No one for­gets num­ber one, right? Wrong!

CityPress - - Voices - Dumisane Lubisi voices@city­press.co.za

ACanan­dian ice hockey player’s words “I’m glad I got drafted first, be­cause no one re­mem­bers num­ber two” were in my mind on Mon­day while glued to the small screen. Alexan­dre Daigle ut­tered the words in 1993 af­ter he had been drafted first overall by Ot­tawa Sen­a­tors in the 1993 NHL En­try Draft.

The sen­ti­ments of his words have found res­o­nance in busi­ness or in any race in which the en­tity or per­son emerg­ing first is the one whose name is etched in the his­tory books. And the world will sing the praises of the num­ber one – be­cause that’s what life dic­tates. And this has en­sured that ev­ery­one goes an ex­tra mile to stay on top.

So, back to my story of Mon­day. There I had put aside the nor­mal things I would do on a Mon­day – since it is a day off for us work­ing for a Sun­day pub­li­ca­tion. In front of the tele­vi­sion, I sat with the re­mote in hand. The chan­nel on the TV was on 211 and it would soon be the men’s 100m sprint fi­nals at the Gold Coast Com­mon­wealth Games in Aus­tralia.

Con­sid­ered the cli­max of any ath­letic meet­ing, the men’s 100m sprint was dom­i­nated by Ja­maican Usain Bolt for years un­til his re­tire­ment last year. His coun­try­man Yo­han Blake, known as the beast, was the favourite to win the event and thus see him emerge from Bolt’s shad­ows to be­come his own man.

Judg­ing by the pre­race com­men­tary, Blake was the only REAL sprinter out there; the rest were there only to con­test for the other less at­trac­tive medals.

Once the gun went off, the com­men­ta­tors con­tin­ued to speak about Blake, giv­ing lit­tle at­ten­tion to two young­sters from South Africa – who would blast through the fin­ish­ing line, col­lect­ing gold and sil­ver in the process. And Blake came a dis­ap­point­ing third to get bronze for Ja­maica and fail to be­come the star of the show. But the cam­eras were not in­ter­ested in Akani Sim­bine and Hen­ri­cho Bru­in­tjies. The cam­eras were still on their man, Blake. Any­one who switched on the TV then would eas­ily have been mis­taken for think­ing Blake had won the race – he was the cen­tre of at­ten­tion, af­ter all.

Blake’s dis­ap­point­ing race con­tin­ued to dom­i­nate TV news with Sim­bine and Bru­in­tjies given sec­ondary at­ten­tion for their ster­ling per­for­mances.

The world-view of the out­come of the 100m fi­nals should not de­ter our young men from do­ing bet­ter. This would be their step to even bet­ter per­for­mances and show the world that South Africa – and Africa as a whole – has sprint­ers too. Af­ter all, we should re­mem­ber num­ber one – and not the loser, right?

The cam­eras were not in­ter­ested in Akani Sim­bine and Hen­ri­cho Bru­in­tjies

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