It was a few months back that I was talking to someone who said to me “I saw your old man the other day, and he seemed a bit concerned about you, he was saying he didn’t know what you were going to do with yourself now, as you don’t have an apprenticeship”
This was even before I had mentioned to the old man that because of the knee I was retiring. I hadn’t mentioned to him that I would be because I knew he’d be asking a 1000 and 1 questions about what my next plan was.
I used to play with him a bit after I did tell him that I was done. He’d ask what my plans were. I can’t stay over there forever he’d tell me. My response was why not, lots of people live over here, more than Australia even, you wouldn’t read about it. Just to wind him up a bit. Humour is my escape.
He had even pointed out to me that I didn’t have an apprenticeship, but was well aware that I was studying and nearing the end. He would regularly ask me, and I mean regularly. “How’s uni goin’? Still doing it I hope, should be finished by now shouldn’t ya? How much longer to go? Been doin’ it for bloody years”
It gave me great satisfaction when I had finally gotten confirmation that I had graduated. I was straight on the phone.
- Got some big news
- Oh yeah, what’s that then?
- Got the academic apprenticeship today. Not a traditional apprenticeship as such, but sort of like an apprenticeship, but for academics. Called a degree, but let’s just refer to it as an academic apprenticeship.
There’s no impressing my old man. Very rarely have I ever seen him impressed, even with things that seem extraordinary or incredible. Even if he is, sometimes he just won’t let on. To say he’s a hard marker is an understatement.
Fortunately/unfortunately, I’ve grown up with it my entire life, so I’ve come to handle it pretty well I reckon.
But I know the expectation from family and friends about what someone does with them self post rugby can be an added pressure that blokes really struggle with to handle and feel they can’t get away from. I’m pretty good, I don’t really give too much of a hoot about others expectation or perceptions.
Blokes that have been successful in a sporting environment, feel that because they have been so successful at such a young age, and in the public eye, that they must try and emulate this again in their next chosen field. It’s a tough one to replicate, well so I’ve been told, especially considering it’s such a short time at the top. T compare playing in a professional rugby team that has won a super rugby competition, well I don’t even know where you would start to compare that in business terms. The best team in your chosen sport across arguably the 3 best rugby playing nations? There aren’t too many businesses in any industry that reach those heights.
I’m my own hardest marker, which probably comes from my old mans ways, but it is this expectation that I put on myself and how high I set the bar that could be what I really struggle with in the next phase. I’m very much driven by success and achieving, and if this doesn’t occur, who knows how I’ll handle that. That’s scary.