Pink Fluffy Slipper and a Pair of Old Socks
Media release: 11 May 2017
Pink Fluffy Slipper and a Pair of Old Socks Secret to All Blacks Success
All Black stars Israel Dagg and Ryan Crotty have paired up in a new campaign to show Kiwi kids how their own humble starts with a pink fluffy slipper and pair of old socks paved the way for their All Black dreams.
The inspirational stories are two of many that will feature on the back of All Blacks Collector Cards found in Weet-Bix packets as part of the champion breakfast cereal’s Dare to Dream campaign – an initiative that encourages Kiwi kids to follow their dreams.
All Blacks superstar and 61-test veteran Dagg says growing up the youngest of five siblings in the Hawke’s Bay meant there wasn’t a lot of spare cash for the latest sporting equipment.
“As kids we didn't have all the fancy gear, but that didn't stop us, it actually taught us to make the most of what we had.
“One of the best things we used for a rugby ball was my brother’s girlfriend’s pink fluffy rabbit slipper. That slipper became the centre of hundreds of exciting and fierce backyard test matches - even when we did eventually find our rugby ball!” he says.
Dagg says as a child, becoming an All Black seemed like a faraway dream. “I thought, ‘How could a kid with a pink slipper for a ball make it into the greatest rugby team in the world?’ That slipper is proof that as kids you don’t need all the latest gear to succeed and achieve your dreams - you just need a big imagination.”
“When kids open up the packet and see my card I hope they have a laugh. Obviously playing rugby with pink slippers is quite funny. It’s just so important for kids to be able to dream - to believe that no matter where they come from, whatever their background, they can achieve anything.”
“When I look back, I know that it’s really all about making the best of whatever I had and having as much fun as I could. That’s how I got here,” says Dagg.
For All Black Ryan Crotty, being gifted a pair of Andrew Mehrtens’ rugby socks and kicking tee while being ball boy for the Canterbury rugby team proved to be a defining moment. “I was so chuffed to be picked as a ball boy and get to see my heroes up close every week – then to be given Andrew Mehrtens’ socks, I thought I was the luckiest kid alive,” he says.
“I would spend hours practising my goal kicking with my prized socks on, pretending I was Andrew Mehrtens. I practised so much in those socks that they eventually had no feet left in them!” says Crotty.
Crotty says it was his dream to be an All Black from the time he was seven years old.
“I really believed I could be. My strong self-belief came from Mum and Dad, who were the best role models a kid could ask for.
“There’ll inevitably be people along the way who’ll laugh at you and tell you you’re too small, or not good enough, or you can’t do it - but if you believe in yourself and work hard at those dreams, anything is possible,” says Crotty.