Inspired through adversity

18 June 2024, Tuesday

Adversity is the diamond dust that heaven polishes its jewels with.– Thomas Carlyle

Summer is finally here and next week the nation’s focus turns to Rugby World Cup ‘15.

Thankfully this time around it’s all happening in our time zone, which allows for far better broadcast times than the previous rugby and cricket World Cups held down under. All looks sunny and bright for most South Africans, but it may yet prove to be a cruel summer for Heyneke Meyer ?

Hopefully that will not be the case.

Sporting World Cups provide us with the perfect opportunity to unite our nation. Sadly, this time around, the Springboks will leave our shores having had to again face adversity from off the playing field.

But, in their hearts they will know that it’s the great champions of sport and life, who are known to draw inspiration though adversity.

What do American golfing sensation Jordan Spieth , British Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton and Canadian Olympic ski champion Alex Bilodeau all have in common?

They all inspired through adversity. It’s what sets them apart.

For Spieth it’s his younger autistic sister Ellie. For Hamilton it’s his half – brother Nicolas, who has cerebral palsy. And for Bilodeau it’s his brother Frederic, who also has cerebral palsy.

It is no coincidence then that an inspirational bond exists between high-achieving athletes and disabled siblings.

While all three athletes compete in sports that encapsulate the notion of the international jet-set, they all still possess the same sense of grounding which comes through observing adversity close by.

It comes from a home environment that reinforces a bigger picture; one that serves as a constant reminder of good fortune and inspired these champions to make the most of their advantages.

It’s about taking every opportunity out there.

He’s my everyday inspiration, sometimes I wake up in the morning and it’s rainy and I don’t want to train or go out and ski. I look at my brother and if he had that chance he would go, he would grab it.” – Alex Bilodeau

While Spieth is busy taking on Rory McIlroy and the like , he finds inspiration by the thought that not every human is allowed his or her destiny.

It then becomes a duty to take that test on. And humbly appreciate it.

Golf is not my life – it is part of my life.” – Jordan Spieth

Spieth often appears unruffled in the heat of battle. That nature comes, his family explains, from leading a domestic life that cannot promote him as the star of the show, no matter his own noble achievements.

His father Shawn giving him the following advice before he teed off on the final Sunday at Augusta earlier this year.

The Masters is the greatest game, but it’s still a game”.

Spieth, Hamilton and Bilodeau have the advantage of seeing the bigger picture. They draw strength from adversity.

Hopefully, Heyneke and our boys can see the bigger picture – and build a stronger bond though adversity.

Bring it home boys

  • Rob’s new book: The Game Changers: Good to Great to Greater. Is available FREE to readers as an instant digital download on this site :