My Rugby Retirement Letter

Wolfhound Family,

I remember when we traveled to Atlanta my first season to play Old White in the playoffs. It was a battle for 83 minutes. The heat was “hotter than the sun”. A fellow rookie, Shaun Grobler, and I gave it all we had along with the rest of the boys in blue and white stripes. Unfortunately, we came up short on the last play of the game where a lapse in defense cost us. After the match, in our drunken woe-state, Shaun, Ferd, and I were having a rugby conversation as us ruggers tend to have post-match. With all of Shaun’s fiery, South African, spirit he imparted these words (mind you very loudly and very close to Ferd’s face): “You must have the heart of a lion!!”.

Ferd turned to me and said, “I like this kid!”. Being that Ferd is one of my heroes, Shaun was a beast rugger, and having “the heart of a lion” resonated with me, I took that sentiment seriously. It’s been in my mind from season 1 with this club. Lapsing physically and mentally here and there – it’s always been up in the dome-piece.
After seeing Dr. Cha twice this week, at first to get cleared to play from my broken hip, and second, to have an MRI on my knee that he reconstructed 4yrs ago, it became evident that my swimmer-body is no longer going to allow me to play rugby competitively.

Hate. Acceptance. Understanding. The path through bad news.

Observe. Orient. Decide. Act. The decision cycle otherwise known as the OODA Loop.

I’m busted. I cannot play. I have made new goals. I will meet these new goals. My OODA Loop.

Over 16 years of rugby has given me the opportunity to be truly grateful. I want to thank my teammates for your comradery through battles and training. Thank you to my coaches for your leadership and ass-kicking. Thank you to the Old Boys for your generosity and mentorship. Thank you to the Club, CRFC, the best club in the USA, for your dedication and the opportunities provided. Thank you to all the other players, coaches, teams, and clubs I’ve had the privilege of taking the field with. Your worth cannot be summed up in trivial words.

Actions speak louder than words.

One of my goals is to give back to the sport that has helped me be who I am, get to where I am going, and provided opportunity to innumerable people around the world. I will be assisting the Wolfhounds with strength and conditioning, rookie skills, and halfback training.

And I promise, “with the heart of a lion”, I will be doing my best, for you, for them, and for me.

Stay well,
Jason

 

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