Dillon Smit

Image supplied

A lockdown lowdown with rugby player Dillon Smit

We sat down with rugby player Dillon Smit to find out how he’s handling lockdown.

Dillon Smit

Image supplied

Dillon Smit is a professional rugby player with a big heart and bigger dreams. His rugby career has afforded him the opportunity to not only travel the world, but also to play alongside some of South Africa’s greatest sporting heroes.

Most of his time is spent on a rugby field, so when he’s not training or playing in the Currie Cup or Super Rugby, he’s enjoying Jo’burg and all it has to offer, alongside his wife, Suane.

How has the lockdown impacted you as a rugby player?

If anything, I would say it has made me be more creative with my exercises and my gym work. You have to think outside the box and make it work with the small spaces you have available.

What important life lesson has the lockdown taught you?

To not take anything I have in my life for granted. To invest more time to be with family and friends; and that human beings are capable of a lot more than we think.

How have you managed to stay mentally, physically and emotionally strong during this time?

I believe the only thing that has kept me going during this challenging time is my family. My wife and I decided to spend the lockdown at my parents and so did my brother and his girlfriend. So I had a lot of time to get better at board games and cooking.

What has been most challenging for you during this time, and why?

Not running out at Emirates Airline Park in front of thousands of people and playing the game I love. Rugby has played a part in every aspect of my life and not being able to do that is definitely the hardest part.

When did you first discover your love for playing rugby?

I grew up in a family that loves sport. My father and grandfather both played rugby and my mother was the first woman referee to represent South Africa at the Women’s World Cup in 2006. Even as a young boy, scoring a try for your team is still one of the best feelings.

What do you want to be remembered for in the rugby industry one day?

I would like to be remembered as the guy that never gave up on his dreams. I would like to be an inspiration to young kids by telling them my story.

Besides rugby, what other hobbies do you enjoy?

I absolutely love golf and fishing. I spend most of my off-time doing one or the other. It is very relaxing and takes my mind away from rugby for a while. My wife and I also enjoy those weekend getaways when we get the chance. Sometimes taking a nice long road trip does the heart and mind good. My JMC Vigus 5 is also the perfect addition for that.

Who is one teammate that you look up to and draw inspiration from, and why?

Andries (Boeboes) Coetzee is the one player in my team I really look up to. We went to the same high school and he has always been the hardest worker in the room. Even with all his success he is still very humble and an all-round great guy.

Who do you admire within the South African sporting industry, and why?

Francois Pienaar must be one of the biggest icons in South African sport. Not only was he the first South African to lift the Rugby World Cup, but the difference he has made since retiring from rugby is immense. He has given many young rugby players the opportunity to pursue their dreams which I think is incredibly admirable.

What has been your favourite fan encounter?

I recently met girl that had Down Syndrome. She was a big fan but was quick to inform me that she is also a sportsperson representing South Africa at athletics. She definitely made a huge impression on me and left as one of my favourite fan encounters to date. She also reminded me that you can achieve anything you set your heart and mind to.

Fast forward 10 years — what are you doing?

I have a big passion for coaching and would like to become an International coach and take a team to the World Cup one day. I also have a big passion for media and TV presenting. I believe that is where I will end up after rugby as well.

Follow Dillon’s journey on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

This content has been created as part of our freelancer relief programme. We are supporting journalists and freelance writers impacted by the economic slowdown caused by #lockdownlife.

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