Dear Richie –
I must admit, being a foreigner with only 7 years of rugby madness coursing through my blood, I probably still don’t quite grasp how important this acheievement will be to you and the squad (and New Zealand as a whole).
To me it all seems so exciting. Bright lights. Party central. A buzzing atmosphere. But, to you, the leader of the pack – this is what will carry you from living legend to a cemented national hero and icon. Who knows what might happen if the AB’s being home the cup with you at the healm? A statue in bronze. Your face on the $10 note. A flavour of potato chips named after you (sweet and salty). As it stands now, you’re already the most recognizable face in Godzone.
Good news though! If you came home with me to the small town in California where I grew up (a girl can dream) you’d have some anonymity. I can offer you that. But here in your homeland, winning this golden cup will grant you immortality. I bet that’s both scary and cool all at the same time. But, like I said, if you ever need a break from greatness, there’s always going home to California with me.
I can’t imagine the weight on your shoulders right now (and I’m not talking Tony Woodcock playing “chicken” sitting on yours). It’s the weight of the mixed hopes, dreams and expectations of your nation. People from toddlers to toddling geriatrics are donning their AB colours and shouting your name. And all I can hope for is that you’re able to have some normality in your life (eg. A clear mind) without the din of the world cup giving your ear drums a bashing. That’s what you’ll be counting on your family, team mates and friends for. But no matter how shielded you are, you’ll know it’s happening even if you can’t taste, smell, touch, hear, see it all…won’t you?
That’s why we love you so much. You’re an everyday bloke with talent and humility and you can handle the pressure. Yep, we’ll keep you around.
So Richie, even though we don’t know each other I want you to know that we all believe in you and the team. In fact I believe in you more than I believe in the power of cake to bring a smile to a small child’s face (I have a theory about cake and it’s proportional effect of happiness, let’s chat about it one day). So, I’ll close this letter with one little bit of advice for you: go forth and kick ass.
Yep, it’s that simple.
We’re all cheering you and the boys on, so if you need someone in your corner just turn around. No matter where you are, you’ve got the support of every All Black fan alive heading your way. And, if you’re looking for me specifically, have your people call my people – as they say back home – we’ll do lunch.