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Clyde Rathbone: contemplating my next move

Clyde Rathbone: 'I’ve been thinking about my values, what’s really important to me and why?'

Clyde Rathbone: 'I’ve been thinking about my values, what’s really important to me and why?'

As I approach the end of my rugby career, I’ve been thinking a lot about ego and how it shapes decisions. I’ve been thinking about my values, what’s really important to me and why?

At some point, every athlete must decide how to exit their sport and enter ''the real world''. That is if injury doesn't make the decision for them.

I’ve retired before, in 2009, when my knees wouldn't allow me to compete at the highest level. I got a second chance last year, my body rested, and my enthusiasm revived by the opportunity to return to the Brumbies. My decision to attempt a comeback was all about stepping out of my comfort zone and testing myself.

While a hamstring injury has sidelined me for most of this season, I'm now back running and available for selection from next week. But, in my last contracted year with the Brumbies, where to from here?

A popular option in rugby is what’s become known as a ''dash for cash'' to well-paid retirement homes in Japan or France. This path allows players in the twilight of their careers to maximise earning capacity.

At 32, it seems like the smart option. But I can’t shake the feeling that such a dash could cost me opportunities far greater than first meets the eye.

I’ve learnt to value experiences in terms of personal growth, rather than financial gain. In a culture that places an inordinate importance on status and possessions, this kind of wisdom is often hard-earned.

I’m reminded of this whenever I see children grab at the candle flame or take their umpteenth tumble. Children live one second at a time, and their incredible rate of development appears built on a fearless appetite for failure.

Then we become adults with a sense of self and brittle egos in need of constant shelter. 

Perhaps instead of the comfort and security of a well-paid dash for cash, I should grab at the flame and risk getting burnt. Perhaps there’s more to life than yens and euros.

Our ego underpins so much of our decision-making. Where we work, which house, in which suburb, what we drive, where we eat, what we wear. Children appear far too sensible to care about this nonsense, yet as adults we spend countless hours transfixed by these meaningless choices.

Indeed, ours is a society that lauds knights and dames, as if these titles were anything but absurd anachronisms representing values adrift from real meaning.

My good mate and former Brumby Dan Palmer is set to retire at 25. Not so long ago he was an Australian Wallabies representative. After a year-long sojourn in France, Dan’s priorities have changed. He's going to go to university, trading lacing up his boots for opening up his mind. Many people will fail to understand his decision. I won't.

My rugby career has progressed from a barefoot under-10s player in South Africa to the Australian Wallabies and now, to a second-string Super Rugby player.

This journey has had the invaluable effect of disconnecting who I am from what I do. But I’m concerned by a culture that insists professional athletes are important people.

We aren’t. Never have been. And we’re paying a high price for thinking otherwise.

Inflated self-importance and a desire for fame diminishes our ability to take the path less travelled. Thus robbing us of life’s great mysteries and the discoveries they make possible.

HuffPost Australia

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 0vs FJI 0 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00KPS
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
 

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