It has been a challenging week here in South Africa. Nationwide, the persistent rolling blackouts, known as load shedding, the cold of winter, and the increasing negativity about our dithering, corruption-soaked government weigh heavily. In half empty coffee shops, heads bent over filter coffees, are wistful for cappuccino foam. Those heads shake in despair and frustration at the state of the economy, state of the state and if we really have emerged from the state of disaster.
At 5th Place as long as we have sun, we have solar; we have gas for cooking, plenty of wood for our fire and even a backup generator if absolutely necessary. So we are okay but we still worry about those that do not have access to alternative sources of power, especially the elderly. It weighs very heavily. Being able to focus on something that just for a moment takes our minds off our concerns comes as a relief.
Relief in rugby
The subject turns to sport, rugby in particular. Avid fans are we and many of our friends too so it was a fine thing to debate the not-so-magnificent game that the Springboks played against Wales on Saturday. We won. Just. Thank goodness. Not good enough. Not nearly good enough but we won. Deep breath.
It was the first time since before the 2019 Rugby World Cup that the Springboks had played to a full stadium at home. Imagine that. That’s three years of playing to empty stands at home as the World Cup Champions. Thanks Covid. The crowd boomed out the national anthem, warming chests and filling hearts. If there is one thing that brings the diverse people of this nation together it is rugby.
Rusty and rattled
Our guys felt rusty and off tempo. Not much went our way. Wales was, as ever, feisty and tough, a team never to underestimate and we think we did. We certainly let them get under our skin. We were rattled from the start.
Playing sport at this level requires not only peak physical performance but an unwavering control of mind and a high level of emotional fitness (We have a program for sport and Emotional Fitness). Maybe the enormity of the event got to the team, maybe the fact that they have not played together for well over six months, flying in from their various international teams and needing to find their steps in this new routine. Whatever it was, it showed in the way they performed. Damian Willemse’s game winning kick, after the hooter had sounded the end of the game, showed it too.
Moving ever deeper into the heart of winter, the sunsets are starker and more beautiful.
Can you spot the moon?
Focussing on forgiveness
We will forgive the Boks their wobbliness. We have all been there and not in front of over 51,000 spectators. Forgiveness, we have learnt, is a very useful trait to develop. Our latest podcast episode, launched this week, explores this topic. Which brings us back to our railing against our government. It was forgiveness that avoided a civil war in South Africa. Forgiveness that Nelson Mandela modelled, saying:
“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”
All that good cannot go to waste. Our response is to find ways to support our community, the small businesses, the people who work for us. Most of all we call for care and consideration across all communities. We can do little alone, we can do much more together.
Our winter seeds have germinated!
Building Big Match Temperament
We remind each other that all we can do is focus on what we have control over, that is, ourselves. And build our emotional fitness so that we have the Big Match Temperament required to meet this “contest” head on. Releasing the negative emotions that bog us down so that with a clearer mind, we can be more creative in attending to the almost insurmountable problems we seem to be assailed with.
There is always a solution. We need you to raise your voices and your hands and be part of that solution too. If you want to be part of a group of like-minded people focused on the will and the possibilities, we invite you to join us in our Community of Practice to share and learn and do better together. We meet online once a month. If you are interested, connect with us and we will get back to you with details.