Some people say we are crazy. Myself and Moe Cassim often get told “That we are crazy or we are fanatics. They see us every Friday with our Protea and South African Tops on and why must I lie …I love Sports. In the words of Bill Shankly equated to sports perhaps “Football is not about Life and Death…Its more than that”
That’s how we feel for the Proteas. Sport is about feeling the Fire. You feel it inside.Cetrain moments make your hair stand. Maybe it’s just me. I feel the Rush, I feel the passion.
And every time the Proteas fail in a major competition we pick ourselves up and try again. It hurts. And it hurts even more in the manner we exit prestigious cricket tournaments.
Today is no exception. I feel gutted and devastated. More so because I felt this campaign, I’m sure we all did. The squad. Amla and Tahir,good friends who were performing. We had the players. I don’t know. Something felt right. After all the pain there had to be something this year. A final place perhaps. But we were cruelly dumped out of the 2011 Cricket World Cup and crumbled like a ton of bricks against the Kiwis. We collapsed or as the ringing cry of “CHOKERS” fills the social media arena of twitter and Facebook South Africa have once again failed in a major competition amidst all expectation.
Let’s trace these painful moments. And I will highlight which one hurt me the most.
In 1992 I was in std 6 and it was the month of Ramadaan. To the voice of Barry Lambert and the chants of the song Who Will It be we watched without expectation as the first South African team played a World Cup. The Jonty Rhodes run out and of course the pain when the scoreboard reflected 22 runs of one ball. But ok Duckworth Lewis bat us this time. We were proud.
In 1996 I was in second year campus and we watched during a campus afternoon when we ran into Brian Lara with a great squad. The crucial mistake even admitted by Lara was he was surprised that Alan Donald didn’t play. Lara was class and we were dumped out in the quarters.
And then of course was the most painful moment of 1999. When Herchelle Gibbs dropped that catch against Austrailia.And the famous words by Steve Waugh “You have just dropped the World Cup mate.” But we had Lance Kluesner and against our arch nemeses Australia Kluesner brought us back in with hefty hitting. Then there was the run out. We were there. So Close. We were gone. I was broken. I had a Marketing paper the next day and I couldn’t even study. I stood at the TV FOR 15 MINUTES. I imagined that we had one more wicket in hand. WE WERE GONE IN THE CRUELLEST OF WAYS. I felt the pain
Then in 2003 on home Soil we had high expectations. It was our turf. We had a great team again. Certainly worthy of challenging. We lost against New Zealand again in a match we wanted to win. And then against Sri Lanka the rain and the miss calculation and the Duckworth Lewis system threw us out of our own tournament in our own back yard.
Was this a curse? Since 1999 the Choker Tag had grown. I asked myself. Why does this always happen to us. Did I believe too much or was the fire in me too strong to put out.
In 2007 we reached the semi-final in the West Indies and ran into a powerful Australian unit who completed their consecutive triumph from 1999. They had the edge but were clinical. The title was meant for them.
And then today….cruising at 122 for 2 we blew it away. So after all this I ask you. Are we Chokers? Are we to blame or Are we just plain Unlucky and not Good enough to win a major Cricket Tournament,
And after all this I feel the pain so much so that I cannot even watch the highlights. Why am I gutted so badly? Because the Fire inside me burned too strong and I thought this was the year of the Protea. I wont lie after tonight we said we will not watch cricket again because of the pain. but then the Fire and belief as a fan returns and we say maybe ,Just Maybe next time………………………is our time