Gaelle Hermet – « Together, that’s all »


I was born in Clermont-Ferrand on June 12th 1996. We moved to Carmaux in the Tarn region when I was 6 years old. At 18, I joined the Stade Toulousain. I don’t know if I should tell you but my heart is yellow and blue AND red and black at the same time.

It seems incompatible for rugby fans, but for me, it never was a problem. Sharing was a part of my life very early on and I’ve managed to make a place for everyone in my heart.

I remember rugby games in the garden with Dorian, Jorys and Hugo, and I was much better than them – but because of brothers and sisters “stuff”, they’ll never admit to it.

What I do remember is that rugby was always a part of our lives. Rugby in the garden, rugby on TV, rugby at the table during family meals with my uncles and my dad. Like a lot of south west families you’d say.

And like a lot of families from the Tarn region, on top of our passion for rugby, we have a passion for family too. Between rugby and my family, it’s a bit like the relationship we have between family members: we fuse together. We’ve always been close to one another, always been there to support each other when someone needed it. Without their support, I don’t know if I could have grown so much.

My family supported me a lot when I decided to join the Pôle Espoir. It must be said it’s not easy to see your child leave home at 15 years old. Looking back, it was especially not easy for my mother. We were always very close and I can imagine that her seeing her eldest daughter of 15 leave the house wasn’t something she had thought of. My father Cyrille, as a passionate man, was there for me and encouraged me to live my passion.

On the rugby side, the road drew itself quite naturally. From the youngest age, there were no bumps on the road. The planets aligned naturally as I moved forward.

I didn’t really know what to expect when I left home. It was difficult to look forward and imagine what I would find there. I was always well surrounded, “very family” as I was telling you. The only thing I thought I knew when I got to the Pôle is that I didn’t imagine my future playing rugby full time.

At the Pôle Espoir of Jolimont, we have classes by day and rugby in the evening. I immediately felt something was going on at that time. I’m very family-oriented – I might be repeating myself – but I felt right at home. I created relationships which resembled the ones I had in my family. I met people who were having the same experience as I was: being far from home and trying to find something familiar.

Since I have a big heart, it wasn’t difficult to make some room for those who shared my days. I got to know Ïan Jason, Mathilde Coutouly, Laure Touyé, Brandy Cazorla, Cindy Faure and Laure Sansus with whom we got to grow to the highest level. We exchange, we share, we live. Studies and rugby make for the rhythm of our days. For all of us, making a living out of rugby is an abstract concept, professional status is still something vague at the time. It’s on a human level I carry on growing.

These years in boarding school allowed me to push back the walls, to realize I could make even more room in my heart. By leaving home, I realized my choice was going to make of me the adult that resembled the kid that I was. I didn’t expect it, but I found a second family there. A family that made me the rugby player but also the woman I am today.

Beyond performance, these years of boarding school made me understand what is essential in life: sharing, solidarity, helping and empathy. Human values which were always a part of me and made of me the adult I wanted to become.

On the rugby side, like I told you, all is fine. On the study side also, except knowing what you want to do with your life is not that easy when you’re 18 years old.

You might find it strange because I’m mostly known as a rugby player today but when I got my BAC Scientifique (Science Degree) in Jolimont in 2014, I still don’t know what I want to do “in life”. The state of rugby in France is such that you need to have a plan. Not only for the future, you also have to think about the present and have something on the side to live your passion.

After the BAC, I enlist for a psychology degree in Toulouse. It interests me but I won’t lie, it’s a bit abstract. I can’t decide precisely what I want to do next to rugby.

And then as something obvious, I opened my eyes on something that was always there, inside me: being there for others. I’m 2 years older than Dorian and 5 years older than the twins, it’s not much. As far as I can remember, we’ve always been very close. I’ve always been maternal, protecting. It might sound crazy, but I realize only today how it shaped me as a person. I liked taking care of them. I simply like to take care of people.

When Camille Boudaud and Agathe Sochat told me about occupational therapy studies, it immediately peaked my interest. Coumba Diallo was already working as an occupational therapist. I must admit I had never heard about it, my entire family is in the police force. My interest was instantaneous, taking care of others, improving their daily lives, it was made for me. My mother wasn’t surprised when I told her about my choice.

My reluctance for geriatrics and the pretty bad feedbacks concerning EPHADs (old people homes) are quickly brushed away by my curiosity. I’ve never been one to be influenced easily, on the contrary, I needed to find out for myself. Contrary to what I had been told, I simply discovered people whose health needed them to be accompanied on a daily basis.

I’m 21 when I do my internship at the EPHAD of Toulouse. There, I encounter elderly people I can help, ease their daily lives, know their stories and their lives. Learn, take, give. SHARE.

To create a connection. I’ve always been made for that. I am like that. On the pitch also, at my post, a lot of the time I work for others, I’m a gear for the collective. We’re united to one another, each link is essential to bring victory to the team but I rarely shine.

The current situation with the Coronavirus is a nice picture of what the healthcare teams are in our country. We work for others. Today and since the beginning of this lockdown, we invent, we give, we share. We keep on being a link in the collective, we do visio-conferences between the people we host and their families, we maintain the connection and we do what we love: being there for others.

To be honest, I’m not looking for praises or thanks. I do what I’ve always loved: helping others. Theses current events will change us forever and I hope make the solidarity between French people even stronger.

More than ever, we are not here to shine, we are here to bring victory to the team. The kind of victory which serves as a basis for a better future.