Excelling in rugby did not come to me easily to me, it took a lot of people believing in me to get me started, and overtime me believing in myself to go out and get it.
In other sports I just assumed I wasn’t good enough to make it any further then just my starting level, and at a young age I didn’t know any better to think I could improve or was capable of more. Then rugby came into my life. It was the first time that I had coaches and teammates who thought I could be something special, and their encouragement helped me believe in myself. They became my rugby family, a very loyal group of people, who I knew I would have for the rest of my life. Rugby gave me a sense of purpose, something to strive for, something to be passionate about, and a goal. I could finally be a part of something extraordinary and I had earned the right to be there. This gave me confidence in many areas of my life that were lacking and for the first time I believed in myself.
Growing up was challenging. I was never the favourite, the popular, the bold, or the beautiful. I had a lot of great friends but just never really knew where I fit in. With rugby, people from all walks of life were accepted and welcome. Having people accept you for who you are- whether you’re a bit odd, stare a few seconds too long, have a tick, or are just plain weird – rugby helps you to be comfortable with yourself and have no shame in being that wonderful person that was scared to be herself. I owe a lot to rugby and to everyone that helped me along the way. Rugby helped guide me to where I am today, it has helped me build character, and be extremely confident and happy with the person I am.
I’m fortunate to have had the people in my life who have helped guide me and push me in rugby. I have been to amazing places, played with the most skilled and talented people in the world, and have trained in world-class facilities; most importantly rugby has provided me the environment to grow in to a confident happy woman and provided me with lifelong friends.
If people in your life encourage or compliment you on something you do well, listen, even of it takes you a while to believe yourself. You may in fact have that extra something and with a lot of hard work, determination and will – it could be your ticket to an extraordinary life and an amazing sport family. Believe in yourself, you will be amazed at what you can do.
Photos by Krystal Calver of Calver Photography
Mandy is wearing:
Pink Punch RaceHER tank
Black Mamba FastHER rugby shorts