CAPE TOWN – Sport can inspire us to be better people.
Our spirits soar when our teams win. The happiness we feel in our hearts and our chests often makes us kinder to those around us.
Sport fills us with a sense of wonder when we see great feats of endurance, speed or skill. It gives us the determination and courage to go out and push ourselves on the fields of play.
And sometimes sport can make us step back from the hurly burly of daily life and appreciate just how fortunate we are. Like the stories of Mariska Venter and Lee Duck-Hee.
This week, on our sports pages, we carried a story on University of Pretoria’s wheelchair tennis player, Venter, whose passion is to represent South Africa at next year’s Paralympic Games in Tokyo. Last week, she notched up one of the best results of her career when she beat world No 14 Florencia Moreno in the Belgium Open.
Venter said: “The moment I get onto the court, I feel like an athlete, I feel free from the limitations I have. Tennis taught me that my wheelchair is not the reason for my limits, but my mind is. I don’t believe in limits. If anyone ever tells me I can’t do it, I work hard to prove them wrong.”
We also carried the story of Lee becoming the first deaf player to win an ATP main match.
Lee cannot hear calls from the line judges or the umpire and relies on signals and gestures for the information.
Lee said: “People made fun of me for my disability. It has definitely been difficult, but my friends and family helped me get through. My message for people who are hearing impaired is to not be discouraged. If you try hard, you can do anything.”
Two powerful reminders to all of us that we should treasure the gifts we have been given each day.