Lehi, UT – It was our final day of rugby today but it was unlike any day that we have ever had in our history of attending the USA Sevens. This was the very first time I have ever missed the final day of rugby and although I was very upset (my sons were really upset as well), it was an opportunity for me and all of use to learn a very valuable lesson. It was a very difficult lesson that took every ounce of humility, strength and patience because rugby is the be-all and end-all in the Matua household.
Before this morning the plan was (at least I was hoping) that we were going to get up, pack up and head off to the stadium to watch the most exciting international rugby sevens tournament played on American soil. Unfortunately that was not the plan that I was given by the coach and administrator of the boys’ tournament team. The plan instead was to get up, pack up and leave for home immediately due to inclement weather.
If there was ever a sadder face than mine at that moment I daresay that it has not nor will it ever be discovered. It is the one weekend I look forward to every year. It is the one weekend that we as a family look forward to with great anticipation. This weekend however, did not end the way that we wanted it too.
But back to the lesson – even with the disappointment I knew that it was important to do the one thing that I had asked to do and that was to assist in team transportation. I was dutifully available whenever they needed me and even though there were other things that I wished I could do like I have always done during USA Sevens weekend, I honored my commitment to stay with the team.
So when the call came to pack up and get ready to return home on the most important day of the USA Sevens tournament, against everything that was pulling me towards Sam Boyd Stadium, I did not hesitate to uphold my end of the bargain and fulfill my responsibility to the team. I found every justification in my mind to stay behind and enjoy the rugby matches, but in the end it was conscience that won and I’m glad that I followed my convictions and not my head.
I’ve seen it happen many times. I have done it many times and I want to do better. When I make a promise; if I have sworn an oath; if I have made a contract to do something, act a certain way, perform a certain duty, I want to do better at honoring and fulfilling my obligations to the absolute best of my abilities. I know it sounds stupid because no one realizes more than I do the importance that those rugby games are to me. But knowing the sacrifice that was made to walk away from today’s games made it all the more important for me to teach my sons how honorable men must behave.
I don’t hold myself as someone who does the right thing all of the time. I do however, want to be more honorable. Socrates says of honor, “The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be.” I don’t want to pretend, I want to be a man who is trustworthy, a person of noble character, a person whom my sons respect and hold in high regard because of the way that I treated them and other people.
Today it was a hard day, but it is a day that I will remember as one that I made a sacrifice in order to do the right thing.