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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 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 64vs USA 0 Report Stats
NAM 16vs GEO 17 Stats
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 47vs TGA 9 Report Stats
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 33vs SCO 36 Report Stats
AUS 15vs WAL 6 Report Stats
ENG 60vs URU 3 Stats
ARG 64vs NAM 19 Report Stats
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 32vs ROM 22 Report Stats
FRA 9vs IRE 24 Report Stats
USA 18vs JPN 28 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 23vs WAL 19 Stats
NZL 62vs FRA 13 Report Stats
IRE 20vs ARG 43 Report Stats
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
AUS 35vs SCO 34 Stats
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 18vs NZL 20 Stats
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 15vs AUS 29 Stats
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 24vs ARG 13 Stats
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
NZL 34vs AUS 17 Stats
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 4 4 0 0 106 17
Wales 4 3 1 0 49 13
England 4 2 2 0 58 11
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 4 0 4 0 -196 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 4 3 1 0 120 16
Scotland 4 3 1 0 43 14
Japan 4 3 1 0 -2 12
Samoa 4 1 3 0 -55 6
USA 4 0 4 0 -106 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 125 19
Argentina 4 3 1 0 109 15
Georgia 4 2 2 0 -70 8
Tonga 4 1 3 0 -60 6
Namibia 4 0 4 0 -104 1
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 4 4 0 0 99 18
France 4 3 1 0 57 14
Italy 4 2 2 0 -14 10
Romania 4 1 3 0 -69 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
View all

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