As high performance manager of the world-beating South African Sevens Rugby team, the Blitzbokke, and having played for them for 10 years, Marius Schoeman knows a bit about finding and developing sporting talent.
Who better then to lend his name to a school sports festival aimed at giving talented youngsters the opportunity to compete and showcase their talents in the presence of provincial and national scouts and coaches?
“It’s a great honour, but also a bit embarrassing,” Marius laughs, about the name of the Marius Schoeman Sports Festival - considered to be one of the largest schoolboy sevens rugby festivals in the world - now in its third year and hosted annually at his alma mater Paarl Gymnasium. Approached by Jean Stemmet, Paarl Gym’s Marketing Manager, it took a bit of convincing but once they’d agree on the end goal of the event and the outcomes they wanted to achieve, the project gained momentum.
The event has grown exponentially, and this year’s Sevens rugby format was expanded to include short formats of other codes - Fast-5 Netball and Fast-5 Hockey. This meant girls could take part for the first time, and it was a great success.
The Sevens rugby featured 50 schools and 72 teams; 24 schools entered 48 teams in the Fast-Five Netball and Fast-Five Hockey; totalling nearly 1 500 participants.
“The plan has always been to include Sevens rugby for girls and this will probably happen next year. We included girls in the Fast-5 formats this year and the feedback was great, so this competition will expand,” says Marius.
Marius’ own story parallels the lives of many of the Be the Difference players who are growing up in single parent households where there isn’t enough to go around and daily meals are not guaranteed. He picks up the story.
“I lost my father when I was six, in a family tragedy, so we were brought up by my mom. We had very little, lived in a small rented house and had to rely on the kindness of strangers for school fees. My mother gave everything she had for my sake. Dinner was often a slice of bread with butter and sugar, and I remember wearing size 8 hand-me-down shoes until they fell apart… even though I was already a size 9! But looking back, I appreciate my past because it shaped who I am and how I view the world.”
Today, he lives by a simple philosophy, having been afforded many chances in his life and career thus far. “Every day I see how opportunities like the ones I’d been given can literally change a life; I want to be that person who contributes – even in the smallest way – to making change happen wherever I might have some influence.”
The event has raised sufficient funds to send two disadvantaged players to Paarl Gimnasium, in the past two years. Kyle Smith and Immanual Prinsloo, both of Lochnerhof Primary in Strand, will be attending Paarl Gimnasium, based on outstanding performances in the u-12 rugby tournament.
An u-17 invitational development team took to the field for the first time this year in the shape of the Amdec Blitz, funded by and named after the Amdec Group, main sponsors of the tournament for the second year running.
The squad is drawn from Be the Difference foundation, which helps children from areas in the Western Cape ravaged by drugs, gangsterism and violence, by uplifting them through sport, nutrition, education and social programmes.
The Amdec Blitz team is coached by professional players: Springbok Sevens Academy coach and former Blitzbok, Sandile “Stix” Ngcobo, Stormers and Western Province players Craig Barry and Brandon Valentyn, and Bernardo Botha, a former Blitzbok and Boland player.
Stuur jou mening van 300 woorde of minder na MyStem@netwerk24.com en ons sal dit vir publikasie oorweeg. Onthou om jou naam en van, ‘n kop-en-skouers foto en jou dorp of stad in te sluit.
Netwerk24 ondersteun ‘n intelligente, oop gesprek en waardeer sinvolle bydraes deur ons lesers. Lewer hier kommentaar wat relevant is tot die onderwerp van die artikel. Jou mening is vir ons belangrik en kan verdere menings of ondersoeke stimuleer. Geldige kritiek en meningsverskille is aanvaarbaar, maar hierdie is nie ‘n platform vir haatspraak of persoonlike aanvalle nie. Kommentaar wat irrelevant, onnodig aggressief of beledigend is, sal verwyder word. Lees ons volledige kommentaarbeleid
Murray La Vita is 'n bekroonde rubriekskrywer en profielskrywer vir Netwerk24.
Hanlie Retief is 'n bekroonde skrywer en aanbieder van 'n Halfuur met Hanlie op Via.
Blouwillem is 'n voorheen bevoordeelde, tans geseënde middeljarige man.
Waldimar Pelser is redakteur van Rapport en aanbieder van 'In Gesprek' op kykNET.
Henry Jeffreys is 'n politieke kommentator en voormalige redakteur van Die Burger.
Johann Maarman is eindredakteur by Die Burger en 'n bekroonde rubriekskrywer.
Nathan Trantraal is 'n strokiesprentkunstenaar en digter van Kaapstad.
Leopold Scholtz is 'n vryskutjoernalis en politieke kommentator.
Barnard Beukman is die redakteur van Beeld.
Gert Coetzee is redakteur van Volksblad.
Herman Lategan is 'n skrywer wie se rubrieke in 'Binnekring van Spookasems' gebundel is.
Sonja Loots is 'n dosent aan die Universiteit van Kaapstad en bekroonde outeur.
Sarel van der Walt is 'n joernalis vir Netwerk24 en 'n voormalige Londen-korrespondent vir Media24.
Charles Smith is Netwerk24 se nuusredakteur in Bloemfontein.
Hallo, jy moet ingeteken wees of registreer om artikels te lees.