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5 stages of being a Proteas fan

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South_Africa_ODI_T20_CricketIt’s almost that time again. Oh yes, Cricket World Cup time!

Say what you want about the various formats of the game, and this obsession to constantly make things shorter and ‘more engaging for new audiences’, but the grand old 50-over tournament still holds a special place in my heart.

Which is odd, of course, as I am South African. So that means that every four years I have a near emotional breakdown as my beloved team promises so much, yet delivers so little.

All things are pointing to the same happening again with my team this time round too. So as preemptive therapy/catharsis, I thought I would explain to you the five stages of being a Proteas fan come World Cup time.

1: Pre-squad announcement hype

The Proteas have never been World Cup champions, but the ‘best team in the world’ in between tournaments they certainly have! Of course that means nothing, as it is mostly subjective, but with loads of individual talents and a stellar win/loss ratio, they often look the real deal.

If you look at their recent form in ODIs the same applies right now. They have won 15 of their last 20 ODIs, which includes away series wins in Sri Lanka and Australia, and strong performances at home against Pakistan and Sri Lanka again.

With these results, the fans believe there is talent to burn in a variety of positions, and they would be right of course. So many different World Cup squad variations are discussed and when the squad is eventually confirmed, many fascinate over the on paper quality of the players who get left at home.

Mood: Jubilant

2: Pre-tournament hope

The squad announced, the cynical nature of the fans comes out to counter the initial jubilant mood. The scar tissue from previous tournaments is still there after all. But a couple of press conferences later the captain and coach talk about learning from past mistakes, and playing to their strengths and squad depth, brings things back to a good place.

Other teams’s squads and recent form is then taken into consideration, with the resounding takeaway that the Proteas have as good a chance as anyone of winning this thing.

But the temptation to get ahead of ourselves is managed as we don’t want to come across as overconfident. Again.

Mood: Quietly confident

3: Early tournament belief

Into the tournament we go. The team starts okay, then gets a good win, then absolutely dazzles against an average team and suddenly everyone is talking about the uncontainable firepower the Proteas have with both bat and ball.

“They have all bases covered.”
“<insert name> is on track to be player of the tournament.”
“You have to think that this is the tournament they finally get it right.”

Mood: We’re winning the World Cup!!!

4: It can’t be happening again

Into the crunch game, the must win situation where just one team stands between them and the all-important next step towards glory. No biggy, we’ve beaten them before both home and away, we are stronger than them on paper too.

We can do this!

The rain clouds gather, Faf Du Plessis is involved in a run out, yorkers become half volleys, heart rates go into the red, TVs across the country brace for impact and/or loud shouting…

“It’s happening again!”
"Wait, we still have a chance…”
“FFF##&&&KKKKKKK!!!!”

Mood: Utter disbelief and lack of feeling in the legs.

5: I’m never watching these guys ever again

The team members are lambasted. Players that were roundly approved of pre-tournament must now retire/not come home. The coach has no idea what he’s doing, your <insert family member> could have made that catch…

All the fans saying they simply lost to a better team on the day are then abused by the fans that say they are just chokers. The players apologise, some tears are shed, administrators/politicians say people should still be proud of the team as they ‘did their best’.

Mood: I don’t even like cricket anyway.

South Africa are to play the opening game of the tournament against England on May 30.

I simply cannot wait!



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Ben Karpinski is a South African sports blogger/MC/tweeter with a heart so broken by the Proteas, t...

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