could feed another 15 or 20 families.

If I thought that the game-day was a treat to be watching rugby again, and counting the number of tries, it only get better the day after when I was able to spend a couple of hours with a few of these players.

With the generous donation from Vodacom and after an array of tries, Rugby Unites had a whopping R330 000 to spend on food parcels, and all four rugby unions were there on the day to shop and to pack these parcels for the two chosen charities.

I remember that during my playing days we had many community outreach and charitable commitments and very often we treated these like a punishment and couldn’t wait for them to finish so that we could either go back to the training field or rest to get ready to train again.

But this was an eye-opener on how this crop of players dealt with commitments like this and I learned so much from every one of them. It was wonderful to see some of the older and more experienced players, some of whom I played with and against, and the younger crew all willing to get their hands dirty.

The way they handled themselves to get the 1 000 food parcels packed made me believe once again in how our wonderful game can bring diverse cultures and teams together for one common goal. The day before they smashed the living daylights out of one another and less than 24 hours later they were teaming up to buy and pack 1 000 food parcels for people they have never met before.

That generosity of spirit is something to truly appreciate and nurture, particularly when you consider all the challenges many are facing at this time.

It reminded me of why I love this game, and all it stands for, when applied correctly by selfless rugby people.

*This column first appeared in the latest SA Rugby magazine, now on sale!

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