Given the context of his arrival is very different to ours I will compare his legacy to another legacy that we might be more familiar with – The All Blacks. The loss of the Irish rugby team to the Wallabies recently was no surprise to this perpetually frustrated Irish supporter yet the All Blacks win over France was consolation for me as I am also a closet All Blacks fan. Here’s how I reckon the most successful sports team, in any code ever, is similar to Ambrose.
The All Blacks clean the sheds themselves after every game. Ambrose too was never too big to do the small things that needed to be done and was always prepared to be at the coalface of life when no one else was.
The All Blacks have a mantras of ‘no excuses, no exceptions’and ‘better people make better All Blacks’. Ambrose too expected the best of himself and his Brothers holding them accountable for individual standards by not making excuses for their shortcomings.
The All Blacks are told in no uncertain terms to remember their losses more than their wins. Ambrose too responded positively to ongoing injustices, failures and betrayals in his life.
The All Blacks use ritual as an enactment of myth. The primary All Blacks myth is the idea of sacrifice where the expectation is that champions do extra. Ambrose too engaged his followers in ritual and myth in order to inspire others to be better than they ever knew or expected of themselves.
When a player makes the All Blacks, they are given a small, black, leather bound book. The first pages remind the reader of the principles, heroes and code of honour. The rest of the pages are blank. Waiting to be filled. They read: It’s time to make your mark, your contribution. It’s time to leave your legacy. It’s your time Ambrose too would carry around a small, black, leather bound book – the Bible – as a source of inspiration and reflection. Perhaps, if we too had one, the entry on the first page might be the following:
How do I, through my example, be the change we need to see in this world and instil this in my son, family and workplace?
Dean of Formation