Tuesday August 26, 2014
Recently a friend of mine made a very cute and interesting observation in relation to the dilemmas of the Argentine Rugby Selection and its last performance against South Africa in Salta.
“For anglo saxon people , rugby is not a game but rather a method of life and a formation or education for society. On the other hand, for us Latin people we are feudal and talk about merits and accolades but we use the dropper and always waiting to criticize any slip-ups”
I think my friend is partly truthful but not entirely, because there are and have been many exceptions among Latinos and talented, intelligent and skillful Argentines. Whether athletes, artists, thinkers, scientists, doctors and even politicians (with dropper!) There are many many compatriots who have set an example of excellence. Who have excelled at the highest global standards of their disciplines.
I can start as I always do with Martha Argerich, Arturo Illia, Daniel Barenboim, JL Borges, Juilo Cortazar, Guillermo Vilas Rene Favaloro, Luis Leloir, Alberto Demidi, Hugo Porta, Mercedes Sosa, Las Leonas, Jairo, Astor Piazzola, JM Fangio Ernesto Sabato, Ruben Juarez, Carlos Reuterman, Manuel Mujica Lainez, etc.
For the sake of this exercise, If we use France as a Latin example it almost 100 years playing with teams from the UK and Ireland, and as a point of historical reference, we can say that exist or existed large sporadic performances and incredible mercurial but also unsustainable (all Otherwise the All Blacks that their fluctuations are beautifully boxed between the first, second and third place in a history of 140 years). We would say it’s almost a matter regarding the management of human resources industrial chemistry. An alchemist perhaps would solve all the problems just getting the “right ingredients” in “adequate quantities and necessary times”
But to handle and manage the mind and human behavior is not so easy. There are many factors that influence the performance of each player. Recently I made a reference in an article I wrote to the previous 6 months Pumas or better said the UAR (Argentine Rugby Union), where there were very many instabilities, political conflicts, misunderstandings, etc. In an era professional this can not happen! If that happens in the corporate world? They cut off several heads of the under performing ones! Considering the six figures ($) salaries of today, I feel Rugby Employers are too mils, benign and too accommodating.
One of the great secrets to manage a football team is to “strip” the players of their endowments, status, self-centredness, etc. during training and matches. We need more humility and more sacrifice and less upmanship!
Everyone must hang up their egos in the locker room and sacrifice themselves in the name of their team. If the word SELFISHNESS sound familiar? that is because it is indeed. Rugby is a game of adversity, solidarity and sacrifices.
Since I commenced playing rugby at 19 years of age in 1971 I noted that there were a lot of talk about the values and spirit of rugby but when applied (on and off the court) as my friend says, it was just “a trickle” and I add “with an invoice or hooks attached to it.”
Papuchi Guastella, Aitor Otano, Pato Garcia Yanez Pumas coaches along with Hector Silva (Viejo Lobo de Mar) and Hugo Porta whenever insisitian us: “A Values, Emotions and Spirit must touch rugby very measurably.”
This is something I understand very well today having studied something of Psychology and Human Behavior. Also this is intimately linked to the emotional intelligence of individuals and team. It is a reservoir of fundamental energies for high performance.
On the other side (coming from left field), nowadays the most pernicious enemies of this professional rugby are the agents of players and coaches because their interests do not follow or respond to the interests of the team and other players (am not ruling out that there may be some exceptions!)
These AGENTS invariably will embark or react on a “help me first” strategy and then let’s see the rest! They are absorbed by the ($ and %) signs. Multiply that by 15 players + Reserves and coaches. Then it becomes very difficult and hard-up to control a runaway wagon with so many horses going in different directions. We must dig deep and remember what was that made Argentina strong in the global rugby tree.
Enrique TOPO Rodriguez