“I wouldn’t trade this journey for anything.”
Written by: Chris Perrotte
Photo Credit: Ashley Nixon
Twenty-seven year old Dan Moor is a Canadian rugby player on the Wing and Centre positions and has been capped 14 times for Team Canada. He's also currently attending Oxford University in England to pursue his MBA. I wanted him to describe his first experience walking into the Team Canada Rugby locker room. We discussed his feelings being among his teammates as they prepared to face Uruguay in the 2016 Americas Rugby Championship.
I asked: “What is your most memorable moment while playing the game of rugby?” To which Moor replied, “I think my most memorable moment was during my debut for Canada. I was put in the fortunate position by teammates to score two tries and win Man-of-the-Match. I honestly don’t care much for those accolades but the game did create a memory I will cherish for the rest of my life. After scoring my first try, I looked into the crowd of red jerseys and saw my parents. My dad had a look of incredible pride and joy on his face. It is hard for me to put into words what that image means to me. My parents have selflessly provided tremendous support on my journey to the national team."
Moor's love for rugby started at Crescent School in Toronto, Ontario. It's there that Moor gained a sense of “brotherhood and camaraderie between teammates." Through this experience, the seed was planted for a continued appreciation for the game; growing ever stronger while he attended Queen’s University in Kingston, under the mentorship of Head Coach of the Gaels Rugby program, Pete Huigenbos.
“He [Pete] did a phenomenal job of creating a positive culture focused on a 'team-first' mentality; a strong work ethic and code of conduct that went beyond the field to include charitable involvement and academic engagement, in addition to winning championships," explains Moor.
During Moor's five years at Queen University, the Gaels won two championships.
When speaking with Moor, I sense an aura of humility as he shares his rugby experience, comparing his journey to that of climbing Mount Everest. Historically, Mount Everest is known as the most difficult mountain to climb. Some of the challenges Moor has faced during his “climb” have been overcoming a shoulder injury, and juggling time between school, his job, and trying to earn his rugby card. He has always remained steadfast and determined to succeed in obtaining any goals he sets out to accomplish.
"I started on the 5th team at Queens so it's been a long journey to the national team. Lots of ups and downs, challenges and failures, all while trying to make ends meet. But that's the shared reality for most Canadian players on their way up. They are working really hard to put themselves in a position to chase their dream,” recalls Moor.
One of his rugby teammates has been Ray Barkwill, who he's played along side for the last five years. Ray offers a glimpse into the work ethic of Dan Moor: “His work ethic on and off the field is second to none to anyone else. He’s always working on his fitness and his strength off the field and putting in the time to make sure his body is healthy and ready,” says Barkwill.
“Whether working on coming back post-injury or trying to improve something, he’s always in the video room doing extra, looking at things to see how he can better himself, or trying to understand how to prepare against opposing teams. On the field he’s always improving by putting in extra effort and working hard to challenge himself and to challenge himself against others.”
Another teammate of his, Andrew Coe, reflects on the influence Moor has had on him as a person both on and off the field: “I consider Dan someone I look up to and a mentor of mine. I admire his work ethic of trying to get better every chance he gets,” said Coe.
“On pitch he works hard to fine tune his skills, while off pitch he spends hours reviewing film and play calls and structure so he never misses a beat. However, who he is as a person is what I admire most. He understands the importance of balancing life with playing rugby. He helps me strive to not only reach my rugby goals but my life goals. Dan's positive attitude and strive for excellence is something that I wish to carry with me not only in my rugby ventures but my life as well.”
Moor has achieved his rugby card. I asked him to describe his emotions when he got it: “Initially I was ecstatic. Then the anxiety about the potential risk to my professional career began to creep in after a couple days, as I have big professional dreams for life after rugby too,” he shares.
“In many ways, it was my personal Everest to initially crack the national team, and not taking the chance to train full-time and try to fulfill my potential as an athlete was like turning back 100 metres from the summit.”
His personal Everest journey has also taken him to Oxford University in the United Kingdom, where as well as currently pursuing his MBA degree, he is also playing for Oxford University’s rugby team.
During his time at Oxford University, Moor hopes to remain injury free in order to be able to play in the Varsity Match which would be a great honour for him. The Varsity Match has been a tradition since 1872 between Oxford University and Cambridge University, meeting annually on the rugby pitch to battle for rugby supremacy. This year's event is set to take place on Thursday, December 7, 2017.
As Moor strives to reach the mountaintop of his Everest and reach his goals whether in the classroom or on the field, he's always looking to find new ways to better himself, to be a great example to others, and a hard working Canadian.