It’s like 1995/1996 again – why?

Posted: June 13, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

So the euphoria of the opening of the World Cup and the thrill of the first match has passed, though the excitement around the tournament is as palpable as ever. Friends are posting photographs of the mass gatherings that were held to view the game against Mexico and images of crowds across the country united in their support of our team are still vividly fresh. All of our divisions forgotten, we’ve been completely united in our efforts to make this thing happen and to cheer on 11 representatives of our country to achieve what seemed impossible.

It’s not the first time that we’ve experienced these things as a country – as so many have pointed out, the unity and euphoria that swept the country when we won the Rugby World Cup in 1995 or the African Cup of Nations in 1996 was very similar. As fantastic as it is to be part of it, I can’t help but wonder what it is about these events that pulls us together as a nation, that makes us individually fiercely proud to be together and identify with something that we ordinarily may not give a lot of attention. I can’t claim to be any kind of soccer expert, but over the last few days I’ve been as passionate as any ardent Man U supporter usually is!

Best I can figure it, I think it’s the inadvertent commitment to something bigger than ourselves that pulls us together. The fact that it’s often sport in this outdoor, contest-driven country is really just reflects a convenient vehicle for the commitment: I’ve often thought over the last few days that much of what we’re experiencing now also feels similar to what happened with the first democratic elections in 1994. I see it as a fundamental principle of life that we can be and achieve our best only when we act in accordance with the basic truth that it’s not about us, and that’s what’s happening now. When you give your wholehearted support to a team on the field that you’re not physically part of, you just can’t make it about yourself: when everyone does that, we put aside a focus on ourselves and replace it with a common effort of something better that we want to achieve. We look to things that unite us, not things that divide us – and see what the outcome is!

I don’t know how long this togetherness will last – though I remember it lingering longer in the past than I thought it would – but I treasure it right now. If only we could retain a common vision that we can all commit to, through whatever tough times lie ahead of us. Maybe we need to host a major sporting event ever year to remind us of what we can achieve and what we can be…

But I guess I could be off the mark in my assessment – maybe it’s only when our attention is diverted onto something shallow (forgive me, soccer supporters!) that we put real differences aside. What do you think, and what’s your SWC experience been like?

  1. Leebabe says:

    Absolutely awesome! I don’t think any other nation that’s hosted the world cup has provided such a unique experience and shown such fantastic warmth and spirit, Viva Africa, Viva

  2. peta-ann essex-nel says:

    Steve, this is the most comprehensive analysis of how united we really are. Just what other than a sporting event can make it so?

    Viva South Africa Viva!

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