For many years (while playing, and even until recently) I have struggled with the tension of being proud of that achievement and reaching what others around me only dreamt of, and the incessant feeling that I never belonged. I struggled with associating myself with the red daisy. I rejected being bundled together with the images of the supporters.
One of the first games in that 1999 season was a fixture against Michaelhouse. It was in the early years of televised schools games of Maritzburg College . This was in the early days of televised school rugby games. At that time I was not selected for the 1st XV team, but for the 2nd XV. Playing for the second side was still a worthy achievement, but not the chief prize.
One morning, at my new school of probably 3 months, we were required to select a sport for that new term. I had desperately hoped that soccer was one of the options, but alas…rugby and hockey (I think) were the choices. Wesley, a friend and class-mate suggested that I try rugby. “What’s that” I said. “Come to practice tomorrow and I’ll show you”. My response…“okay!”.
This is why the saying “opposites attract” is so true, and why we often tend to be attracted to and marry those who differ vastly from us. This difference is what we also often site as the reason for conflict and breakups, and do not recognise the purpose and opportunity of that very difference.
At least they have hand- made cards and presents. I hear stories of my son and I flying on rocket ships around the galaxy, why the sun is wearing sunglasses and earrings, and of bunnies eating carrots under the sun. My daughter crowns me with a paper crown with “King Daddy” written on it. “It might be a little too small or a little too big” she says, “I had to guess how big your head is”.
Your American story is rare, yet enriches the collective black narrative of never feeling fully free. Never feeling like you belong—always having to prove yourself and play catch-up— striving for goals that put you at a different starting point than your white counterpart.
I can’t breathe, he said.
We can’t breathe either.
Our faces were hid from one another for a time. We had thought that to solve our problems was to divide ourselves from our fellow man rather than multiplying ourselves with him.
Hopefully, you are reading this not because you want to merely not be divorced or alone, but want to have a fulfilling, loving and intimate connection that you and your wife will enjoy for a lifetime.
It takes courage to be whole.
Your pain and your situation offer you the same opportunities to define who you are becoming.