My twenties have come and gone and the big 3-0 is mere hours away. It’s been quite a journey and I’m really looking forward to life’s next chapter.
But before I look forward, now is as good a time as any for reflection.
The last 10 years has played host to many, many memorable sporting moments and while some of them have been memorable for all the right reasons – others have scarred me for life.
Since this is a celebration, I thought I’d keep it positive. Stick around as I rewind the clock and bring you the top sporting moments of my fleeting twenties.
In chronological order:
My age: 21
I’ll go on the record and say that while I always participated actively in the festivity of ODI cricket, I didn’t really follow it too closely. But I’ll never forget this game as long as I live.
I woke up at a mate’s house after one too many Wellington brandies and caught their innings on his couch. It was a massacre and the chief destroyer was everyone’s all time favourite Australian – Ricky Ponting. I left for home and forgot it was on.
Imagine my surprise when a couple of hours later I flicked on the telly and we were still in it with Gibbs smashing the ball to all corners.
When we won it was the first time I remember my whole family screaming about a cricket match. #CherishedMemory
Rugby World Cup Final 2007
My age: 23
If I had to rank these on merit, this would be my number one sporting memory from my twenties.
I remember a few days before the World Cup semis – when we were up against the almighty Argentineans (there was still much debate in the media on whether it was Argentines or Argentineans). At some point I realised that we were probably going to be in the final for the second time, and if things were on our side – we could go all the way.
Then England emerged as the victors in the other semi and I knew that, after hammering them 33 – 0 in the group stages, we had this.
In the lead up to the game, my and friends and I stood shoulder to shoulder and sang along to what can only be described as the most eyeball misting rendition of Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika I’ve ever seen (find it here). And then when we won, we hit our local bar and the entire establishment was bathed in green and gold.
The following week I had Queen’s We Are the Champions on constant repeat. I’ll never forget it.
Have you checked that anthem? Do yourself a favour – do it NOW!
My age: 24
I think the Paralympics was so memorable to me because the Olympics was such a disappointment, particularly from a South African point of view.
During the 2008 Summer games we only managed to take home 1 medal, coming in at 70th place. Conversely, our Paralympians came in 6th place with a massive haul of 30 medals – 21 of those were gold.
It was unreal. We were dominating everything we tried and it made me so immensely proud to be South African.
Two names that stick out for me during that tournament are Natalie Du Toit and pre-drama Oscar Pistorius. I remember getting out of a warm bed at some crazy hour to watch Oscar race the finals.
Soccer World Cup 2010
Even more so than cricket, soccer is a sport that was foreign in my house growing up. But when we won the Soccer World Cup bid and it finally arrived, I found myself totally wrapped up in the euphoria and got behind our boys.
While the tournament didn’t go our way – I’ll never forget Tshabalala’s first goal against Mexico. I’m pretty sure our nation’s cheer registered on the Richter Scale that day.
Ever since then I thoroughly enjoy World Cup soccer – even participating in a work Superbru pool in 2014.
Currie Cup final
My age: 27
My latest great sporting memory is of Western Province beating the Sharks in the 2012 Currie Cup final in Durban.
This is a top memory for me because it’s an underdog story.
While WP rugby are no strangers to the Currie Cup final – they had done it numerous times before in the past – we had not won the cup in 10 years. Also, we were up against a star studded Sharks outfit that didn’t really look like losing.
But somehow we won. One player that sticks in my mind from that day is Demetri Catrakilis – as always, he was just ridiculously reliable off the kicking tee.
A particular memory that sticks here for me happened in the build-up when a close mate (a Sharks supporter) disclosed to me that he was very worried about the game. I found that bizarre but at full time I understood why.
So there you have it, those are my top sporting memories from my twenties.
One thing that you’ll notice here is that my latest memory was from 2012. With that in mind, I think we can all agree that SA is the market for a new great sporting moment.
The good news is that the Rugby World Cup is fast approaching and I’ll be there – doesn’t that seem like just the perfect occasion to get my 30s off on the right foot? I think so.
Come on Bokke!!!