In the last week the She Cranes our representatives to the Netball World cup in Sydney have been battling to maintain national pride and they have not disappointed.
Seeded 14th in the world at the beginning of the tournament they made short work of Zambia and 7th ranked Fiji in the preliminary rounds to qualify for the quarter finals.
Wales beat the She Cranes by the barest of margins before African top seeds Malawi fed them their second loss in the tournament, but not before our ambassadors gave them a torrid time, running them from end to end when in possession and hustling them relentlessly when they were off the ball.
By the time of going to press She Cranes had two more matches to play in the qualifying rounds --- an eight team round robin with the top four going to the semi-finals.
It is unlikely they can win over second seeds New Zealand or Fourth seeds Jamaica to make the semis, matches that had not been played by the time of writing ( I would love to be proven wrong on that) but you can rest assured our team will not go down without a fight.
"The She Cranes performance is to be celebrated when seen in the light of the inadequate facilitation they suffered even when it was clear they had qualified for the World Cup. It should be celebrated because these ladies without much fanfare and bombast have gone about their business quietly and with dignified stoicism. It should be celebrated as a testimony to the resilience of the human spirit...
Watching them compete against the best in the world, in unfamiliar circumstances and surroundings there are two lessons that the rest of us will do well to adopt.
To begin with all through their matches the easier first ones or the tougher ones that followed the ladies remained focused, did not get lost in jubilation when they scored or get rattled when the momentum was against them. They were on a mission and everything else was a distraction. Their singular focus on the task at hand ensured they operated as a unit and team cohesion was never compromised.
It’s a well-worn cliché but team work in any endeavour of life is more sustainable and rewarding than the individual flashes of brilliance that can distract from the long term view.
And secondly that life is not fair and there is nothing any of us can do about it but we have responsibility to play whatever cards life deals us to the best of our ability.
"Their journey to the world cup was an odyssey of trial and tribulation...
In the Six Nations Cup in Singapore in 2013 they arrived late, forfeiting their first match as a result but went on to win the remaining the matches to win the tournament. For lack of funds they took a bus to Botswana last year for the World Cup Qualifiers, enduring swollen feet from the journey and playing a whole match without drinking water, they qualified for the sports premier event anyway. As if that was not enough, their training ground was handed over to developers who tore it up and started construction on it. And as the clock ticked away, there was a real fear that the She Cranes would not make the World Cup as our sports authorities dragged their feet on facilitating their preparations or confirming their attendance of the event.
We have made it national past time to be whiners and excuse makers, if there was one group of people who would have been forgiven if they had just rolled over and died instead of suffer for an ungrateful nation, the She Cranes are them.
Regardless of what happens to these young ladies all of whom were born after independence, they have showed us what can be done in our current, less than ideal circumstances.
We need more people like them if these country is to fulfill its true potential.