Our sports stars are again there when we need them most
The Times Editorial: For all those who think sport is a frivolous activity reserved for flannelled fools and muddied oafs, we have just a few words: Hashim Amla & The Proteas, and Ernie Els & The Open.
At a time of gloom, especially in the wake of the global financial crisis; despondency over our national leadership, and the all-round bickering among those who should be providing good examples to the rest of us, sport has a way of uplifting the nation. Seldom more so than this week.
For our cricket team to win where they have never done so before - after 13 times of trying in more than 100 years - is worthy of a huge celebration. The result alone was deserving of a party: it was achieved against the strongest team in the world.
It turned out to be much more: a century for Graeme Smith playing in his 100th test match; Jacques Kallis scoring a massive 182 that was still not the highest individual score of the game, and the personal pinnacle of that 311 not out by Amla, the first South African batsman to make a triple century in more than 100 years of test cricket.
Such a line-up would have been enough to sustain a nation in despair for a few weeks, perhaps even months.
Then, on top of it all, comes a middle-aged man who wins one of golf's great events, The Open (or plain British Open to the rest of us). On Sunday Els, at the age of 42, became the oldest South African to win one of golf's majors.
Many would like to believe we have used up all our sporting good fortune for at least the next few months, but we'd really like a bit more.
The Olympic Games start officially on Friday. But in reality they, for us, begin tonight with Banyana Banyana's match against Sweden.
If only a smidgen of that magic from the Oval or Lytham St Annes (the scene of Els's triumph) rubs off on our Olympians, we can keep the - figurative - party going and continue to feel good about ourselves.