A mate based in New Zealand recently sent me an email with an attached article. All the email said in it was, “Do a ‘Real-Man’ piece about this guy”.
All I can say is, Tevita Ngalu is more than a ‘Real Man’. That’s under-selling him. He’s a Hero.
I'll post the article below, but to summarise:
It’s a story of the New Zealand weightlifting team, and of two men, Tevita Ngalu and Richie Patterson.
Tevita Ngalu had a pulled quad muscle, although I have read elsewhere that it was actually torn; whatever he’d done to it, it’s not going to feel like a massage, that’s for sure. But even though weightlifting is very much a solo sport – a person, a weight, a lift – because of the way it’s judged, Ngalu had to lift 157kg in order for his teammate, Richie Patterson to compete at the Olympics.
Despite being strongly advised against it by the competition doctor and his coach, on his second agonising attempt, Tevita Ngalu, with a grunt and pain etched on his face successfully completed the lift.
And after all that, what does he get out of it? Nothing.
His team-mate Richie Patterson, however, gets the chance to compete at the pinnacle of the sport.
One of the other two writers came crying to me recently – OK, I exaggerate…slightly – his current frustration concerning a blog he’s working on based around the blurb on the back cover of the Guide where it refers to ‘the spirit of what’s dangling between your legs’.
When I showed him the Ngalu story he almost flipped.
‘Well that’s it isn’t it?’ he screamed. ‘That’s the exact spirit I’m trying to elucidate – the one this guy in New Zealand is actually doing.’
He then showed me what he’d written so far. He’d compiled a short list that read:
Binding Team with Trust.
I told him his list looked fine, he just needed to add ‘Setting an Example’ and ‘Self Sacrifice’.
Which brings me back to Ngalu. I said earlier that he doesn’t get anything out of this Heroic effort. That’s not true.
Through his sacrifice he has shown beyond doubt that he is one of today’s Heroes. And that isn’t because of his amazing feat of strength, impressive as it was. Being a Man has nothing to do with physical strength. He is a Real Man because he has seen an opportunity to Give of himself in order to help another and has done everything in his power – arguably more – to help that other guy.
He knew the only physical thing that he would get out of this was a whole load of intense pain. And yet he still pushed himself to handle it in order to help another.
To me Ngalu is the very definition of a Hero – someone who, no matter what happens, will always have your back…
…like the guys who followed Alexander and literally fought back to back with their Friends, their own body offering protection to the other (see the Guide – ‘Friendship – The Ultimate Risk).
And what was Ngalu’s response to his own Heroic feat? … ‘It’s just hurt. I’m not going to die.’
It’s guys like Tevita Ngalu who remind us what sport is really about. It’s not the winning, the medals, the trophies that really matter at the end of the day.
It’s the Heroes that sport can create. The (sadly too few) Men who get up there and set a positive example to those of us still finding our way on the journey to becoming Heroes.
Here's the article: http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/olympics/7076565/Injury-hit-Ngalu-beat...