Personal Account: Ilse Langhout

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Sport has been
a part of my life forever. Since the time my dad built me my first sailing
boat, Boemsie, when I was just 5
years old… I could hardly see over the sides!

20070901PAIlseLanghout2.jpgFrom then on,
weekends were always reserved for sport. Every Saturday, 12h30, the car would
be packed and we would be off to sail training or racing.

I don’t know
if my parents realize what a great influence this has had on me in later years.
I’ve tried to stay active ever since, participating in various school sports
growing up.

I didn’t do
too badly, being awarded Most Valuable Player on the senior softball team while
I was only in grade 10, obtai
ning provincial colors in athletics and karate,
and even representing South Africa
at the European Optimist Championships (sailing) in Northern Ireland in 1992.

After a year
of chasing naughty kids in the USA,
I started studying at the University
of Stellenbosch. Again, I
threw myself at any sport my residence needed me to participate in.

That’s how I
got involved in cricket. During a campus six-a-side tournament I was approached
to play for the Maties Women’s Cricket side. I’ve always been an avid cricket
supporter, and backyard player with my brothers and their friends.

I was very
excited to play in a real cricket match, as I never even knew Women’s Cricket
existed. I still remember my first game, fielding from 3rd man to 3rd
man, covering the wicketkeeper and scoring a duck! I didn’t mind, it was just
great to be on the field.

While at
university, I also started playing soccer for the Maties Women’s Soccer team.
Even though I started as goalkeeper, a broken finger forced me to play forward,
and I made the position my own.

Unfortunately,
a serious knee injury halted my playing career and I ended my soccer career on
91 goals in 81 matches. For the past 2 seasons I’ve really enjoyed passing on
my knowledge in my new role as assistant coach.

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My parents
were always involved in the administration of sport, and I guess the genes were
passed on. Soon after being selected to play for Boland, I was asked to become
involved in the administration on a voluntary basis.

Currently I’m
vice-chairperson of the Boland Women’s Cricket Association and am the
representative at the Cricket South Africa – Women’s Committee General Council.

I’ve not
looked back since and thoroughly enjoy it. I’m very passionate about marketing
and promoting the game to everyone. This stems from the fact that I was totally
unaware that the sport existed.

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There are
still ignorant people who won’t believe that women play on exactly the same
fields as the men and that the only difference is the size of the cricket ball.

When I was
invited to the gsport … for Girls! awards and birthday bash, I was extremely
excited. I was looking forward to the opportunity to meet some great South
African female role models and learn from their experiences.

I was totally
caught off guard when I received the award for Volunteer of the Year. I feel
honored that my efforts have been recognized, but that has never been the
reason why I’ve become involved in sport in the first place. It’s a passion!

Sport has had
a great impact on my life. From being able to see different parts of the
country and the world, to meeting new people and making friends with people
from different backgrounds and cultures.

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It has taught
me a great deal as well; things that I use both in my personal and professional
life (financial officer for a commercial development company). For example, it
has given me self believe in my own abilities, and also how to get through
tough times when things don’t go well.

I would
definitely encourage children, especially young girls, to get involved in sport
at an early age and therefore I am planning, in conjunction with Van der Stel
Cricket Club and the Boland Women’s Cricket Association, to start organising
coaching clinics for girls at the local Stellenbosch schools.

I will
definitely not rest until the profile of Women’s Cricket has improved
dramatically!

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About the Author:

Kass Naidoo

Kass Naidoo

Passionate sports broadcaster and founder of gsport4girls

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