Two days before the Rugby World Cup Final, my partner and I ran a sleek operation in which he optimized for the flight arrangements and I monitored the clearing prices on Viagogo for the for the Rugby World Cup Final tickets. I’d already been watching the ticket prices for about 6 months, so when prices cleared at a discount to face value, we went ahead to buy the tickets and left right away for the epic match at Twickenham in England. Many people thought this was insane, but frankly, we both thought it was one of the best travel decisions we’ve ever made.
A Defining Era For The All Blacks
I came to know rugby much better through my partner, over the last four years. In that time, I’ve watched many All Blacks rugby matches (even a replay of the 2011 Rugby World Cup Final), and read Richie McCaw’s autobiography and Gregor Paul’s story of the All Blacks’ journey of Redemption between 2007 and 2011. It’s a captivating story of how a small country like New Zealand produced the finest rugby team in the world, not just in terms of flair for the game and winning ratio, but more importantly, in sportsmanship, resilience and character. They are arguably the best sporting team in the world, given their consistency of performance over the years. I read McCaw’s and Paul’s books to better understand the psychology, leadership and organization of the All Blacks. Although historically the Rugby World Cup frequently eluded them, the last 8 years have looked very different.
The All Blacks brought class to rugby. Over the past four years of watching them play, I’ve come to appreciate the nuances of how skillfully they play the game. It’s always a joy to watch them play in international test matches – only 3 of which they’ve lost, out of the 53 they’ve played in the past 4 years, since they won the last World Cup in 2011.
I’ve followed many of the iconic players who were playing in not only their last World Cup, but also their final international test matches – Ma’a Nonu, Conrad Smith, Tony Woodcock, Keven Mealamu, and the two greatest All Blacks, Dan Carter and Richie McCaw. I knew the history behind these players, and thought there wasn’t going to be a finer expression of their love for the game than a beautifully played Rugby World Cup Final (and the best haka ever!). My partner and I wanted to be there to see history being made by such an iconic team of All Blacks – they were going to be the first to win back to back Rugby World Cups, the first to win 3 Rugby World Cups, and the first kiwi team to win a Rugby World Cup outside of New Zealand. It totally did not disappoint – especially Dan Carter’s unexpected drop goal from more than 40m out! I remember seeing the ball go over the posts and jumping up before the rest of the crowd did, yelling like I’d totally gone nuts.
Seizing The Moment
A friend once told me that if there’s a great opportunity to do something that excites you, you should do it then, because if you delay it thinking to yourself you could just do it “next time”, when “next time” rolls around, you may not feel up to it, or be able to do it anymore. Sure, there would always be another Rugby World Cup. We knew it was going to be a bit of an extravagant weekend, because we could only stay in London for less than 36 hours given what a crazy work week we both had ahead of us. But four years from now, who knows what may hold either of us back from flying to Japan to watch the matches, and who knows what the tournament would be like? There was really no reason why we couldn’t go. Life is too short not to seize precious opportunities like that!
Keeping Life Interesting and Topping Up the Tank At Every Chance
Startup life is very draining sometimes, especially because I invest so much energy into it. Earlier in the year, I felt like I was burning out. So I made a change in the last quarter of this year: to take short but frequent breaks along the way, no matter how busy I was, which I believe will help keep my energy levels and creativity high. Consistently doing interesting things totally unrelated to work is one of the ways to take a break, while traveling for a change of environment is another. My partner and I have both been flat out at work and will continue to be swamped through to the end of the year. Ironically, we thought there was no better way to recharge other than to make the long last-minute travel to Twickenham. We are so glad we did it.
Are you seizing the opportunities for interesting experiences that come your way? I’d love to hear from you!