Thursday, 25 April 2013


“I was down and out 
wondered how I'm gonna make it thru
I got a dream (I got a dream)
Holding on (I'm gonna hold on)
I can't let go cos you gotta make it come true”

Dreaming – Scribe

In New Zealand a large number of young people dream of making it into one of our national sports teams. Those who make the teams are given a lot of credibility, whether they be our world champion All Blacks or competition winning Breakers, our less than average Blackcaps or those Warriors (because the sportsmen in these teams are still the best of the Kiwi best and they deserve their credibility).

As Scribe raps about in Dreaming the road to the top isn’t easy for many New Zealanders. There’s a lot of hard work and dedication, overcoming the struggles of growing up in the bottom of society’s pecking order and putting aside personal issues. But when a sportsman or sportswoman reaches the top and achieves their dreams, it must all seem worth it, and as a nation we celebrate alongside them.

So why then, after all this hard work and smelling the sweet smell of success, are a number of our sportspeople throwing away their chances? When the story broke late last week that Julian Savea was due in court on the Monday for domestic abuse charges I went from disbelief to feeling frustrated, and angry, as there is something sickeningly wrong in our elite sports teams. Savea joined fellow up and coming rugby talent Zac Guildford in the dog bin after Guilford’s problems with alcohol. And it’s not just rugby; there is Blackcaps’ Jesse Ryder’s problematic past and Doug Bracewell’s issues to know there is a problem with New Zealand’s young sportsmen. They work so hard to deserve their opportunity to shine, just to throw it all away in one reckless moment.

I have a theory on this matter, and I must stress this is just my opinion gathered from my own observation and research, but to me it is one thing to reach these dreams and another all together to sustain them. When these young sportspeople have met their dream and played for their country they have it all, and yet they have nothing left at the same time. They have the whole country behind them but they feel so lonely. They experience the greatest highs when they win, but when they lose they feel an inch tall. It’s a hell of a lot a young and inexperienced sportsperson to take on mentally and, coupled with the “macho male” status these players carry, it’s no wonder they are cracking and making the wrong decisions. I am not accepting nor forgiving their mistakes, but I understand where the problem may be coming from.  

There have been, and there will still be, countless other articles and opinion blogs on this issue, stating what is right and wrong and what should be done. I have thrown my two cents in because I feel this is an important issue, and I wish someone can come up with a solution to these issues. I care about this country and I care about these young sportsmen who hold our sporting future, and all those younger whose professional rugby career is still in its dreaming stage. 

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