Whenever you get dropped it sucks ass, it’s heart breaking! But when it’s just before a Cup Final and you’ve played every minute of every game to get your team into that Cup Final it’s particularly hard to take but here’s why you should never let your pride get the better of you.
Many…many years ago I played for a great side and we reached a cup final, I never missed a training session that season and had played every minute of every game to get us into that Cup Final so naturally I was quite confident of being selected to play in the big game itself. Indeed, all my team mates had me nailed on for a starting position as we mused about what the team would be.
At the last training before the big day the coach sat us all down at the end of the session and started to name the squad, 1. The Fridge, 2. Macca (Phew) I was in. I wasn’t really listening to the rest of the squad announcement as I was so wrapped up in my own selection, but the chap sat next to me hadn’t made it and at the end of the selection he called the Coach a c*nt under his breath.
Now unbeknownst to me the Coach had heard the insult, but in a cruel twist of fate, he thought I’d said it, not the chap next to me!
Nothing was said at the time so we all went home and I couldn’t wait to play in the Cup final I’d worked so hard all year to be a part of. However, on the way home I got a phone call which rocked me to my foundations. The assistant coach said the manager had decided to drop me for the final because he’d heard what I said. I literally had no idea what he was talking about at the time, I was gob smacked and hadn’t had time to piece the two jigsaw pieces together yet, but there was nothing I could say that would change the Gaffer’s mind.
I WAS DROPPED
To say I was absolutely GUTTED is an understatement! I was too angry to cry but it was like dealing with a family loss!
I went along to watch the Cup Final from the side-lines as it was the right thing to support my team mates who were gutted for me, but it was the longest 8o minutes of rugby I’d ever had to watch and as they were all celebrating I headed straight home in a massive state of depression for having missed out.
It was the last game of the season and all I wanted to do was walk away from rugby and team sports forever to avoid ever having to go through that pain ever again, I felt so low and it was so unjust.
That summer break, I had to search deep into my soul, I loved rugby but hated the Coach and even fantasised about following him home one day and filling him in for what he’d done to me, but it’s in these moments that you realise what you’re made of and instead of walking away I vowed to go back to the following pre-season and work harder than ever to prove that the Coach had made a mistake.
That first session I couldn’t even bring myself to look at the Gaffer, but I could tell the he was surprised to see me, I trained harder (and angrier) than ever before and at the end he called me over.
He shared his surprise and admiration at the fact that I had come back and I explained how much he had hurt me, especially as it was a case of mistaken identity.
He ended up apologising which was a first for him and over the course of the season I became the team Captain and took us to another Cup Final which we duly won and which is still the happiest and proudest moment of my life, certainly in a rugby shirt…well along with England’s World Cup win in 2003 🙂 Thanks Josh Whitely!
I’m not going to press home any morals of this story but I do believe you always get rewarded for hard work and tenacity. It might not seem like it at times but if you can tame your pride and play the long game, you’ll always win eventually.