A Late Bloomer
I love it when we come across an example of a successful late bloomer in sports.
Few stories are as inspiring.
Along the way are different coaches and influences who play a significant role. Some who turn him away, some who inspire and some who push him. All matter.
Luke Romano of the All Blacks exemplifies the athlete who struggled early, but did not give up on his dream. It was not an easy journey.
He was a little guy and as a result was never selected for a contract to an academy as a youth. He got his first real shot at 23 and was woefully unprepared when it came.
But, now he is a ‘lock’ with the All Blacks and just played his 100th game for his professional team.
How to be a successful late bloomer in sports
How did he do it?
What led him to succeed well past the point many would have quit or shifted their goals?
What can we learn to be late bloomers ourselves?
Believe in Yourself
When nobody else will believe in you you have to manage to keep that faith.
Even when the doubt creeps in –and it will– you have to keep moving yourself forward toward the dream.
“I just had that belief that I could get there. It didn’t matter, my age. I kept banging on the door, so to speak. The door got opened a little bit, I stuck my foot in, held it open. And with hard work and determination I managed to kick the thing down.”
Enjoy the Game
Loving the game and the people you play with can go a long way to staying the course.
At the time he was just enjoying playing some code with his mates. “That sort of attitude allows you to play your best footy; when you are having fun, it’s a pleasure to do,” Romano says.
A Coach who believes in you
Someone who believes you can get to the highest level can make a big difference. In sports it is often your coach.
For Romano specifically he impressed an opposing coach who gave him his shot.
His own coach kept encouraging him to battle for it.
Encouraged by HSOB coach Duncan Doig, Romano kept battling, and when Penney contacted him he was unaware he was about to take the first tentative steps to eventually earn a big wage as an All Black.
Each coach has a strong opinion of the way the game should be played. You might not fit that coach’s plan.
You just have to still be playing when the opportunity does present itself.