Umpiring- “A privilege that gave me a second chance in life”
by Andria de Lange
There is a saying that goes, “You never truly appreciate something until you no longer have it.” Most people hear it, but few really listen. The true beauty of life lies in the essence of it being a gift. A gift all is given, but few truly embrace and cherish. I learned this the hard way, day, but I am grateful for the chance to still have this gift, embracing it on the court and through the grace of my Heavenly Father.
My dad used to say that I was running before I even had the chance to crawl. I participated in athletics, biathlon, swimming, tennis, and, of course, netball from a very early age. Sport has always been in my blood and I trained extremely hard, pushed myself to the maximum limit and got the results that I longed for. I was so focused on perfecting every aspect of my training, but an illness brought my entire world to pieces. I was diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa and suddenly I was no longer the girl on court or sliding over hurdles- I was strength less, lifeless and hopeless. For two years, I was a living skeleton with no ray of sunshine glimpsing through the dark clouds.
God, however, still had a journey planned for me. My determination to be back on court and being able to give my absolute best, a characteristic given to me by my Father, guided me on my path of healing. It was a long and painful journey, but He gave me a second chance to embrace this beautiful gift we call life.
Through this, I started to umpire and today, I am a South African C+ graded umpire. I am working extremely hard to achieve my B grading and I have the ideal to, one day, with wonderful mentoring from people like Annie Kloppers, Anso Kemp and Freda Kemp, achieve my International grading. Umpiring, however, is not about achievements for me. This is my passion and I love every second of it. It gives me the opportunity to be a living testimony each day and to inspire others to also embrace the gift they have been given. I see it as an absolute privilege and I am truly humbled by every experience on court. In His unfailing love, God stands with me each day on court, granting me the gift of life through umpiring- and I am truly thankful.