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SA Sport is a Disgrace


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Our national psychology needs an overhaul

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There?s a very easy way to find out whether a rule, or an idea is fair.  Very easy.  Just apply it to yourself, and see how it feels.  If it doesn?t feel good, if it doesn?t feel right, it?s not fair.

 

So imagine a quota system.  Players know when they are good enough for a team, and they know when they?re getting a free ride.  The players who are good enough also know when those who don?t deserve a place are given a place.  Let me repeat this: those who don?t deserve a place also know that there are other players better than what they are, that do deserve a place.  That leads to resentment and insecurity, and these additional pressures can break the confidence of a team, let alone the cohesiveness.  Then it is very easy for cohesive teams from other countries to defeat our own.  Real teamwork, real synergy wins.  Faking it with quotas is going to create weak teams that can?t win against the best in the world.  If South Africans are going to just shake their heads and then put their heads back in the sand, we can expect a lot more Kevin Pietersen?s (he left SA and is now a leading batsman in the world, playing cricket for <?:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Englandon>) in the world.  And can you blame them? 

 

People who do sport know what it takes to train, to dig deep, to make sacrifices of sweat, but in many other vital areas too.  The problem is, the important decisions are being made on behalf of our country?s determined rugby players, cricketers, swimmers etc, by people who aren?t sportsmen, and behave as if they never were.

 

The decision makers who came up with the reasoning, just the mere idea that the world champion Roeland Schoeman be excluded from the Olympic Team ought to be hauled into a series of public hearings, and after stating their case, ought to be completely and utterly named and shamed, and then fired.  Harsh you think?  It is a public disgrace!  Please tell me how it possibly benefits South Africaon>, and the sport of swimming, to deny our greatest swimmer a place in a team?  Exactly what is going on in the minds of the sports officials who manage to come up with the idea, the intention, or even the threat of excluding our first, best hope?  The fineprint is irrelevant.  Let the administrators frown and fuss over the legislation, and which events need to be attended and why.  But give the athlete every opportunity to perform.  Give the athlete a license, and the flexibility, to pursue their dreams.  And when it comes down to it, between a sanction (not for an offence such as illegal substances of course) and a chance, give the athlete a chance, the opportunity to excel.  That makes perfect sense doesn?t it.

 

I have personally been in the position, in triathlon, and recently in cycling, where you are training intensely, and yet uncertainty surrounds your participation in a crucial event.  If you want to kill motivation, you must start to make threats and play around with an athlete?s goals.  And it?s happening.  I feel for Roeland.  Imagine the dedication, going through all those hours of training in the pool, meanwhile the echoes of conversation of possible/impossible participation in the Olympics are running through your mind.  It?s a terrible place to be mentally, when you?re dedicated to just trying to put a lot of energy out there.  And it?s unnecessary.  How dare officials put our sportsmen in such a position!

 

Rugby is turning into football?s version of the Soprano?s.  Who would ever have believed you?d hear the words ?Jake White? and ?gag order? in the same sentence?  Once again, to test the theory (of a quota system in rugby) I have to look at my own experience.  I have gone to Cheetah matches in Bloemfontein and you know, I?m not sure if I have seen any black faces in the crowd.  And I?ve looked.  It?s easier to spot them in the cheerleaders, and in the players on the field.  On the other hand, I haven?t gone to watch a single soccer match.  So here?s an interesting idea.  If we?re going to apply this quota system to cricket and rugby, let?s also do it for soccer.  I?m not sure how many black people particularly care about rugby (in comparison to Bafana Bafana).  And I?d say the reverse is also true.

 

What concerns me is that a lot of these moves are done out of spite.  It?s some official who has felt injured by the past, and now is trying to foist personal justice on an entire country.  Remember Sam Ramsamy?  I don?t know about you, but it?s becoming a sad dirge: official of color making rulings or sanctions over a hapless white sportsperson for some important sporting event.

 

Please, someone take these officials out of sport, buy them a house in Camps Bay with gravy train money, throw them parties so they can feel important, and those other people, the athletes (remember them?) who seem to have the only healthy agendas ? like the pursuit of excellence ? let them go to get on with it.

 

Politics has crippled our country once. We?ve been isolated and excluded.  Those who try to score points with their cynical agendas today must be rooted out.  We need a transparent system so that the public and athletes have better access to data, and the people in charge can be held more accountable for their actions.

 

I?d like to end with a cautionary tale.  This just goes to show how sick the local attitude is to sport and to sportspeople.  We need to overhaul this selfdeating psychology.  Really.

I recently contacted the South African Cycling Federation, and after making a number of lengthy inquiries, received the same trite response, the same exact response, 4 times in a row (to different communications) from Sylvia Dale.  They were obviously copied and pasted and sent again and again, in response to my emails. Racism is obviously not the issue here, but an inflexible, unfriendly, legalistic, self important attitude that cannot but create a schism between athlete and administrator.  Lord knows that these people who administrate the lives of athlete ever think of us other than statistics, costs, times and dates.  They don?t treat us as human beings, certainly not in the sense of putting themselves in the position of the athlete.  It?s these people that are the problem.

 

 We shouldn?t allow petty South Africans to take target practice at our athletes.  The result is mediocrity (think of the recent Cricket World Cup), and since it has been happening for so long, how can we expect more from our athletes at the 2008 Olympics, or the 2010 World Cup, or the next Rugby World Cup?  Sport?s underlying ethic is fairness, and if those who govern and administer the sport can?t even honestly promise and demonstrate fairness, then we how can we expect consistency and excellence from our athletes?

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Didn't the local newspaper accept your editorial submission?Big%20smile racman2007-05-18 07:49:45

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this will never , ever stop, until the whole Springbok  Rugby, Soccer, Cricket, Athletics, Cycling, Tennis, Squash, Boxing  Triathlon, etc is non-white.

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the local paper is Afrikaans.  if you want to translate and send it to Die Volksblad, be my guest.  Did send it to a citizen website, and it'll probably appear on Monday.

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Cervelo, I have to disagree. The "ALL Blacks" also have white players!!Big%20smile

 

Also, please clarify "non-white", because most of us "whites" spend half of our holidays and money trying to get more "non-white", albeit in different shades of tan.Big%20smile
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I also disagree with Cervelo, although I love the brandThumbs%20Up.  It's a fatalistic reponse.  We aren't participatory in our approach to sorting stuff out we don't like.  We're reactionary.  And theoretical, like we're scared to get our hands dirty.  When you speak to people with an open mind you realise we're all pretty much the same (except for the occasional freakshow).  But it's frustrating for sport and work and everything else when people are trying to turn everything into a rainbow nation perfectly proportioned to natural diversity.  Life's just not like that.

 

It makes me think of poverty.  Isn't poverty comparable to what a classroom full of kids achieve.  There are only so many A students, the rest just don't care, are not motivated or capable of getting there.  They can be helped, but the chips fall where they do.

 

But in terms of the decisions we make about ourselves, that's entirely under our control, and something we can influence, and we can and should influence this for good, and towards Fair Play.  Most kindergarten kids can agree what fair is.
Sunblock2007-05-18 08:29:30
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When its cold - I'm blue, when its hot - I'm red, when I'm sick I'm green, and usually I'm light tanned, and you call me white!!!!

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If the quota system made the poepol Kevin Pietersen leave, I must be all for it. 

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If the quota system made the poepol Kevin Pietersen leave' date=' I must be all for it.  [/quote']

 

I second that....
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  The result is mediocrity (think of the recent Cricket World Cup

 

While I get what you're saying,  I disagree with your assumption that the quota system caused the CWC team to loose. A lot of the guys playing in the CWC should be playing bowls.

 

They've been playing so long in the team I can't remember who was in before them. My first reaction when seeing the WC team (as we don't get much SA cricket here) was astonishement that some guys were STILL in the team.

 

The SA team lost to Auss because they just weren't mentally strong enough to handle them no matter what the macho men said a few days before that and NOT because of a quota system.

 

SA's "story" so to speak is unique and whether one likes it or not people ARE going to be affected by the past for some time to come. The quota system being one of them.

 

Was being left without proper housing, heating water, schooling fair ?

 

It may not be fair but it was to be expected.

 

If the shoe was on the other foot people would be saying that the quota system is wonderfull  etc etc

 

Don't forget that politics exists in every countries' sport and I've seen guys being left out of national teams here (in Ireland) just because his / her father said something 50 years ago that one of the officals didn't like, or being left out because you come from a specific area of the country and the selectors don't.

 

At least we're ALLOWED to compete against the rest of the world now....
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so you're all for leaving?  brilliant strategy

 

 

I'm for moaning whingers to leave.....
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