opening the door to second chances

Second chance.

It’s a deed we hope we could all be paid by fellow humans. Especially from the ones we care about the most. And, equally, a courtesy our employers will never withhold. At least we hope.

It’s a trait synonymous with sport. A chance to score an equalising goal. A try on the rugby Continue reading

ease back… with prolific interviews

blog

I have never been a ‘half measures’ type of person. This is not always a good thing, as this propensity sometimes manifests itself in a number of ways.

But in my experience (and I guess, depending on the side of the scale you’re on), this trait has proved more as an advantage than fault.

The Continue reading

grace takes the stand

When the unfathomable grips the world; when your gym workout turns into a silent prayer session for a family you’ve never met, following the loss of their little girl – and the man who took that life. That is the time to cut your ‘sabbatical blogging leave’ short.

When ‘premeditated’ is a word that will decide who will be serving a global icon’s dinner in near future, you sit right up!
And when the court of opinions arrests, trials and convicts someone’s son; another word screams and begs for attention.

Grace.

Bono GraceGrace proclaims “I am not blind or oblivious to what you have done, I just choose not to hold it against you”

From day one I refused to take a stand on the Oscar Pistorius case. Because when the media frenzy dies and we’ve moved on, Reeva Steenekamp would still be gone and Pistorius’ life would be changed, forever. How do you take a stand?

At a time when there are so many unanswered questions, as we as a national and even global community try to understand an unfathomable tragedy,

It is a great comfort to know people who just makes sense. For me that person is Mark Odendaal.

Due to his strong character, Mark has been one of my favourite people and mentors since my teens. When a ‘God’ issue comes into light he is the person I turn to.

In this tragedy, I ask: How do you take a stand. The answer is surprising simple: You don’t; Grace does.

Mark explains:

I don’t know if Jacob Zuma raped that woman. I don’t know if Jub Jub was really drag racing before his car accident. I don’t know if Julius Malema is guilty of steal tax payers money. And I don’t know if the events that lead to Reeva Steenkamps death on Thursday 14th of Feb were pre-meditated or not.

What I know, is that it’s actually not for me to make a call on any of the above cases, or any other account of sin that we may or may not hear about – Oscar Pistorius’ case included.

continue reading

the other side of the coin

It’s only the third week of what will surely be one of the busiest years of my working career: the Earth’s biggest multi-coded sporting event has finally arrived…well, come July 27th.

Although it may still be a long way before the 2012 London Olympics, fortunately for us sports fans, it won’t feel that long for we are ‘busy’ already. Football never sleeps and neither does cricket. It is only SA rugby that’s still in recess.

As excited as I am about the sporting offerings for this year, my year sure did not get off to the best start. Not being a fan of Christmas, I am one to celebrate New Year.

The first of January generally represents new beginnings. I say this despite the fact that it’s always a chaotic time in the Eastern Cape (where I’ve spent the past 23 New Years, whether it’s spent in front of a telly or adding to the chaos) and you may ignore the fact that I’ve never made a New Year’s Resolution in my entire existence. Yet still, the beginning of the year speaks of second chances….to me anyway.

However, what was supposed to be a fun-filled night turned out to be a not so great, for my friends anyway. I would feel the impact of crashing my car 17 days later. At around 22:33 of December 30th, Xena (my car) was involved in a head on collision.

That’s around the same time Liverpool scored their third goal against Newcastle….at least that’s when I saw the score. And to my three passenger’s horror it seemed I had forgotten I had just damaged my most valuable asset. Talk about priorities! Fortunately no one was hurt but I now have the dubious experience of insurance bullshit and well, that’s the start to my exciting year.

Upon wallowing in my misery, I stumbled upon a very unique video that got me thinking about the other passion of mine. A few times I’ve received the amazed “You’re a Christian? No ways! You don’t look Christian” reaction.

I’ve asked “exactly what does a Christian look like?” Each time I’ve received, what I call a ‘religious person’ description – a sad misconception of what a Jesus follower ‘should be’. A bill I’d never fit.

If you know anything about me you’d know exactly why. What I wore to class is what I wear while in worship band. I have a tattoo, have been ‘caught’ listening to Eminem, heck I said ‘shit’ in this post. See? I cannot possibly be ‘Christian’.

Or can I? What does that even mean anyway?

I’ve struggled with ways to explain that I’m not religious, and that God doesn’t really care what you call yourself. It’s what you do with His free gift that He’s more concerned about. And then one Jeff Bethke made his way onto my existence (and shot faster onto my blog than an angry Bissie).

Bethke is a spoken word poet, whose rhymes and videos are capturing the attention of thousands of Christians across the web, breaking all misconceptions and challenging well-known description of what a ‘Christ-like’ is.

With words like:

If religion is so great, why has it started so many wars?
Why does it build huge churches, but fails to feed the poor?
Tell single moms God doesn’t love them if they’ve ever had a divorce,
But in the Old Testament, God actually calls religious people whores

Religion preaches grace, but another thing they practice,
Tend to ridicule Gods people, they did it to John the Baptist,

the problem with religion is that it never gets to the core,
It’s just behavior modification, like a long list of chores.
Let’s dress up the outside, make things look nice and neat,

If grace is water, then the church should be an ocean,
Cuz its not a museum for good people, it’s a hospital for the broken

He explains my predicament in ways I couldn’t. Echoing thoughts I’ve had, but lack the talent to express. Fittingly titled “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus,” a prophetic criticism, fused with a personal testimony and an undeniable confidence in who God is and more importantly who and what I don’t need to be.

He says:

Jesus and religion are on opposite spectrums,
One is the work of God one is a man made invention,
One is the cure and one is the infection.

Religion says do, Jesus says done.

You may not like the way I ‘do’ church. Question how I ‘act’ as Christian or fail to even live up to your religious ‘expectations’, and that is okay with me.
As Jeff mentions “Because when Jesus cried It is finished, I believe He meant it. ”

Jeff is on Twitter

fine. you can stay

A Month ago Fraser McHenry of Garmin entrusted me with one of my current favourite toys. I have never had an addictive personality, so this statement may not ring true in a couple of Months time. Anyway, after purchasing my first car McHenry put in my capable (well…) hands a nuvi 1310 device worth just over R7.000!

I stayed with a friend’s mom for half a year and I am yet to meet anyone who knows maps better that she does. Maps are just one of the few things I had interest in for like half-a-second and I suggested we asked the first person we see where to go. What did I tell you – no addiction this side.

Much as I tried to gasp everything Carol tried to tell me about maps, I knew it was not something I’ll use once I’ve exited her doors. I was right. I knew once I got my own wheels, one of the few things I’ll deem ‘necessities’ will be a GPS. Imagine my delight when Garmin came to my rescue.

I am that girl who never wins ANYTHING. Each year I say I’m done with competitions and yet, if there’s a scratch card to be..well scratched I’ll do it (provided I don’t pay for it. Maybe that’s why I never win). 5FM says SMS this and win this, no need to ask me twice. You think of a competition, chances I’ve entered it (no, not Lotto though) but to this day I can count with two fingers how many times I’ve won.

This is why Garmin’s call felt like winning my very own Lotto. When they told me they are interested in having me test one of their gadgets, it didn’t take any convincing.

After driving through a strange area in Fourways I got Daniel. Truth be told, my first thought was ‘how much did you say the retail price is again?’. Simply because from looking at it I would never imagine why anyone would pay close to R10 000 for an electronic map, when Aunty Carol is just down the road.

However, after a Month chilling with Daniel I’ve realized why people put so much trust into these things. You see I was sure that this little guy would purposefully take me to Timbuktu, because, well that’s what they generally do. Only I was to be surprised. I got sold when I took my first trip to Soweto (by myself) and I was in Soweto in 35 minutes. I did have to wait for my friend to pick me up though, and that’s because she is worse than me when it comes to street names.

My favourite feature is the traffic. About two weeks ago I needed to be a conference venue by 8 am on a Friday. I live in Northcliff, the venue in question was Birchwood in Boksburg. Crazy and awesome thing about Jozi is well the traffic.

Awesome if you like me and don’t mind seating on the road and look at weird strangers. While it is crazy because, I should hope your boss would not let the ‘Jozi traffic boss’ excuse fly for more than twice a week. My trip to Birchwood at that time (of the morning) would’ve taken anything from an hour to three hours depending.

I left home at 6:55 and was the first of my colleagues (who had the 8am call) to be at Ekurhuleni by 7:40. When I saw the route I was to take was different from the one my advisory team gave me I was worried, because it seem Daniel was leaving up to my non-existing expectations: Timbuktu. Only to discover that though generally that route was longer, it had less traffic. Essentially shorter, for I didn’t stop anywhere, but to obey laws of the road.

Chances are for the longest time I will not be able to afford this little guy, and with me discovering every day news things about him, R7000 is really not that bad. My three friends and I will be driving to the Eastern Cape on the 16th guess who tagging along.

daniel

Thanks Fraser.

well…now that’s a first

It’s been an excruciating week…..well, for (some) sports fan anyway: Lions fans are running around with excitement (shame, who can blame them?). I, however, am in agony! Not to mention still confused as to what to wear on Fridays. I work for a sports organization, so supporting ‘Magnificent Fridays’ is sort of expected..

Okay fine, I don’t mind one bit. In fact I look forward to Fridays (even if they were a lot easier a couple of weeks ago). It’s just that my problem is having to settle on a decision of what to wear. Despite the fact that my gender are often (rightly) accused of having this dilemma, my challenge is entirely different…as you may have imagined.

I went to watch the Proteas receiving a whipping at SuperSport Park, Centurion on Wednesday – thank you Cricket SA – and today I’m wearing their top. It should be simple enough. But before this, I had my Bulls top on for a whole two minutes this morning. Then, doubting my choice, I changed. See what I mean? Confused.

Then to complicate things further, there are the Bok jerseys. I have to admit that it is exciting to see so many SAffers in Bok jerseys. It makes me realize that SA Rugby will flourish. We will be holders of that cup in no time. The timeline will solely depend on SARU and their selection of new leaders. For now: we move on and I’m moving on.

Although I think that I haven’t cried enough, I have stopped. Besides I have got other things to smile about (move over clothing dilemma).

For one, I got that tattoo I’ve been screaming about; I got a great job (call me the new girl at SASCOC) and just the other day I got my car. You’d think that for someone who’s been an employee since 16 I would’ve been a wheels’ owner ages ago, but nee, I had other ‘priorities’.

Like how many piercings my body can hold, of course much to my mom’s delight (clearing my throat here) – who by the way has no knowledge of said tattoo, ‘Christ Forever Reigns’, forever indelibly printed on my rib-cage… sigh… interesting December holidays await…

she shall be called Xena

Anyway back to the new car; I got the Ford Figo 1.4 Ambiente…she shall be called Xena (my very own Warrior Princess). And the guys from Garmin) saw my potential hapless situation and decided they couldn’t let an Eastern Cape girl cruise the street of Jozi on her own.

So they are giving me one of their toys: a nuvi 1310 device worth just over R7.000! So for the next Month British accented Daniel (I didn’t name him) will be ensuring that I take the longest routes to find my way….I am hopeful 😉

A big thank you to Fraser McHenry and his team for this baby. I cannot wait to see if this thing is worth that price tag.

And while I”m saying my thanks:

I owe Mark Harris from Paul Maher Auto for the great service. Xena drives like a dream and my friend Barry-John Robinson for ensuring Mark and his team are not cleaning me out or just making a sale.

And most importantly Mark Biagi of Accredo Financial Solutions(Pty)Ltd for his work around the clock to ensure insurers give me my worth…well money’s worth that is. If you need financial service, give this guy a shout. He’ll make you rich….okay not really, but he sure can try :P. and seeing that his site is under construction – go ahead and email him – mark.biagi@accredo.co.za

daniel

Okay, cheers, gotta go and test this Daniel boy out.

Enjoy the games. Well done Wallabies. Gooo All Blacks! Goo Lions! And for the love of all that is soccer: Goo Man City!
#YNWA

just a second

It has been two post too long since I’ve drafted a few words down on this page. I’ve received emails, Tweets and Facebook messages (thank you) all asking if ‘in(TRACK)suit’ is no more. No, Sam’s post was not my good-bye I am still very much here.

If you remember this post I mentioned a change of fields; of chasing a dream; looking for a door. Any door. Well a door in the form of Varsity Cup opened and I gladly walked in.

If you don’t know (which rock have you been living under?), Varsity Cup is only thee biggest University Rugby tournament of our times and I joined its media team on free-lance basis. For the duration of this year’s tournament yours truly will be producing at least one article a week focusing on past students who went to the universities featured in Varsity Cup. What this means is I will be interviewing some of the great people we know through sport, business and or media and my chats will be available online.

My very first article was published last week. Ladies and gentlemen I got the honour of interviewing one of SA’s rugby icons. The very first rugby player I ever liked, liked enough to actually pay attention to his sport of choice, he is the reason I almost supported The Stormers (PHEW what a blunder that would’ve been!) Yes boys and girls; this small town girl got to chat to the legend that is Breyton Paulse, and this week my one-on-one with SuperSport and 5FM’s very own Sias du Plessis goes online.

So this page is not going under, however, is just not the main focus right now. I will blog when I can, and in the meantime please do support me by reading my articles on varsitycup.co.za

Ever wondered if size is really all that important? Find out in my first VC article ‘When Size Doesn’t Matter’ by Kate Nokwe

Cheers

Jesus. the tattoo

I have wanted a tattoo for as long as I can remember. I’ve always known I wanted something that’s ‘relevant’; one that, when it’s no longer a ‘tiger’ in my 20’s, but a ‘giraffe’ in my 60’s, will still bring me joy. When I turned 18 many thought I’ll go under the needle, but all I wanted was a beer.

No really – I couldn’t care less about piercings or tattoos (at least not that day anyway) just pass me that darn beer!

My infatuation with the malted grain didn’t last more than a month. Whether it is Irish, South African, German, etc, beer just has an acquired taste that was not designed for this palette.

I get bored very easily, so with the beer season gone, I needed something else to take up my time. After an amount of piercings (belly, top ear – what do you call that part?, tongue, neck), the tattoo bug struck again.

A much younger Kate wanted the words Jesus Freak – in Hebrew – engraved on her lower back. A huge risk considering I don’t know any Hebrew, or know of anyone who does (do not trust Google for such things), nevertheless, I convinced a friend to practice his designing skills for my tatt; met up with an artist, made an appointment and everything, but still do not have any ink on me. That was five years ago.

How Small We Truly Are

Fast forward five years later….I have just returned from a Beach Mission trip in Plettenberg Bay. Where under the ‘Athletes in Action’ banner, a bunch of amateur athletes and I, united by two things; our love for sport and God spent two weeks, using the medium of sport (volleyball, touch rugby and soccer) telling anyone who would listen about our Heavenly Father.

Some days were awesome – with more people showing up than ever before, on our first day the number was greater than last year’s busiest day – the sun smiling down our backs. And there were times I wanted to pack my belongings and hitch-hike home.

It’s not easy being confined in a small space with 20 egos and 12 estrogen cases for two weeks. Not to mention the three days it rained non-stop! Yet, throughout, God was always in control.

We saw His greatness from day one, you’ll remember from my last post we were way in over our heads. In my down-time I only needed to look at a mate’s arm, where the words ‘In Christ Alone’ are permanently stapled, and remember why I was there, and who is the Boss of the mission trip, and the ruler outside this confined arena.

Going onto the mission trip my boss and I had decided to part ways. We’ve both decided it was best for the company and for me to not renew my contract in 2011.

You see; my passion lies elsewhere and thank God for her and Sabio Communications for providing an environment of growth and opportunity to get my internship hours completed and in essence enabling me to graduate. And honestly, I owe a great deal of thanks to God for her, for kicking me outta of my comfort zone.

This means I’ll hang my PR pen come January 31. With that I wave goodbye to the security ushered by an income end of every month and the opportunity to grow in this incredible industry; instead I will be embarking on a journey that calls for a tattooed heart.

You see, when it’s all said and done: I have nothing. I own nothing. I’m owed nothing. But by the grace of the most High, I have a dream. One that has brewed throughout the years and has finally decided to shut up no more.

One that the Dream Giver has placed at the core of this heart and is now taking a stand. How can I possible refute that? Oh the thought certainly has cross my mind, but “greater sorrow knows no man than he that defies hearts cry”

Will I sail on this road? – Hell no! Will I stumble and fall? – Possibly. But crush and burn I will not! For it is time to live-out my Jeremiah 29:11.

Excuse me; I have an appointment with a Tattoo Artist.

happy ending. someone’s pissed off

November is an interesting month I would say. Never mind that it is my birthday month and that I put my student card away for good, but it has brought some interesting occurrences.

You probably had to (or know someone who had to) make-out with someone with more facial hair than Bruce Willis’ cranium. Thanks to Movember I have to wonder what would have happened if we were in the state of Taxes, with no gun permit.

Don’t get me wrong, some could have been worse; while I was embarrassed to know certain people, the cause was the only reason that kept me next to them, I am (still very much)glad it is over (though). I’m no prude, but I do like clean species especially within meters of my existence.

I’m tempted to say “I cannot believe its December already”, but I have been following the calendar, so this is not so astonishing. But if you haven’t -2010 is over!

The fairly-tale year for us South Africans has drawn to close. We hosted the biggest tournament in history and did it successfully. When many (England) questioned our competence to making a success out of the tournament of this caliber, we rose to the challenge, stood tall and our boys even climbed the FIFA rankings.

Yeah we had a few glitches here and there, but made a killing. Not to mention the many ‘firsts’ including 14 cards in final (13 yellow / a red) and Sepp giving us a 8/10 – not too shabby there mate. Question arises though – did we get our happy ending?

I mean with Louis Oosthuizen winning the British open and the success in the Commonwealth games (interview with Mark Randal). The Boks campaing. Then there was Graeme Smith who handed over the reins (well, some) to Johan Botha; Makhaya Ntini’s
retirement, Gibbs’ controversial book and CSA boot. Let’s not forget Kevin Pietersen’s…. Wait – he is English.

Speaking of which; England can probably answer that ‘happy ending question’. What’s with the atrocious World Cup campaign and now losing the 2018 bid to Russia?

Yeah you’d be forgiven for assuming they are happy to see the backside of 2010 but they might be able to redeem themselves in The Ashes (I’m sure I will blog about this in the new year). But did we have a good year?

We are still reaping the fruits of the 2010 World Cup (white elephants and all). We had a SA Super 14 final as well as a pacy, gripping Currie Cup. The world ‘parked’ at our shores for the Airtell Championships. Would you say we had the year we hoped for? Did you?

And me – well I’m graduating soon and as I type this (that was two days ago) I am off to Plettenberg Bay to live-out Matt 28:19-20.

Yes. It is that time where ‘Road LessTraveled’ comes to motion.

We didn’t have the ‘perfect’ start. One of our six cars wouldn’t start, later it over-heated only to break down after the head gasket blew up after Kroonstad to be towed to Bloemfontein. To which one of our dads had to drive to Bloem to give us a different car. We thank God for him. Lost time but no lives.

Was 2010 a great year? You bet! I’ll give you my ‘Happy Ending’ after this mission trip. Best be sure though -we have pissed Satan off!

road less travelled

When I started this page I had no subject or theme in mind, I simply needed to put some thoughts and ideas onto paper, and since we don’t have dinosaurs in our backyards, why not use the web? Besides, I (always) thought – everyone is doing it?

My blog was not intended to be another ‘sport opinion page’, (despite my love for the game); this was meant to be my space to vent, share laughs, cries, and cause a couple of upsets (HA!).

Then the first post ‘happened’: in came John Smit debacle, KP’s loose tongue (should that read fingers?) Steven Pienaar, Cricket got my balls (and I don’t even have any) boiling, and, and, and; the direction of ‘in(TRACK)suit’ was stirred, a much greater force was at work.

I didn’t want to blog this week, about anything, let alone sport.

To say I have nothing to say would be calling for a Catholic confession (only I have no clue where you find a priest in these parts). Gutted will not be the adjective for description. Reason – Liverpool and Blue Bulls. Subject closed.

Anyway, as I am blogging now, it might as well be about something.  I thought about sharing different glimpses into my life – the splendor of finally finishing studies, no more classes! (Hallelujah!)

No more listening to a bunch of middle-aged creatures, who either read MY textbook TO me, or forget to leave their problem outside my classroom. (Yes! I am done.)

Another idea was the end of our volleyball season (I have been told by fellow volleyball enthusiasts that my page needs to feature this discipline more. A case that is regarded quite sad considering I play the sport and we ended the year in fourth place – our highest ranking since forever).

Then there’s ‘Memoirs of a PR intern’…..

But then I remembered where I’m spending my December holidays.

You see, I am passionate about two things: God and Sport (I confuse the order sometimes) – so will let this blog be about ‘combined passion’. This passion will take me, together with a group of young athletes to the fair beaches of the Western Cape.

From the 6th – 21st December, we are off to Plettenberg Bay on mission (yes, that type of mission). Under the banner of ‘Athletes in Action’, we will be using the medium of sport to tell anyone who will listen about Jesus. Yeah they’ll label us, call us all sorts – even “Jesus Freaks” and all, but it’ll be so epic, hell will boil!

AIA believes there’s one language that sees no cultural barriers, a language understood equally and entirely throughout the universe: the language of sport. Our main codes will be Beach Volleyball, Beach Soccer, Touch Rugby and the Ultimate Frisbee.

Each year a number of boys and girls from different sporting disciplines come together.  Individuals with high/low esteem issues, a bunch of youngsters from different backgrounds, different personalities (that are bound to clash).

Each year we come together – this year 21 male egos meets 12 oestrogen cases and will embark on the journey of their lives. An adventure of a lifetime. For some it will be their first and last; others will see the picturesque Plett pastures once more.

33 wanna-be athletes (who do not necessary like each other) with one common goal: living out Matt 28:19-20, Tell The World (that He lives. He loves. And He’s waiting).

So if you are in Plett around the same time – come say hi – let’s play some Volleyball, or Rugby and if you like, we will introduce you to the Lifeguard that walks on water. Hey, you never know when you might need a little saving.