Richie McCaw‘s strangest day evolved into his brightest memory and provided a life lesson he’s still living today.
The former rugby team captain revisited what happened during the infamous 2007 Rugby World Cup in a podcast and shared how it became a life-changing moment for him – for the better.
“Because I wouldn’t have put the time and effort and work into what happened for the [next] eight years … I don’t think the team would have been successful for the [following] eight years had we not gone through that.
“Yes, it was tough at the time but the learnings we got out of it and where it took us, the path it took us, wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t gone through that.
“It showed you how tough it is to actually win a World Cup. It put that right in perspective. You never took anything for granted after that.”
It’s an attitude McCaw now takes into everyday life as he immerses himself in his helicopter business, enjoys family life with wife Gemma and baby Charlotte, and maintains his fitness and competitiveness through adventure.
“I always said, ‘what am I going to miss from not playing rugby?’ It’s the challenge but also the learning. I think if you haven’t got something you are trying to get to or be better at, then you are just going to plateau and you’re just going to turn up and it’s going to be the same old.
“Whereas if you’ve got something you really want to figure out so that you’re not on a plateau, then you are going to have a purpose to get out of bed each day.
“That’s certainly something with the flying you get, the adventure you get. There’s a real learning every day, every time you do something … you’re not the finished article. And that’s what life is all about in my eyes … being a parent, you are learning every day.”
McCaw said baby daughter Charlotte had brought a new perspective for him and Gemma.
“She [Charlotte] is going well and again, everyone who has been through it, and most people at some stage in their lives do, it does change your outlook on things.
“I used to look at guys going away on a three to four week tour with young kids, I’d say ‘it doesn’t matter, you’ll be home in three weeks’. But I have a new appreciation for how tough it is. Even going away for a couple of days, it’s not quite as easy as it used to be.
“I didn’t have kids while I was playing so I didn’t have that pressure. But it is a good pressure to have because you want to be there. So far it has been going pretty good.”
In a sporting sense, McCaw says his adventure has helped maintain his fitness and competitive drive.
“I didn’t want to stop doing what I was doing. I enjoyed training so I needed something to train for.”
“It helps that my wife has also got the same opinion. It’s a bit hard with a baby though.”