I climbed off a plane this evening and made my way through OR Tambo to my car. It felt different. There was a proliferation of green – abnormal numbers crowded around Totalsports and the Bok supporters booth snatching up the last jerseys, flags, scarves and even socks. I couldn’t stop smiling.

Once home I kissed my boy goodnight, had a hot bath and made straight for my cupboard. I was shaking with anticipation. I knew exactly where to look.

My jersey, my country

When I wear my jersey I feel like I’m 7 ft tall. I feel like I could go out there tomorrow and make those crushing tackles better than Schalk himself. I start believing again in all the good things that life drums out of you. Tonight, I’ll go to sleep staring at my jersey like a kid stares at the wrapped gifts under a tree on Christmas eve. I simply can’t wait. And I’m not the only person…

Otter garden decoration

Thanks to Thomas for pointing out to me how his boet is adding just a little more to the magic 🙂 It’s good to be South African.

Still, I get a little paranoid at times like this in anticipation of (forgive me for this) what would happen if we lost. Fans will throw toys, people will need to be blamed, fired and flamed. You disagree? The cricketers won all their T20 matches in a row, lost on that counted and everyone is calling for Graeme and Mickey’s heads. Sure, I’m not comparing Jake to Mickey – different leagues – but you know as well as I do how fickle frikkin’ fans are.

So, here’s what I want to say. I pledge allegiance, regardless. I pledge allegiance if they win, I pledge allegiance if they lose. Either way I’ll be at the airport cheering like a maniac when they come home. I pledge allegiance despite the politics, despite the power-mongering and despite the desire-to-kill-the-Springbok-logo-sentiments. I pledge allegiance whether we field a team on merit or on colour. I pledge allegiance when all our good players start leaving for abroad.

I pledge allegiance because it’s when you and I give up on that which we hold dear that it doesn’t really matter anymore. Kinda like Morpheus and the Matrix prophecy. Yes, Francois Steyn is The One.

Promise me you’ll believe regardless of what happens. In a country where we have plenty to be sad about, let us commit to that which we can be glad about. Regardless.

I look forward to hearing your screams of joy all the way in Benoni tomorrow 🙂