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Brixit and Stixit:

Johan Roos

Imagine! A brick and a broomstick paving the way to the World Transplant Games: Newcastle on Tyne 2019.

Well, let me share with you something I never thought possible.

Sometime after my heart transplant during 1999, I heard of the South African Transplant Sports Association but did not become a member. There were a few very practical reasons: I am no natural athlete and have never trained as such. I`ve had no experience, nor did I have the required equipment.

Yet, over the years, there was always a nagging thought that I should, in one way or another, fully use the opportunity for the second chance on life, I received.

One day my wife, a teacher, brought home an old broomstick from school. Apparently, a colleague had the habit to slam the stick on her desk to silence the children, irritating and disrupting those in adjoining classrooms. Laura, my wife, decided it’s time for the broomstick to “disappear”.

Looking at a functional broomstick, you see, well – a broom! But looking at the stick, I saw a javelin and an idea was born! On my way to a nearby school sports field, where I decided to practice, I picked up a brick which became my shot put. After a few weeks I became quite skilful with my “sports equipment”. But all things are not equal, and a broomstick and a brick can never be a javelin or shot put.

Then a remarkable thing happened.

A newspaper published a story about my endeavours, and, at that time, an unknown benefactor donated me a real javelin and shot put. This opened the door to a new adventure of my life! Newcastle on Tyne 2019…

What an experience . . .

Newcastle, city of the Geordies, left with me a lasting impression of the friendliness of its people, its historic buildings blended with modern architecture, the neatness of the city and it`s utilization of the River Tyne.

However, it was the Games I will never forget. To me it was the culmination of:

Hard work – the preparation and perseverance of athletes, input of the organisers but specially the volunteers: Team 19 with their red T-shirts deployed over the city to assist visitors to the games.

Pride – to represent my country at such a prestigious occasion.

Tribute – to those who made it possible for me to compete in the spirit of fellowship: My donor, the medical team who operated on me, and the staff who since then provided medical assistance, the people who sponsored me, my family and supporters.

Team spirit, camaraderie and solidarity – my teammates, management, officials and all those involved in the games.

Rivalry – the spirit in which we competed – doing our utmost as individuals but celebrating and sharing the joy of the winners.

Gratitude – towards my coach Zain, sponsors, my wife, my family and SATSA.

Humility – when I stepped onto the winner’s podium for the first time in my life and I held my country’s flag up high, I realised what true humility is. I felt small compared to those with gigantic achievements, so insignificant in the scope of the universe, just a speck in God’s creation.

Ek het geleer: dit gaan nie net oor jouself nie – jy dien ‘n groter doel, jy kan `n inspirasie vir ander wees. Jy kan terselfdertyd trots en nederig voel. En natuurlik – jy is so oud soos jy voel!