Confessions of a Queenstown Dad | November 2020

Confessions of a Queenstown Dad | November 2020 2362 2362 The Flyer Magazine

So, as I sit here in the waiting room of the medical centre waiting for an x-ray after a hard game of rugby against ex-All Blacks on October 17 after the Southland Charity Hospital event in honour of my late brother, Blair, I’m reminded of a few things.

At 42, and not having really played rugby since I was in my teens, it didn’t matter how much fitter and stronger I got (and I did, thanks to my trainer, Bek James). There’s no way you can prepare your body for being hit my men who are 30-60 kgs heavier than you, and who actually played a lot of rugby.

Even having finished their rugby career up to a decade ago, their bodies still have muscle memory and they can still run hard and hit hard and have amazing skills.

By stepping into the field and stepping up to play, my kids thought I was a superhero.

That New Zealand sporting heroes really love helping out and putting their bodies on the line for a cause that is worthy.

That waiting rooms are weird places. I keep waiting to see a poster of a cat holding onto a branch in a tree with the saying “hang in there”. They always seem to feel like a room from the 1980s.

Why do we always say “I’m good” when people ask how we are? Obviously, we both know I’m here for an x-ray so I’m not that good.

Finally, I’m reminded that despite thinking I’m still in my late 20s early 30s, my body sure feels like I’m in my 50s today, three days after the event.

I had an amazing weekend hanging out with “childhood” sporting heroes, some of whom were a lot smaller than I’d thought. Some are much bigger in real life than I could have imagined, but all of them were kind, generous and love New Zealand with a passion.

So as I sit here, waiting to see what damage my mortal body has had inflicted upon it, I ponder which stories I shall tell my grandchildren – that I used to play rugby against Ali Williams, Carlos Spencer, Pita Alatini, or that I played rugby with Troy Flavell and Brendan Laney.

The night was capped off with a gala event in which former All Blacks coach Sir Graham Henry and other rugby royalty told stories, shared memories and made us all laugh out loud. But what brought a tear to my eye, was that during the day, and in the evening, people said that they didn’t know Blair but they knew his story and wanted to be a part of it. They wanted to challenge the system, to roll their sleeves up and make a difference, because they all knew someone who the system had failed and they didn’t want that to happen to anyone else. So make sure that you do two things:

Get a check up (especially you men).

Trust your body, you know it best, and if something’s not right keep pushing back against the system ‘til someone listens. It could save your life.

Side note: Troy Flavell can dance quite well too.

Stay safe and be kind

Shaun

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