David Pocock has revealed that he used rugby as a “coping mechanism” during his childhood years to cope with the trauma associated with his upbringing.
Pocock, along with his two parents and two younger brothers, left their native Zimbabwe in 2002 to escape the civil unrest taking place under the Robert Mugabe government and fled to Australia. Pocock said he became obsessed by rugby from an early age to deal with the trauma.
“I knew that I had some trauma stuff in there or some experiences that I actually needed to tell people about and talk through,” Pocock said.
“But it in my mind it was like ‘there’s people way worse off.’
“I’ve got to stick with this opportunity, I’ve got the sport and there’s other things that I can control.”
Pocock said his family were each dealing with “stuff” when they arrived in Australia, but were dealing with their emotions in different ways.
“I think my coping mechanism was sport,” he said.
“That’s what I threw myself in. I became obsessed.”
“That first holiday (in Australia) I would go down to the library and just hire out books and do training sessions from them.
“I had this weird thing in my head that I had to do 450 crunches or else I was going to get fat or if I didn’t do it, I was mentally weak.”
This obsessive behaviour was acknowledged by his parents and his father Andy labelled it “extreme.”
“When you go into a boy’s room at 11:30 at night and he’s doing sit ups and push ups then you know, this is extreme,” Andy Pocock said.
His grandfather Ian ‘Pop’ Ferguson remembers David from a young age being extremely competitive and dedicated.
“Even if he lost at a game of cards he’d start crying,’ Ferguson said.
“So that was an indication that he was going to achieve something.
“It’s very rare that you get a man that is very dedicated at such a young age.”