Bottling the Hope and Unity of the Rugby World Cup

by Justin Foxton

We did it – now what?

With the euphoria of our magnificent Rugby World Cup victory in Japan beginning to level off, we are beginning to change our focus and ask some powerful questions: How can we sustain the unity that #RWC2019 created? How can we maintain the heightened levels of hope and positivity? How can we continue to live out the mantra of #strongertogether?

These are the right questions because as jubilant as we are, there is a limit to how far sport can take us before we as citizens must step in, grab the baton and continue leading the charge.

How do we “bottle” the World Cup gees?

In order to “bottle” the positive effects of the World Cup victory, we first need to clearly name what they were. Two things stand out for me: Hope and unity. Now, the exciting thing about these two affects is that it is easily within our ability as individual human beings, as families, communities and organisations, to not only sustain but create them. Both are, in the first instance, decisions that we take to allow hope and unity to become our dominant narrative and pattern of behaviour.

Creating hope and unity

So, the event of the Springboks winning the World Cup did not of itself create unity and hope. We allowed unity and hope to rise in us as a response to the victory. Sure, we had turbo-boosters – a massive national surge of endorphins and serotonin and all the other feel-good hormones that promote positive, happy feelings and behaviour. But interestingly, we then translated those intense happy feelings into words and deeds of hope and unity. And by the way, this started way before the final.

We needed this

Now, an already hopeful, united nation say, Denmark, would not have had these affects triggered in the same way had they won the world cup. They might not have felt the victory so intensely, and if they had, they might have allowed other affects to be triggered – affects that they needed at that time as a nation. But we need hope and unity so as a result, we allowed those to be triggered in us.

Creating hope and unity: A 2-step process

Sustaining hope and unity is seemingly as simple as a two-step process: First we decide to be hopeful and united with all humanity. Having made the decision to be hopeful and united, we decide to act on it. Here are two actions you might take for each:  

On hope:

  • Surround yourself with positive hopeful people
  • Speak (and forward, like etc) only positive and hopeful words

On unity:

  • Be intentional about greeting people and perhaps smiling at them
  • Spend time getting to know people who don’t look, sound or think like you

I am sure that as a family or community you could come up with loads more actions. But if all we do is these few simple things, our country will ride the wave of victory for many years to come.

Sponsored by

Partners for Possibility is an NGO working in over 1000 schools via partnerships between Principals and people with business experience. This work builds community partnerships by uniting the school and the broader community and providing hope for the future.

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