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May 4, 2010 / Brent Sears

The Last Step

The real secret to rugby is to mentally turn off the fear of getting hurt.  It is not a question of if you will go down, but when.  But that can be said about life too.  You have a choice, sit on the sidelines and watch or get in the game and make something happen.

We won our first match by a single try (that means touchdown).  I scored once on a breakaway and the man to my right scored the other try after I beat my tackler and forced the lines to collapse on me.  I passed the ball to him and he was able to run it in.  I also messed up twice; once by not passing the ball and being unable to put it down in the try zone, and a second time when the man to my right and I (we were also the combo who scored) were unable to stop the two men across from us form combining to score.  We just got beat, but that happens when you play the middle.

So we knocked off the team we had never beaten.  I was relaxing on the sideline as the next game started.  We had to play back-to-back and our second string squad went in against a young college team with very little experience.  Two of my friends had shown up to see me play, and so I was taking a break and relaxing.

After the first half we were down by two tries.  The younger but much faster team was killing us.  So our team captain Dante from Argentina, noticing I wasn’t focused, shouting something at me in Spanish and told me I was going back in.  At that my brain made a mental flip.  I was about to go back in, these guys were fast, and we were down.  Just where I like to be!!!

I didn’t have to avoid these guys like most teams.  Due to their inexperience I knew I could run at them more and that was the plan: run hard, run fast, and use stiff arms.  I knew they wouldn’t be able to bring me down.  This was going to be fun.

We kicked to them and were able to muscle the ball back almost immediately.  When our lines formed and the ball came out I was the second in line to get it.  When it hit my hands I was complete.  Having the ball in a rugby match is the greatest feeling in the world, because you are the target and impact is certain.  (You have to play to understand.)

I took about five steps and I was up to almost full speed.  To the left I saw a gap in the defense, and I instantly went for it by planting my right foot to switch directions.  There was only one problem, my cleat stuck in the ground and me knee went sideways.  When it happened it felt like a chicken bone breaking.  In fact, before I hit the ground that it what I thought.  That was the last step I would ever take in a rugby match.


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