Early in my second year at St Mary’s University, I became captain of the 1st team due to a serious injury to our captain.
Ben, our captain, was a big back-rower who acted as a limpet whenever he got near the ball. More often than not he would come out of the bottom of the ruck with the ball in hard or with the referee blowing hard at the whistle, resulting in Ben winning us a penalty. Again.
I was daunted by the idea of replacing Ben as captain and was worried about what my teammates would think. I decided to motivate my teammates by letting my rugby do the talking and emphasising we were playing to have fun.
One responsibility, which I will always remember, was phoning players at the crack of dawn to ask if they’d be at training. Because we shared facilities with other university sports clubs, we had to train at 06:30am on Fridays.
It was a fresh start (particularly in the winter) to say the least! I used to try and make the environment at training an enjoyable one so people would come back.
This, plus the annual tradition of coming up with nicknames for our tour, branded me as “Mr Motivator”. Like many rugby players, I have a whole heap of other nicknames - which I won’t get into how - this was one of the ones I didn’t mind so much.
The nickname, apparently, came quickly to them due to my commitment on and off the pitch to keep people motivated and having a good time.
Do your children want to train with Mr Motivator this week?
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