“It was a difficult decision to make, academics or Rugby I opted for academics obviously after parental ‘guidance’ pressure, knowing my parents won’t hear anything like forsaking my studies for my passion”
My name is Brian ‘Tondo’ Itolondo am a 24 years old communication practitioner specializing majorly in journalism and partly in public relations at the same time I am a rugby player at Nondescripts and this is my story…..
It’s rare to meet people who have gone off on tangent of their field of study to nurture their talents in an attempt to make their passion a profession.
Everyone has a talent back in Nairobi School I tried various sports like Cricket and Lawn tennis before realizing in form three that Rugby was the sport meant for me. Growing up in Dandora I was athletic at a young age I even played football in primary school. When I tried playing Rugby in high school it was all fun running around until someone grabbed you like a thief dragging you to the ground before others come to his support in an attempt to dispose you off the ball.
Rugby in Nairobi School was somehow cultic thus the prime factor why ended up in the sport. My abilities on the pitch during my high school days earned me a call up with Nondescript, a professional tier one rugby club after high school. However, I didn’t have the chance to honor the call up as I was admitted to Moi University, Main Campus Eldoret for an undergraduate course in BSc Communication & Journalism. It was a difficult decision to make, academics or Rugby I opted for academics obviously after parental ‘guidance’ pressure, knowing my parents won’t hear anything like forsaking my studies for my passion. Fortunately for me Moi University Rugby team ‘Arsonists’ were playing in the second tier. I played for the varsity team for four years after which I joined Nondescript ‘Nondies’ turning professional. Nondescripts RFC is the most successful club in Kenya’s history playing in tier one, furthermore it is the oldest rugby club having been founded in 1923.
To me Rugby is everything ‘bae’ I focus more on it compared to journalism which I graduated in. Sports in Kenya isn’t that luxurious as it doesn’t attract the commensurate returns compared to the effort we put in the field day in day out thus I always strive to create an equilibrium between Rugby profession and Journalism adventure to put food on the table as you know rugby is an expensive sport it requires a special diet and training. Creating the equilibrium is the most difficult thing for me; I have to ensure that both the sport and profession are attended to. If sports was at an advanced level thus well-paying in our country then I would take it (Rugby) fully at an earlier stage with parental blessings, maybe I couldn’t have gone to the university to concentrate on it fulltime .
My rugby journey hasn’t been a bed of roses I once had a career threatening injury when training in Nairobi that left me with a fractured shoulder that kept me on the sidelines for more than a year. Hardly had I returned on the pitch when the same shoulder got injured again during a match against Mombasa RFC sidelining me for weeks. This was the most trying and devastating moment of my rugby career. I even thought of quitting after the three back to back injuries in quick succession.
I didn’t know how to do the recovery and strengthening of the shoulder thus the injury kept recurring forcing my parents to bar me from ever stepping in the rugby pitch again. Brian recalled.
Rugby has influenced my life positively on and off the pitch equipping me with super eminent life skills through contact and character creation in the game. Just like any other sport, rugby helps to appreciate diversity as one plays alongside people from different cultural backgrounds. Networking and socializing among other merits comes in handy with this particular sport.
The rugby field is the place where all rough behavior is rewarded instead of channeling all the effort in crime and fighting. My passion for the sport is unmatched considering how the sport got my interest to the extent of sticking to the field during adverse circumstances even when I was injured I used to go to the pitch just to ‘feel’ the ball to see if it had changed.
Representing Kenya in international tournaments is my major aspiration. Hopefully I will be able to accomplish in two years God willing if I remain injury free and maintain the momentum and hard work that would see me climb up the ranks till I make the cut for the national side as a hooker.
Off the pitch I want to be successful in my communication practice just like Collins Injera who is a renowned PR practitioner off the pitch.