Most want a bit of glory. A moment to really shine and the recognition that comes with it. But once the ego has had a taste and wants more, and the foundation isn’t fully set that is when the unstable foundation can start to crack.
Of course, this brings me to Quade Cooper. It is going back in the past. But you have to do that in life. A past left unlooked at turns into baggage, and baggage affects your present moment and future. If you can clear your past, that can set you free.
In 2010 and 2011 Cooper was at the peak of his powers. He was playing flamboyant rugby, and the Reds were able to build a team around him. His career and life were on a high, and his ego wanted more.
The mind is rarely content with the current reality, no matter how good it is. Its general behaviour is ‘I want more’ and Cooper’s ego was kicking in.
What better to do than taking on the legend Richie McCaw?
At first glance, it looks like an easy scalp. The best of the best and I’m going to bring him down with a bit of niggle. What the ego forgets is there is a consequence. The mind can be like the rebel without a cause, but there is a cause, and when the consequence comes in that is when the mind wants to run. It’s a very familiar pattern.
The Wallabies beat the All Blacks in Hong Kong in 2010 and Cooper pushed and taunted McCaw after the Wallabies scored their winning try. The student was engaging in a fight with the master. The student rarely beats the master. The fight had begun.
During the matches that followed, the fights between Cooper and McCaw continued. There was niggle and rivalry between the two. Added heat came in when Cooper kneed McCaw to the head. The judiciary let Cooper off, which only added more vitriol to the kiwi public. The Eden cauldron was been spiced up.
McCaw showed insight when he stated he was a little annoyed at himself for targeting Cooper on the field, straying away from his core tasks. Self-refection is a wise tool. You see the truth. You acknowledge it and then move forward, and do it without being hard on the self.
Cooper, on the other hand danced in the mayhem that was building. The rebel was yet to take the fall and so it continued to fight. Cooper said he enjoyed the situation. He said he didn’t mind the booing as well. His whole attitude was ‘bring it on.’ It’s generally not something you want to project out because life can reflect your desires.
At the Rugby World Cup 2011 in New Zealand, the reality came in for Cooper. The reality always comes in. It’s a good sign with where you’re at. It became too much for Cooper. The booing, the noise, the pressure and effectively Australia lost their playmaker.
He was a shadow of himself. The mind that placed him there now wanted to run – the rebel without a cause, but as I said earlier there is a cause.
Cooper’s final moment was a major knee injury. Interesting enough no one laid a hand on him. He almost did it to himself. The quest for it all came down, but that is where the mind can take you.
Cooper was only 23 at the time, highly gifted and up against the All Blacks, so some understanding of how he came to that mindset is needed. He has also matured since that time and has shown respect, growth, and humility.
So I have used him as an example of where the ego can take the person, but to give some balance, he’s still on the fringe of the Australian rugby team. He added boxing to his sporting repertoire, and still plays fine football, albeit nowhere near his prime prior to the Rugby World Cup 2011.
You can’t change the past but you can learn from it and clear it where you have no baggage but just wisdom obtained.
Perhaps that’s why Floyd Mayweather remains unbeaten. There’s no baggage in the ring. I understand he’s not perfect but I get the sense in the ring and at training, he plays it in the zone, free of the mind.
The ego returns to him in the rest of his life, but in that one component with his boxing, he shows mastery with true commitment and heart.