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Gavin Sharples
 
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Balls!

11 September 2012, 15:27

I just love people with balls - don't you? You know the people I mean, the ones that stand up, step forward and speak out. Don't you just love them?

I will never forget the first time I heard Larry Ellison, the co-founder and CEO of the Oracle Corporation, speak. It seemed as if nothing was out of bounds or untouchable. He called a spade a shovel and lambasted all of his competitors and detractors. Right or wrong he seemed free to say anything to anyone and indeed at times it seemed that he almost wanted to be challenged or dragged into court. I simply marvelled at the balls of the man.

Rewind to my high school Veld-school. On our first night some boys got into the barbaric ritual of initiating - “borseling”- some of the other boys. The teachers found out and all 3 schools were paraded on the rugby field. The headmaster asked that the guilty boys step forward or face a worse punishment later. We knew that they would never find the culprits, as the victims were too scared to be whistle blowers. No one stood up except Stephen G… he walked forward and sat down in front of the teachers to take his punishment. Because of his courage he was later joined by 2 other boys - dozens of others never stepped forward. I remember being in awe of the balls it took to stand up and take accountability for your actions, knowing full well that physical pain would be the result. (I discovered later that Stephen G hadn't even participated in the initiation but felt he had not done anything to stop the initiations, so he felt that he was as guilty as the rest). It was my first real experience of someone who had balls.

A young guy and his girlfriend were outnumbered 6 to 1 when a bully at a nightclub bumped into them, and challenged him to a fight. No, he wasn't asked to go outside and put up his dukes! It was a sudden flare up with choice words from the thug and all of his friends. The young man, with girlfriend now behind him, was in serious trouble. As the thug’s friends positioned himself to take a cheap shot and then he stepped in. He was a stranger who didn't know the couple but knew right from wrong. He pulled the young man backwards and stepped into his place and all he said was, “why don't you and your little girlfriends try me first?"  He looked straight into the thug’s eyes and continued, “all at once or one at a time - I don't mind - and I think I will start with you!" he pointed to the biggest guy in the pack who happened to be standing behind the bigmouth. If you were in that group - what would you be thinking? There was a slight pause and almost like in the movies, the 6 guys walked away. I discovered later that the hero Samaritan wasn't even a fighter, just an ordinary guy putting himself on the line to save the stranger. Man I love people with balls!

I love people who stick up for the little guy. Zackie Achmat, who stood up to the government, forcing them to give anti-retroviral drugs to sick South Africans and won!

Or, what about the guys who stood against government in the ‘toll road saga’ and won - for now!

I am inspired by people who stand up for the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

I love underdogs who stick it to the cocky champions, like Michael Chang did to Ivan Lendl in the 1989 French open. And you just had to love it when he served underhand to the world’s number 1 and won the point.  Really ballzy!

I love people who speak out when something needs to be said and do things when things need to be done.

That’s why I’m a fan of Steve Biko, Helen Suzman, and all the many politically ballzy people who stood up against all that was wrong in this country.

Charlize Theron, spoke out against rape in South Africa, and ruffled the feathers of all the “men" who do nothing everyday to speak out against and stamp out this heinous crime.

I know that sometimes ballzy people can get themselves into trouble for going against the establishment, the brainwashed and especially those people who are benefiting from the corruption or injustice… 

I have lost some business - not a lot I have to admit -  some friends - I suppose you can argue they weren't really friends to begin with and one or two customers because I have spoken out against concepts like: BEE; affirmative action (discrimination against people based on the colour of their skin); useless and incompetent municipalities; poor or non-existent service delivery and my personal favourite - the suffering and even shooting of citizens by the exact people they voted for to protect them and provide services. And no matter how bad it gets - the families and survivors of the dead and suffering will vote for their persecutors again and again.

Some people know the playing field is not even and what happens to whistle blowers in this country, so they reveal the truth quietly from the background… ballzy all the same.

  • I dare you this month to speak your mind on some issue.
  • Take a stand and do something that may not be popular but is the right thing to do.
  • I dare you to tell people what they need to hear and not what they want to hear.
  • Speak out against the bra and demand a braless month. (This one is a test to see if people actual read these things and how far down they read!)
  • Tell someone who is full of crap that they are full of crap.
  • Tell your mother-in-law to butt out of your life and relationships.
  • Step forward and volunteer for that task at work that no one wants.
  • Stop that chain letter email crap in its tracks with a factually correct mail and pay it backwards.
  • Pay a compliment when one is due and issue an attitude adjusting KLAP when required.
  • Stand up to the corporate bully and visit the inside of a courtroom.
  • Hold them accountable for their shoddy workmanship.

Too big?

  • Okay, start small, get out of bed 15 minutes earlier and do something for your body, mind or soul.
  • Call someone and say you’re sorry, or sad, happy or just because you haven’t spoken to him or her in ages and you miss them.
  • Go to gym, walk or exercise when you don’t want to, that’s pretty ballzy.

They say those who don’t stand for something will fall for anything! So just for this month step up, step forward, make that sales call, call that client and have a ballzy September!


GAVIN SHARPLES

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