Proteas women’s success inspiring girls to take up cricket
The future looks bright for SA's women's team; people are starting to stand up and notice them, which is fantastic news.
The Proteas women’s cricket team, who’re winning on the field, and gaining followers off it, are inspiring young girls to consider cricket as their preferred sporting choice. Picture: Darren Stewart/Gallo Images
Covid-19 and almost a year of lockdown has claimed many victims. Families have suffered, many businesses have closed their doors, and people generally struggle to keep up with the demands of life each day. We've all been so caught up in trying to put our best foot forward daily that we have forgotten about the toll it has taken on our children. Overnight they had to adjust the way they live their lives, and not just from an education point of view. One such aspect that has hit hard is school sport – such an important part of a child's…
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Covid-19 and almost a year of lockdown has claimed many victims.
Families have suffered, many businesses have closed their doors, and people generally struggle to keep up with the demands of life each day.
We’ve all been so caught up in trying to put our best foot forward daily that we have forgotten about the toll it has taken on our children. Overnight they had to adjust the way they live their lives, and not just from an education point of view.
One such aspect that has hit hard is school sport – such an important part of a child’s schooling, no matter what level of participation.
Youth sport is important for so many reasons – it teaches discipline, teamwork, helps with confidence and development, and provides an escape from the daily pressures.
Last year was a bad year for school sport and children keen to impress at nationals sports weeks, like rugby’s Craven Week and cricket’s Khaya Majola Week, weren’t able to.
Pupils in their last year of school didn’t have the chance to run out for their first teams – war cries chanting in the background; school sport essentially ground to a halt.
Joseph Lye of the Lions U-18 team in action against the Cheetahs at the 2019 Craven Week in Bloemfontein. Picture: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images
It’s promising that schools have found ways to avoid a repeat in 2021, setting up inter-school matches where they can, with an eye on adhering to Covid protocols.
With this in mind, I was delighted when my grade eight daughter jumped at the chance to return to the sporting fields this year.
Her choice of sport in the first term of her high school career? Cricket – not her usual swimming or cross country. Yes, cricket.
I say it’s unexpected, not because she is a girl, but more that she has never shown any interest in the sport, despite my love for the game.
Other than attending the odd match at the Wanderers, she’s never shown the inclination to pick up a cricket bat or have a bowl during a weekend backyard cricket game around the braai, despite having a younger brother that plays here and there.
The cricket bug has bit. Each day I’m greeted with “come throw some balls to me in the garden”, or “help me with my bowling action” when she gets home from school late afternoon.
I absolutely love it. My daughter’s keen interest to take up the game is testament to the wonderful work the national women’s team are carrying out on the global stage.
Just over a year ago, the Proteas narrowly lost to eventual champions Australia in the semifinals of the T20 World Cup Down Under. It was an unexpected result. They weren’t meant to make the last four.
This last week they recorded an impressive 4-1 series win over hosts India in a One-Day International series.
The future looks bright for them. People are starting to stand up and notice women’s cricket, which is fantastic news.
After their success this last week there were many suggesting they should teach the national men’s team how to win on the sub-continent. Fair enough comment given the men’s team’s struggles, but that misses the point.
The national women’s team, like my daughter, are on their own path.
It’s time they are allowed to follow their dreams – outside the shadow of men’s sport – and have fun doing it.
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