Big hit for ex-addict

2017-04-18 06:01
Kelly Thompson (17) plays softball so well that she has a spot in the team going to a world tournament.

Kelly Thompson (17) plays softball so well that she has a spot in the team going to a world tournament.

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Cape Town - Kelly Thompson (17) from Retreat feels like she has been given another chance to bat in life by playing softball.

The soft-spoken teenager believes she has been to hell and back, as life has dealt her a bad hand. But that has not pulled her down.

Now in her matric year, she says playing softball is the best thing that has ever happened to her.

“Softball is the best. It has pulled me out from the darkest and the deepest places. It makes me relax and I’m glad that by playing it with so much passion I can inspire other people,” she says.

Thompson has been selected for the national women’s softball team.

She says while in Grade 9 she joined the wrong crowd and became a drug addict.

“I became involved in gangsterism. It was the darkest point of my life. One thing that I have learnt or I felt whilst I was part of a gang is that the gang members make you feel at home. They treat you like family. Most people feel they cover that gap that has been left open by family members. However, that doesn’t last for long. If you don’t do the right thing you will always have that gap,” she says.

She admits that life at some points was difficult, especially with her mother being a drug addict.

“Life with my mother was tough. I have learnt life at a young age. My mother has never worked and for her to feed me she had to go pick up scraps or dig in dirt to sell. It was difficult and she was also on drugs which just made everything face the opposite direction for me.

“I did the same thing, I ended up on drugs. Though I can’t blame it on my mother or the peers around me. I just feel my emotions were too much and they were all over the place. I was abused by my stepfather and I felt things were just going wrong for me.”

Thompson is grateful to her Physical Education teacher who told her to play softball.

“My teacher saw something in me that I didn’t see, I started playing softball and it changed my life. It feels like my teacher pulled me out of the darkest hole and gave me hope. Playing softball took me away from all the negativity.

“Now I’m off all the substances, not part of a gang. I spend most of my time playing softball.”

She is staying with her unemployed grandmother and 22-year-old brother Lyle, who is the breadwinner.

She recently earned national colours for women’s softball.

She has been selected to take part in the XII WBSC junior women’s world championship that will take place in the United States in July, a trip that will cost her R45 000.

She is pleading for help to put that money together so that she can go.

“My friends are trying to help me and we will be hosting a fundraiser and karaokes, but we need a lot of help. It is a lot of money and I would like anyone who picks up this paper and sees my story to help me so that I can go to the tournament.”

She says this will be a life-changing tournament.

“There will be people from all over the world. There will be scouts. Who knows, I might be spotted and be selected there and that will be the beginning of greater things for me. I really enjoy playing softball and I feel it has given me another chance in life.”

Lyle says for her to be selected to go overseas has not only inspired him but has also inspired the youth to make a difference.

“We have been through a lot as a family and with our mother on drugs it didn’t make life easier for us.

“Seeing her pick up the pieces and excel like this makes me proud. I don’t want her to miss this opportunity but a huge setback that we are facing now is funding. We really need all the help we can get.”

- To help Kelly, you can contact her brother Lyle on 081 514 4207 or her grandmother on 083 350 4418.

- Follow @Jeranji

Read more on:    cape town  |  education  |  good news

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