In all honesty, if it were up to me, I wouldn’t be writing.

Instead, I’d be a centre-back for Chelsea and the heir to club captain John Terry. However, there is the small matter of me being absolutely rubbish at football – and all of the other sports I’ve tried.

Through writing, I found another way into the sporting industry – which was the motivation behind deciding to make it a full-time job.

I may not be a great athlete, but I do consider myself a more than competent writer. Competing with other sports journalists gives me a feeling that is as close as I’m ever going to get to the buzz of running onto the field in front of a packed Stamford Bridge audience.

The two biggest influences in my writing career have not been writers, but schoolteachers. Charmaine Eslick was the first English teacher I had who truly believed I was a great writer. Were it not for her telling me as much and giving me marks I probably didn’t deserve in Grade 9 English, I may never have found the self-confidence required to truly enjoy writing.

However, as explained in my previous blog post, “I’m just a fat kid. What do I know about sport?”, the most important influence in my career has been Riaan van de Rheede. He started my sporting career off by insisting that I join my school’s mini-cricket team in Grade 2. The rest, as they say, is history.

It was through cricket that my love for sport was sparked, and had that not happened, everything would be different. Playing sport helped me deal with my weight problems and my insecurities. It helped me forge a connection with my father that I otherwise might never have had.  I owe this to Riaan for taking the time to convince me to try out something new, even though he knew I would never be his star player.

chelsea oppi
With fellow sports writers Ntuthuko Mlondo and Gabi Bellairs-Lombard at the 2015 Oppidan Press Annual General Meeting. Naturally, I was wearing my Chelsea shirt.

Through Chelsea Football Club, I learned about love. I learned that it can work over distance. When my favourite footballer of all time, Frank Lampard, left for Manchester City, I learned that sometimes it has to end and we have no choice but to cherish the memories it leaves us. When we won the Champions League in Munich, I learned that if you have faith, love really does pay off.

These are my stories, but everyone has their own associations with sport. As a competent writer, I have the duty to find the words to tell as many as I can from various different perspectives. That is what this blog is for.

I write so I can tell stories about sport. I may never be able to write my own on the pitch, but I am determined to live long in the memory of sports fans around the world – no matter how many sleepless nights it takes.

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