When I was younger I played Rugby. A lot of rugby. And in a sports minded Australia, Rugby was good. I eventually had to choose between Accounting and Rugby as I headed into University. Yes, a lot of non-accountants might question that decision.
Just heading into first year University I was still playing Rugby. Playing for my Club, playing for my school veterans club, and playing for the State. Training involved sessions every day of the week, twice on Tuesdays and Thursday nights, and three games on the weekend. Two games on Saturday and one game on Sunday. Needless to say there was a lot of washing!
Whilst I played a couple of brilliant and memorable games at state level, and in the pre internet age the New Zealand Haka was pretty daunting for a young Australian, the most memorable game was a game we didn’t win, but we didn’t lose.
The Saturday in question was foggy, with a fog as heavy as you can only have in Tasmania. One of those heavy fogs where the fog comes down to about 20 metres off the ground. If you’ve ever flown to or from Tasmania then you’ll know there are regular delays to morning flights due to our famous fogs.
This was a club game, and we were playing one of the better if not the best teams in the competition. The other guys were brilliant players, well built, with a forward pack heavier than ours, and faster backs. They were going to dominate. I think we all knew it.
As we were about to start, we were all looking at the mist, wondering if we could play in this weather. Calling off a match might be better than a humiliating drubbing. However, the ref met the captains and decided we’d play.
So kickoff starts, and immediately we’re back on our try line. And that’s pretty much where we’d spend most of the game. However, as the game progressed, the other team couldn’t reach our try line.
The one memorable thing to our advantage was the mist. It was so heavy that when the ball was kicked up, there would be a 5 second respite until it came to earth again. It sailed into the mist, and remained unseen. So all the players would stop until they could sight the ball again.
Most of the game was spent within 10 metres of our try line. If they scrummed then our backs would add that bit of weight to the forwards to hold the line, and once the ball was out the breakaways and faster forwards would cover the backs. It was brilliant teamwork. We’d push the ball out, 10 metres for a scrum, or closer for a lineout if the ball was run out. But no matter what the play, they couldn’t score.
At the end of the game the score was “nil all”. We didn’t win, but we held our own against a much better team. And sometimes that is what it takes to win – excellent teamwork, covering for others when needed, and recognizing that every person on the team can contribute, and every person on the team should always be valued.
Even in Odyssey with our 200 plus staff, we still run it as a team. Every team member is valued. Every team member has an important contribution. Working together as a team is, in itself, a rewarding experience.