Muscle Evolution :: Editor's Letter
NOV/DEC 2016
   Muscle Evolution

Koppe stamp...

When I was playing rugby I had a huge chip on my shoulder. The other props I played against were always heavier and more mobile with the ball. My belief that I had to live up to expectations of my coach and fellow players ignited th
e drive within me to do more at training for game day, which is when I would run onto the field and push everything out of the way to win ground for my team.

Even if I left that field with the poles all bruised and battered, and my head ringing it was still worth it. Apart from the regular rugby training I also lifted, squatted and pulled weights to overcome the opposition in whatever shape or form they would be on any given Saturday. I would do anything to prove that I was worthy of my position in the team. I did not take my position for granted. I wanted to show the coach that it was hard to leave me out and that I was needed in the scrum, even though it was anything but a glamorous position.

Life in the scrum is really as tough as it looks. When two front rows scrum down, it is six heads clashing. In front it was all action, right from the kick-off until the final whistle blew.

In retrospect, I would have run onto the field to play wherever I was needed. I would run and drive hard through people. I would make sure that I was physically and mentally ready. The physical part of scrums, line-outs, mauls and even the ear-biting and eye-gouging always came naturally, but the right mentality was also needed to win a game.

During training we used to have a scrimmage called ‘koppe stamp’ where we would literally run into each other. This was conceived by our forwards coach Christo Abrahams, a gifted man who absolutely loved the game and for whom I had the utmost respect. Koppe stamp was a chance to showcase your skills and strength. Sometimes a head was cut open or a nose got busted, but there was no way in hell we would back down, even after carrying the ball numerous times. If, after such a session, you failed to show up at the next rugby practice, the coach would unceremoniously drop you from the team under the assumption that you were not tough enough.

I believe you must wake up every morning with the same ‘whatever it takes’ attitude. You have to live your life as if you are about to tear its head off. Too often we fall into the humdrum of everyday life and somehow lose our passion for what we were born to do. Sometimes you have to put your head down and work harder to be the best at your given role. We have to apply the concept of grafting hard with determination and never giving up in everything we do. If you have a tough day at work or a bad day in the gym, don’t just give up. Keep trying. Put yourself out there and be the best you can be. There is nothing more satisfying than enjoying what you do after putting in the hard yards. When I watch rugby games now I frequently reflect on those days of lifting, running and koppe stamp, and I use it as a source of inspiration to tackle whatever life throws at me in the only way I know how: head-on.



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