Zululand Observer - Weekender

Bring on the fresh and new sporting heroes

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LIKE many South Africans, I was glued to my TV set on Saturday as the Proteas succumbed to a narrow 55-53 loss against perpetual champions Australia (well, they were until the final) in the Netball World Cup.

After the game, the thought struck me that what made the game so exciting wasn’t just that our girls fought with such courage, skill and passion.

And it wasn’t just the fact that they have come a long way since the days when they were regularly whipped by the top sides.

I believe it was because we were watching wearers of the green and gold competing in something other than rugby, soccer and cricket.

How refreshing it was to change the diet.

Don’t get me wrong; I love those sports, but year in and year out we have been viewing them winning (sometimes) and losing (too often).

Swimming and athletics are also regular fare, as is golf, and we have more than our fair share of success in these sports.

Why did we all get so excited about the performanc­e of the Proteas’ netball team? ZO Editor DAVE SAVIDES gives his opinion

We also get a good dose of motor racing, which is extremely exciting – especially on the first corner when there is inevitably a spectacula­r crash.

Cycling is fine, but pretty predictabl­e, and I always feel sorry for the guy who has to do the victory lap after the Tour de France.

Squash, I’m afraid, is not well suited to TV, even if they do use glass walls.

Also quite entertaini­ng is live darts – surely the only sport at which you can gain weight while playing.

I have found myself more and more searching the sport channels for something different, and I’ve discovered that the best entertainm­ent is in the so-called minor sports.

The danger level and risk of death is, morbidly, one of the attraction­s of some sports.

Take the Red Bull cliff diving events, for example, where those maniacs launch gracefully off mountains and plunge hundreds of metres into shallow water.

And what about the Red Bull aerobatics champs, where the pilots perform unbelievab­le manoeuvres at incredible G-forces?

By the way, you won’t find any red bull champions at Estina.

On a serious note, it’s sad to see that some sports which at one stage thrived in Zululand, have either folded or gone under the radar.

We once had a wonderful softball league, as well as competitiv­e table tennis and badminton.

We need to revive these and introduce other ‘minor’ sports locally, to give our youths the best possible options.

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