Sevens maestro Dr Waisale Serevi during the seminar.
Humility and respect are two values that were instilled in Fiji’s very own rugby sevens maestro Mr Waisale Serevi ever since his childhood days.
That was the gist of the message Dr Serevi gave students, staff and members of the public at a special seminar titled, Rugby, Rio & Serevi: The Pride of a Nation at The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Laucala Campus on 8 September 2016.
The event was organised by the Faculty of Arts, Law and Education’s (FALE) School of Social Sciences (SOSS).
Sharing about the beginning of his rugby career, Dr Serevi emphasised the need to work hard and smart.
“The decision to be a good rugby player was made very early in my life. One afternoon when I was washing my uniform I heard people cheering and screaming and I asked my parents what was happening.
“They told me of Fiji’s victory over the British Lions in 1977 so I thought to myself if rugby can make people happy, I want to do the same if given the opportunity. I thank God for giving me the strength to do just that,” he shared.
“Religion and politics separate people, sports unites people – that is why I love sports,” he stressed.
Dr Serevi told students that whatever they do in life, they must not lose sight of the big picture.
“It is important that you set yourself personal goals – what would you be in five years and in ten years’ time and so on, and you must work hard in achieving that,” he stated.
Mr Serevi encouraged students to keep striving despite the fact that there will be many hurdles along the way.
“Never give up,” he said.
“I have always encouraged my children and instilled in them the values of hard work, respect and humility. Success does not come easy and there is no substitute for hard work,” he added.
According to Dr Serevi, excuses are for weak people.
He also spoke on the notion of adding value to rugby from simply a game being played to a platform to showcase one’s skills, talents and values of success.
Since 1998, Dr Serevi’s journey as a rugby player has taken him to more than fifty-one (51) countries including Australia, New Zealand, France, Hong Kong, and the United Kingdom and now he has settled in Seattle, Washington for the last six (6) years.
“I owe a lot of my achievements in rugby to God Almighty for being the source of my strength,” he noted.
He said he also owed his success to his family - his wife and three beautiful children for their continued support including players he coached, those who coached him and those who he played with.
According to Dr Serevi, his late father counselled him “to be true to myself and not forfeit my identity, to be humble in success and gracious in defeat”.
“I need to hold firm to the values that have shaped me into who I am today. And first and foremost is the acknowledgement of God Almighty.
He further urged students to respect others regardless of their status in life, race or culture and this includes valuing and acknowledging people, listening to them and accepting them as they are.
“These wise counsels have shaped my attitude as a person both on and off the field,” he stressed.
He added that children are some of his best colleagues.
“The innocence and simplicity of their thoughts and attitudes will help us build a better world,” he noted.
Dr Serevi also paid tribute to former Fiji sevens coach Ben Ryan for his immense role in helping the boys clinch gold in Rio.
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