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I'm an enthusiastic supporter of the U.S. World Cup soccer team because: A. It's my country after all, my homies; and B. It's always fun to root for the underdog. The U.S. dominates in so many sports, but in world soccer it has almost no impact at all. That gives the current squad - which qualified for a 2010 World Cup berth on Saturday - an aura of rebellion, like they've got the potential to upset the natural order of things. I like that.
If you happened to be in the historic town of George in South Africa’s Western Cape last weekend, you’d have seen an extraordinary sight. At 8.15am on Valentine’s Day, 625 competitors were lined up at the start of the world’s biggest, brightest wheelchair race: the Outeniqua Wheelchair Challenge.
Buggies, tricycles, adapted bicycles mingled with sleek racing wheelchairs and hand cycles. South African Paralympic hero and world record holder Ernst van Dyk prepared himself for the marathon alongside athletes who had traveled from France, Namibia and Zimbabwe and all over the country to attend.
On the other side of the partition were a motley collection of participants in the fun race – from disabled 2-year-old babies to a 95-year-old granny in a buggy. It was both bizarre and wonderful.
Bizarre because South Africa is not generally known as a pioneer in promoting disability rights. That may be changing.