The hollowness of desperate defeat feels like it can never be filled.
It’s a hurt of “what ifs”, “if onlys” and “we should haves”, a never-ending repeat of a show you don’t want to watch but can’t look away from in case the ending somehow, if there is any justice in the world for pity’s sake, changes.
But the story of the first semi-final of the Cricket World Cup will remain the same forever, a tale of pain and celebration, of near misses and one magnificent shot, of the tears of a loser and the consoling hand of a victor. It was a game that will be remembered forever for different reasons. Two days later, it still feels unreal.
In the grand manner of feast or famine reporting and supporting, the Proteas have become the champions-elect of the Cricket World Cup, which is good. Seems a lifetime ago since that loss to Pakistan and even longer to the hammering by India.
South Africa did to Sri Lanka what India did to them – they played the perfect match.
The day after they had won their first knockout match in the seven World Cups they have played in, the Proteas scattered all over Sydney in search of surf, sales and solitude.Some went to the beach, Morne Morkel fancied some surfing, others went shopping.
Dale Steyn and David Miller seem to have taken on the role of class jokers. The bowler posted a video on Instagram of Miller walking into an Apple store, approaching an unsuspecting Faf du Plessis.
Just before we steadied ourselves to launch off the start ramp for the prologue of the 2012 Absa Cape Epic at Meerendal, my partner, Jack Stroucken, gave me some last bits of advice: “Don’t fall off the ramp.”
Oh. I hadn’t thought about that. I hadn’t given it the slightest notion. Hell. The prologue was live on the telly. I’d only had the bike I was going to ride for 10 days after it landed in the country to supplier KTM later than I thought it would. It was tall for me. They don’t really make 29ers for small people, they didn’t think of that in the design of the most popular wheel size for the Epic.
The sign outside the Forresters Arms at around 9am on Sunday morning read: “Opening 8:00 Sunday for the group in baggies to toast the firemen. Welcome.” And welcome I certainly did feel as I lugged my bike into the bar and ordered a welcome beer from a barman who had a welcoming smile.
I had done 37km of the revised Cape Town Cycle Tour route of 47km, and had arranged to meet up with mates at Forries for a Cycle Tour Beer Run. Some had already sped past the turn off to Forries in their rush to get back to the superb Tsogo Sun hospitality tent at the end of the race (no names to be mentioned, but Jan Braai was back in time to have a breakfast of an medium rare fillet steak on an English muffin), while others may just have forgotten. The owner of Forries had opened early as a special favour to all thirsty Cycle Tour tourists after friends who knew friends who knew someone who knew the owner had passed on our request.