Well before Jonah Lomu became rugby’s first global superstar another big, powerful kid from South Auckland had everyone talking. He was David Dixon. And he grew up in my hometown of Pukekohe.
David was easily the biggest dude in the Pukekohe High School 1st XV (the school’s top rugby side) and the rumour I’d heard, when I was a at primary school, was that David could leap up and intercept goal kicks that were otherwise going to scrape over the cross bar. Whether that was true or not, he was clearly a top-notch athlete. He made the New Zealand secondary schools rugby team and was a swift swimmer, too.
One night, not long after leaving high school, David was at the movies in Auckland and a U.S. football scout spotted him—that couldn't have been too hard. David was well on his way to 6-feet, 5-inches and 150 kilograms (330 pounds). That chance encounter led to a college scholarship and 13 seasons in the NFL with the Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys. He’s one of only a few Kiwis to have ever played in the NFL, and he chalked up 152 games.
A fortnight ago, unbeknownst to me, Pukekohe High School signed up for a Blinder account. They had a big interview coming up and they wanted to do it right. Shey Eva, the school’s sports coordinator, had landed an interview with a very special old boy in Minnesota: a now 52-year-old David Dixon.
I founded Blinder with a mate from Pukekohe High School. Ross McConnell and I played in the 1st XV years after David. We played against Jonah. We were less impressive athletes than both those guys. I can’t once recall Ross, for example, leaping up to intercept an opposition goal kick. But we’ve done OK creating multimedia interview tech that’s now used to help tell the stories of many of the world’s leading broadcasters and brands.
We see some pretty interesting people doing interviews through Blinder nowadays. Olympic champions. Grammy winners. NBA stars. But easily the biggest kick for me lately came from watching Shey Eva talking to David Dixon and creating content for the wider Pukekohe community.
Caley Wilson is one of the founders of Blinder. He used to run communications for New Zealand Rugby League and netball’s Northern Mystics.