Sunday Thoughts: The Week In Sports
Nicklaus Kruger 24 January 2021
Well, it’s been a week.
There’s been regime change in the place with all the nuclear weapons, and Overlord Zuckerberg has yielded to the will of the people – but no time for dancing in the streets, because the streets are full of cyclones and COVID-19, you know?
So yeah, heck of a week – and keeping up with sport has been the least of your worries.
Well, worry no more – we’re here to help. Every week, we like to round up some of the most interesting sports writings out there – just for you.
Here’s what’s been going down…
Formula One: Women Return To Racing
Women just can’t drive. At least, that’s the stereotype – despite the fact that they’re actually much safer behind the wheel than men are, and you know it. Anyhoo, motor racing is one of the few sports where men and women are allowed to compete on more or less equal terms, and have been for a while.
Despite that, only five women drivers have entered an F1 Grand Prix, and it’s been 40 years since the last time it happened. F1 is a boy’s club, and not enough women are encouraged to enter the talent pipeline at any stage. That’s why the W Series was launched in 2019, an all-female single-seater racing championship to encourage young women to develop and test their skills. Alas, that whole pandemic situation led to the 2020 W Series being cancelled…but it’s back, bigger and better than ever in 2021. And this year there are eight races in partnership with Formula 1, so it’s going to be extra awesome. And hey, even the Americans are getting into the spirit of things, with a women-led team joining the Indy 500. Girl power!
Arts & Culture: Nothing To See Here, Just Move Alog
It’s probably not a surprise to you that, like sport, arts and culture has been hit pretty hard by the pandemic in South Africa (and Africa, and the world). But you know who *was* surprised about that? Sports, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa, who tweeted out that theatre was “alive and well” in South Africa. All good, nothing to see here, move along.
Except actual theatre practitioners weren’t so happy about it – and started a petition to remove him from the job for not doing enough to help the sector during seriously troubled times. Finally seeing the light, the Minister apologised for the tweet, and the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture says it is fast tracking a third phase of relief funding for the industry to alleviate pressure on those hard hit by the ongoing lockdown. But artists are having none of it – too little, too late, you know? Mthethwa is no stranger to creative disagreements, with plenty of creative celebs disagreeing with him most creatively (and vociferously). And he’s recently been declared one of SA’s biggest moegoes and Mampara of the Week by rival media houses. So hey, at least he’s bringing creative folks together…
Cricket: Black Day Against GBV
Gender-based violence is, to say the least, a huge problem – especially in SA, where the president has repeatedly described it (pretty accurately, really) as our other pandemic, and as a war being waged against the women and children of South Africa. And that’s as true in sport as anywhere else, alas.
So to draw attention to the scourge of GBV, and because cricket isn’t exactly immune to GBV, Cricket South Africa and Momentum hosted a “Black Day” game on Saturday 23 January 2021, where Proteas women donned black in support of raising awareness of GBV. The 2021 Black Day game was the second ODI in the Proteas’ three-match ODI series against Pakistan Women – and the SA team emerged with a 13-run triumph, gaining a 2-0 lead in the series (following their excellent performance earlier in the week).
Football Fun: Greatest. Goal. Ever.
Okay, let’s end off with some good news – and from the world’s most popular sport, to boot. Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the greatest the game has ever seen (maybe not the best, but he tries harder). And now that he’s scored his 760th career goal in Juventus’ Italian Super Cup win over Napoli (as some predicted would happen), he just may be the top goal scorer of all time.
Maybe. Turns out it’s really hard to keep track of these things, with Pele and Roario and Josef Bican also in the running, with anywhere from 757 to 1283 goals, depending on how you count (and who you ask). Still, Ronaldo is only 36, so he’s got time…but he’d better keep an eye on Lionel Messi, currently at 719 goals, while he’s at it. Anyhoo, let’s look at a record that’s *not* in dispute: goalkeeper Tom King has scored the (Guinness-certified) longest goal in football history, booting the ball from his own six-yard box 96.01m into the opposition goal net. Awesome. Oh, and Orlando Pirates may not be the best on the field at the moment, but their TikTok dance video went viral. So…good job, guys?
And that’s the week in sport.