'Confine yourself to the present'
England 7s' Chris Cracknell
January 31, 2013
New Zealand celebrate winning the 2012 Wellington 7s crown with a haka © Getty Images
Finally we have hit the end of January. For some that means pay day, for others it means dry January is over (I lasted 12 days) and for England Sevens it means time to board a plane to my favourite stop - Wellington.
Dubai and Port Elizabeth were not such happy hunting grounds for us prior to the festive season. Christian Lewis-Pratt was hurt before the tournament began and Tom Mitchell broke his leg on the first day added to our growing sick list. For us guys injured at home it certainly dug the knife in even more that we were unable to help our comrades.
Over the festive period I read this quote by Marcus Aurelius: 'Confine yourself to the present.' That means a lot for me and the team. There's nothing you can do about the past (as much as we would all like to change some things) and there's nothing you can do about the future. But you can prepare for the future by getting it right in the present and working hard to make sure you achieve what you want.
So while you were all stuffing your chops over Christmas and New Year, we were getting into the swing of our New Year's resolutions far earlier than most to prepare for this weekend and our first game against the home nation at 03:14 GMT on Friday.
For those of you who haven't been lucky enough to attend the Wellington Sevens, or even visit the city itself, let me set the scene. We are England and they don't like us a whole lot. You have 30,000 alcohol-fuelled, fancy-dressed Kiwis crammed into the Cake Tin going crazy every time their men in black take to the field.
It's like the tide going in and out. When they play everyone is there and when they don't they're in the car park refuelling for the next bout! It all starts on the Thursday with a street parade through the city and builds from there. It certainly makes for an outstanding atmosphere. I can't think of anywhere better for us to get back on track.
Meetings, planning and daily rugby sessions, with fitness top-ups and weights until your hands bleed is what our boys have been up to.
Yes we certainly have let ourselves down so far this season and we cannot change what's past. But we have prepared, crossed our Ts and dotted our Is and lived in the present to make sure we are ready. The only downer for me is that I'll be thousands of miles away up at the crack of dawn shouting at the TV rather than being out there. Until next year anyway...
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