Having used the analogy several times over years of writing, the ultimate factor as the receiver of a downfield kick-punt in rugby, a game everyone knows is rough, is you can’t whiff on it or let it go, you HAVE to catch it. That high, hanging up there one especially.
You’ve seen it dozens of times in football, “the bomb squad” guys who pulverize a punt returner who doesn’t wave his arm in a fair catch signal.
Now take out the pads and helmet. And the fair catch signal. Yeah, crunch time, pal.
Well, actually you can TRY fair catching it, by simultaneously catching the ball, digging a heel into the turf, and shouting, “Mark!” but most experienced players will tell you to run even if you do it right, because not everyone knows the rule.
I sure didn’t back in 1981, when I went *through* a guy who invoked it. I learned about it at the keg later, when the guy – who was a referee and certainly did it right – told another guy about running and not everyone knowing the rule.
Part Two of that is being on the receiving end of getting railed, where you can SEE that ball and different colored jersey are going to arrive at the same time. Whether or not you’ve been clobbered at such a moment, that very short moment of impact, your life gets changed.
It’s going to be a problem (challenge? pssshhh!) either way. If you try to avoid the blast and let the ball bounce, and bing, bang, boom! they score, thats a mark (soft?) you’ll have to carry for a while.
Otherwise, when they peel you off the turf, there are only a couple questions that make any difference. The primary one related to potential concussions is supposed to be “What’s your name?” with the expectation you don’t know that, fuggidaboudit. After taking the abuse, many want to know if their team kept the ball.
If you say something about, “But I don’t wanna go to school, Mom!” they put someone else in the game.
Lots of Americans, and people around the world, are “sheltering in place” now, WAITING, as a rugby fullback often does, for the ball to finally get there. Nobody else can make the play, and whether people think differently about you at this specific time, will count on how you handle the opportunity.
We’re not talking about taking the kick all the way back for a score, we’re not talking about the ball bouncing off you, and everyone scrambling while you hopefully have the ability to choose between covering your head or curling in a ball to protect yourself, and will someone PLEASE get that telephone!
It’s absolutely about making the catch, not doing anything crazy, but nooo, its not going to be easy either way.
Staying in place is making the catch without sweating a different colored jersey in your peripheral vision. There’s no “Whats your name?” factor either. You cannot hurt the team by hanging out around the home work space right now, maybe even have a beer during work hours.
Need another rugby analogy? So, this THICK, Samoan-looking #8 guy (and yes, the tats are part of it) picks up the ball and comes around the scrum, motoring right at our captain, and from inside center position, I swear I heard him gulp.
Captain sat out the previous season after a dislocated collarbone, and having this ever-lovin’ chunk of humanity coming full steam ahead, he knew somebody had to stick their head in there and stop that bowling ball.
Which I did, taking him low, because otherwise you bounce off, have no effect. In that situation, “somebody” needed to stop the situation. We need LOTS of somebodies to get “real life” back any kind of sooner – COVID-19 isn’t a one shot situation. Sports-wise, its going to be more of a marathon-like survival than a win-loss on a scoreboard.
If I stay here another couple weeks, doing leadership thought blogs, and working on my book instead of deciding to pack a church next weekend, that’s making the best choice, given the alternatives.
I’m for sure not planning on taking COVID-19 straight up, but I’ll make the catch or right play when its needed. Here’s hoping we can rely on “the other guys” to do their part as well.