A mere 18 months ago, the Springbok rugby team was ranked 8th in the world and had a win record of 50%. The thought of even reaching the final in the world cup seemed to be ludicrous and impossible. On Saturday the 2nd of November, the Springboks were crowned world champions for a record equalling third time.
In doing so, they also achieved what had never been done before. They lost a pool game and went on to win the final. They embodied the caption, “Stronger together” and with humility matched with so called brilliant brutality, delivered a stunning performance to wrest the cup from the more highly favoured England.
At the same time as winning the Rugby championships and the world cup, the team, coach and players were also honoured at Rugby world cup awards. They also rose to claim the number 1 spot in the world from old rivals New Zealand.
A stunning and brilliant performance. Yet what they referred to as the most important thing, the thing that they saw as giving hope…….was to do this with and for South Africa. (As the coach said, “Giving SA a reason to smile amidst its very real and pervasive challenges). Our president was also present and his joy in holding the cup with Siya Kolisi, was surely reflective of the Nations collective pride and joy.
How may we respond to this wonderful achievement? In the face of the nay- sayers and those who criticise without offering real solutions, this team arose and were stronger together.
Perhaps the best way to honour this accomplishment is to think how we may live out the phrase, “Stronger together”. We may not be on the world stage, but each of us, whether employed, self- employed, unemployed, or retired can contribute in some way.
The “ball” has been passed to us, and here are 3 ways we can keep momentum going, perhaps in our own backyard.
Keep focus on the collective value of our peoples and not on the differences. The 30 or so players come from different backgrounds and languages. Yet on and off the field, the overarching principle is stronger together. “We are way more powerful when we turn to each other and not on each other, when we celebrate our diversity, focus on our commonality, and together tear down the mighty walls of injustice.” Cynthia McKinney.
Authentic respect and honour of one another. Respect is how we value others, but honour is how we act. Within our own field and sphere of influence, let us build authentic respect and honour for one another. “One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” Bryant H. McGill.
Finally, promote hope. Keeping the flame of hope alive is neither a fanciful whim or something that happens by default. Rather it is intentional, by design and powerful. “The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.” —Barbara Kingsolver.