Thursday, December 17, 2009

That's a woman I could genuflect before and say "Well done"

Excerpted from an NYVelocity interview with the sports journalist David Walsh, who reported:

"I'm in South Africa now, and South Africa are one of the great rugby countries, they're currently the world champions. And I went to interview a guy yesterday, he and his brother are South Africa internationals. Two young guys. And they come from a small farming background in very rural eastern Free State, which is one of the provinces of South Africa. And they have a mum who believes that no matter how good you were at sport, it wasn't right that you should be a professional sportsman.

So these two brothers are professional sportsmen, they get very good contracts to play for their province, which is the Kwa Zulu Natal Sharks. And they play for South Africa, so financially, they do extremely well out of rugby. Their mum insisted that they couldn't just be professional rugby players, so one of them is a doctor, who worksin a Durban hospital while maintaining his professional rugby career. And the other guy is a broker in a major insurance firm in Durban. They both have genuine and important jobs that run parallel with their rugby careers.

And I met this woman, who decided that their sons would do this, that her sons couldn't just be rugby players, and I thought it was just the most fantastic thing that a mother could do for her sons, that I've virtually ever heard of in my life. It absolutely inspired me, and I thought, yes, there is somebody out there who's actually prepared to take on this system and do something that I found truly heroic.

This woman, when her son rang her, he was third year in medical school, and he'd been offered a very good contract to play rugby professionally. But the province insisted that he would have to give up his medical degree. He rang his mom and said what should I do?

And she said, "If you're going to go and play rugby for these guys, you tell them that they owe me this amount of money. This is the amount of money I put into your education since you were six years of age, and I've recorded it, it's all written down. They pay me that bill, you go play rugby, that's fine. Because I didn't put all of my money into your education so that you'll abandon it halfway through your medical degree."

And the son said, "Mum, you're absolutely right. I'll finish my degree and we'll see then." He finished his degree, and now runs his professional rugby career parallel to his very worthy career as a doctor. I just found that...that's a woman I could genuflect before and say "Well done"."

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