The real men of rugby
Young males tend to look toward sport for their heroes. Men of physical prowess, wealth and exceedingly exposed in the face of modern media. When I look back at my own experiences I looked to the great Australian and West Indian cricketers of the 80s, State of Origin Rugby League players, Champion Wallaby Rugby Union players and the Michael Jordan-era stars of NBA basketball.
Were they good role models? Are they real men?
As athletes most certainly yes, but as men I began to respect them less as the years went on and I recognised them as less than superhuman. As the media exposed them further many were far from the upstanding, holier-than-thou image that I’d had in my head.
When it comes to modern sport, few teams if any have been as successful as the All Blacks Rugby team of New Zealand. While many can look at their training and youth development streams as their driving forces, the best article I’ve read on their team ethos and culure is this one by Irish Sports Psychologist Keith Begley. I recommend everyone read it to see how grounded this world-leading organisation is and how it puts them in great shape to be effective role-models for all.
The primary objective is to make them better men first, so they will be better All Blacks.