Dear 13 Year Old Jordan,
You have played many sports until now, rugby union being your favourite. You will play others this year but none quite catch your interest as much. Having fun is the key.
Tomorrow you will start college. You will also start your last season of club rugby at Petone with your closest friends.
The numerous hours you have spent with your older brother practicing your skills will slowly dwindle down to a few a month, if you're lucky. He is maturing and hanging with his little brother isn't as cool anymore. But don't worry, your bond as brothers will not change and you will understand eventually.
Spending time with your friends on the weekend will be just as important as your football. Remember to stay out of trouble, and make the right decisions. It might affect your dream of being an All Black.
Other kids will catch up throughout college. You may not seem as fast or as strong as you used to. Don't let this defeat you, it happens. Training hard will seperate you from the rest.
When you go home you’re still a kid, not an All Black yet. So, do the dishes and make your bed every morning. Help Mum with dinner from time to time. You will learn that you love cooking.
Kids in your team and the opposition will have the ‘latest’ boots. You have last years ‘latest’ boots. It doesn't make a difference how you perform.
As your dad will say to you countless times “Pin your ears back”.
So pin your ears back.
Every time you get the ball.
You goal kick and you love it. You love the added pressure. As many as you miss you still love it, because you know you will make the next one. Keep focusing. Don't give up.
You will be up early on weekends to watch the All Blacks play on TV. Joining in as the Haka and national anthem is performed. You will probably fall asleep watching. Dads mood in the morning will notify you on how the All Blacks went.
The next day you will try to do moves as you saw on TV. The Cullen sidestep, the Lomu running style. Keep trying. If you’re lucky kids will be trying to mimic you when you're older.
Mum and dad will both encourage you to work hard, they both are working hard to allow you to chase your dreams. Later in life you will learn how much of a sacrifice it was when you do the same for your kids.
At 15, you will move college in your brothers footsteps to a better rugby school. You will leave some good friends behind. They will still be good friends — for life, a sacrifice necessary.
You will win a national title at this new college in your first year, but growing older you will warm the bench more than you play.
At 16 You’ll meet a girl.
You will fall deeply in love. You're going to need her, believe me.
You will feel you played your best rugby in a provincial tournament, representing Wellington. Your team win it. But you won't make the national side.
Don’t be too upset.
I have a surprise.
I know you won't believe it, you decide to play rugby league for the first time. Yes, I said rugby league. You will enjoy it and play more than just warming the bench. An offer to move to Australia on a rugby league scholarship will come your way. You will be a bit unsure.
Your parents will get divorced and your world will seem like it’s coming to an end, it isn’t. They will both move on and eventually be happier. Your brother and father will move country with you. Now you’re sure.
Moving to Australia you will leave family and friends behind to chase a new dream — to play in the NRL.
Leading your third and final college to a national title will get you recognised and signed by an NRL club.
At 18 you will start your semi professional career in the sport you would think least likely. Remember this dreams destination neighbours your rugby union dream, it’s just taken a different path.
Professional sporting careers come with a lot of hard work. Remember the hard work people have put in to get you there. It’s your chance to make them proud. Professional sporting careers also come with injuries. No one has told you this. You will experience some, more than the average.
You will fight back.
You WILL make it back!
You make it. Your dream of becoming pro is now a reality. In front of 40,000 people you have done it. Nervous is an understatement, but it is the same size field, with two goal posts. Just like Petone. Proud, you should be. Proud should be overstated.
You will experience more injuries. You will feel unwanted. It is not the case. Keep working. A new coach will come and back your abilities. He will enhance them. He will lead you to a Grand Final. It doesn't end how you’d like it.
Stay focussed and use this as motivation. You don't want that feeling again.
You will have your first child at the age of 24. She will make everything worth it. You now know the true meaning of sacrifice. Everything you do from now on is for her.
You will not be an All Black, but in all black with a white V. Playing for the Kiwis, performing the Haka and singing the national anthem before the game, this time not watching the TV or falling asleep on the couch.
This time, you're playing.
Your future self,
P.S after writing you this letter you welcomed a beautiful baby boy into the world, congrats!