women + sport = rivalry

From the day I started this page (late last year) I had an ally, one that (not only) faithfully read my post (but) saw them before anybody else – my editor.

You’ve often read posts mentioning my ‘sporting loving boss’. Actually she was not my boss in the very core sense of the word(because she didn’t pay my salary and she’s only two years older than me).

To this day I often wonder how Samantha Robinson and I got along. I guess it is true what they say – sport can unite even people destined for rivalry. (Okay that’s a bit extreme, read her post and you’ll understand). I have finally convinced Sam to be my first guest blogger.

Take it away Sam:

I am a woman and I love sport. I think this has something to do with the fact that I have a grandfather, father and two brothers who are sport mad. I have always been able to give good commentary on most sports (except rugby) and I always find myself gravitating towards the group of men talking about the sporting highlights of the weekend and away from the ladies talking about the shopping highlights of the weekend.

I thought I was alone and that I would always be one of the very few ladies engaged in conversions around EPL standings, the starting line-up for the Proteas and the F1 teams and drivers. And then I met Kate! When she started as my intern we were in separate offices so we didn’t chat much and then I walked into the office one Football Friday in my Chelsea jersey and life at Sabio Communications was never the same again

I must admit we don’t agree on most things sport. I am Chelsea and she is Liverpool (shame poor girl), she supports the Blue Bulls and I support the Cheetahs, she likes the Proteas and well – I don’t! So most of the time, especially Mondays, we are giving each other a good go. The only time we have been on the same sporting page, well sort of anyway, was during the World Cup. We both supported Bafana, we both had a big crush on Diego Forlan and we both admittedly supported Uruguay. We followed each game, whether on TV at home, radio and our computers at the office (before we convinced our boss to get a TV with DSTV) or Twitter. We were at the office together watching the 16h00 games not wanting to go home until we knew the result and we often found ourselves in our boss’ husband office having an in-depth conversation about the games, goals, results and players. It was safe to say we probably knew more than he did. And at the end of the World Cup – on Monday 13 July 2010 we sat at our desks and cried. Seriously. Two girls cried over the fact that the Soccer World Cup was finished. The rest of the office knew not to bring up the subject for at least a week.

Now we have the next big sporting event starting in a few days – the Cricket World Cup. Although Kate is no longer with us (how I miss you!) we will no doubt battle over Twitter, Facebook and BBM. Unlike the Soccer World Cup cricket brings out the worst in both of us. We become fiercely competitive. As mentioned – she is a loyal Proteas supporter (I swear the girl should be made president of the Graeme Smith Fan Club while I could make millions ensuring Kevin Pietersen’s legacy lives on) And I find it a bit difficult to support our boys. I have tried, trust me I have tried but I struggle. Throughout the series against India I found myself gravitating towards the Indian team. But in the final ODI against India where the series was tied I woke up thinking I will support the Proteas, I will dig deep inside of me and support them until the very end. I thought that this will be a good attitude change leading up to the World Cup. But as with the other games after a few a few over’s I could already feel myself siding with India. And this was when I admitted to myself that I had a soft spot for this Indian team (or any other team name that plays against SA) especially MS Dhoni (or any hot captain’s/player that plays against SA). Being a non-SA supporter I get a lot of flack, as you can imagine, especially from Kate and our friend on Twitter, Mel. Even Sias du Plessis from 5fm has commented on my ability to “stir”. I doubt this will cool down over the next month or so. My team for the World Cup will be England and seeing that they are not too far from being completely South African it is not such a bad thing hey? I have also decided that my other two teams will be India and believe it or not – South Africa (if they don’t play against England or India or my next soft spot team).

So as the World Cup nears, whether you support SA, England, India and dare we say Australia, enjoy it and remember there is nothing wrong with some healthy competition. (Go England whip those South Africans on 06 March)



Author: Samantha Robinson – Account Director at Sabio Communications

the right time

Timing IS everything. There’s a time for everything, and every season has a reason. My pastor taught me – there’s time to be born a time to die; a time to plant and uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal; a time to weep and a time to build; a time to search and time to give up, etc. When asked for my Currie Cup predictions this past weekend, particularly which players will be avoiding eye contact with their fans, at Loftus Stadium, “without a doubt the Bulls will win”, was my immediate response.

Its no secret, that born and bred in the Eastern Cape as I am, I fly the Bulls flag every season and in between.

Yes, the Afrikaaners joint. Where flabby bellies, long blond hair and beers complete the design are where my loyalties lie (Give me a break! – The Border Bulldogs are not doing anything to change that. Might be a bit late for EP Kings).

This affair began in 2003 during a Currie Cup season (as a matter of fact). My cousin and I were watching a Sharks and Bulls game, and neither of us had a team (you could say we were holding onto the Bulldogs dream).

Anything blue in my eyes would go at the time and I’ve always been one for underdogs (well…). The Sharks tried first, immediately recruiting my cousin, compelling me to take the Bulls (who lost that game) and I have never looked back.

My (what some call blind) faith with Frans Ludeke’s men is mainly influenced by timing. Throughout the years I’ve learnt to accept Bulls and their structure that confuses me at times.

This is a team that has painted tears of joy and other kind (a time to cry and a time to laugh). I’ve endured endless chirps for this team as much as I have for Liverpool, I’ve sat alone in a house full Stormers, Sharks, Cheetahs and Lions supporter, but my love for this team has yet to waver.

The Sharks have been called the lesser evil, I’ve seen Cheetahs supporters take a Stormers corner before my beloved cows (courtesy of a Yanky friend), but I’m yet to shift (I have threatened to hang my Reds jersey – once, but not my Bulls’).

Why? – Timing! The Blue Bulls have mastered the art of timing. You can always count on the Pretoria side to win that crucial and oh-so-imperative-game. Last week was exactly that. The Do-or-Die. An obligatory event; one that demanded (along with the stands) a victory, when nothing less would do.

Why? – Timing. Which is more than I can say about Siyabonga Nomvete, who missed a penalty that ultimately handed Orlando Pirates millions of Rands. Eight millions to be exact. It seems Bhele is following Gyan’s footsteps, only he doesn’t have most of Africa in tears with him.

Timing Bhele. Timing.

as it were

Let’s face it – Sport as we know it is gone. The love we have for the game is tainted by so many reactions and choices from individuals we’ve idolised.

What’s with our soccer heroes gracing the pages of Rolling Stones more than Brangelina or our political leaders crippling the motivation to fill up Rugby stadiums? Yeah, sport as we’d like to remember is dead and buried.

Be it as it may, we still take our vuvuzela’s, brace the cold and give the ‘Ultimate Fan’ thing a go. Superbru is sky-rocking. Hell, Vodacom is still making as much money out ‘Player 23’ as with BlackBerry contracts.

Yes, we put aside the grating political influence, proudly put our replicas on and chirp the next person for not supporting same team. No one knows this better than me and my sport loving boss, who celebrates Football Fridays in blue, with a big Chelsea grin, while I (and the rest of her family) insolently proclaim ‘This is Anfield: I Will Never Walk Alone’.

And when we return to the office on a Monday conversations begin with Cheetahs vs Bulls. Yes we bury the hatches, forget Tiger’s infidelity, and stand oblivious to Micheal Phelps, Marianne Jones’ or even Bakkies’ stupidity.

We swear at government for their meddling, scream our lungs out at having to wave goodbye to the Super 14 only for a (long) while and will eventually forgive the Boks for their poor Tri-Nations campaign, because as exasperated as we may be by these, at the back of our supporting mind, the game is still as it should be. At least would be.

That is more than I can say for cricket, however.

The most popular game in the Eastern and Western Cape. A discipline that sees 7/10 Indian or Pakistan households fed is forever lost. Its credibility belongs only to the History Channel.

A land where 666666’s are the miracles of the game; The splendour of hat-tricks. A museum of super-overs. Sheer sanctuary of clashes between giants like SA, Australia, Pakistan, India or England that guarantee a spectacular heartache, but money’s worth for the avid lover of the game.

A history of unsung heroes ordained by roars of crowds with what seems to be more passion than from the ones in batting helmets. Yeah. That era has ceased with a vinyl and in its place are carbon copies of broken cd’s worth the bottom of a street kid’s shoe.

While some parts of the world have joined SA for the exciting Airtel Champions T20, trouble began to brew in England, who is busy with a series against Pakistan.

The series has produced allegations of match fixing by now suspended Pakistanis. Last week a cloud began to descend upon the English when injury-prone Andrew Flintoff hung his bat up for good.

This week assembled an even greater distress, when reports that they (England) are not above match-fixing. Of course this sent Andrew Strauss and his cronies over the edge.

However, we in SA know a thing or two about smokes and fires. Whether the allegations are legit or just that, allegations is another blog, but what this means is the series is now farce that needs to be scrapped.

Cricket is not cricket but rather a massacre of greed and lies killing dreams of many around the world. Hansie Cronje (R.I.P), it seems planted a seed that is growing like unwanted weed, producing a generation that has undermined the value of the game, paving a way for endless uncertainties.

Will we ever grace cricket stadia without questioning the legitimacy of the game? Will the great Tendukar be above our scrutiny? Is Rusty Theron’s great bowling a result of his form or a lost bet?

Can Shahid Khan Afridi reach a century and claim a MOM award without raising an eyebrow? Will James Anderson ever be allowed to have a ‘bad’ game? God forbid Mark Boucher misses a run-out.

May the Great Almighty have mercy on Graeme Smith in 2011, for we will raise more than a flick of an eyebrow should the Proteas emulate the Boks’ Tri-Nations Campaign.