Dear all Lions Cricket stakeholders,

I recall writing many pieces during the Covid-19 situation and level 3, 4 and 5 lockdowns stating that I don’t believe life has ever been as challenging, terrifying or uncertain. How wrong I was. As I sit today and scribe, I pray for the safety of our people amongst this looting madness that has wreaked havoc with business owners, commuters and most of all: families, friends and loved ones.

I am under no illusion that you yourself have never been more nervous and unsettled – understandably so.

But what I also know is that South African’s are resilient, proud and predominantly positive: And I call on you all to remain calm, pull together and restore our faith in our Rainbow Nation.

Some of you may know of the acronym PRIDE that I often speak of:

P – passion

R – respect

I – image

D – discipline

E – enjoyment

It’s a word that resonates with me, not just because of the sum of its parts, but because PRIDE is who we are at Lions – PRIDE is what we create. And I believe that now, more than ever before we need to live with passion, earn our respect, maintain a strong image, work with discipline and enjoy all that we do. Let me elaborate:

P – Passion

You cannot do great work, unless you love what you do, so do something that matters to you and is meaningful to you because following your passion is the only way to stay self-motivated. Passion will help you achieve things you never thought possible, based purely on your love of your game. But at the same time, don’t expect to always love what you do – no one has only good days. So resilience is key: Bounce back from a poor innings – bounce back with greater wisdom, determination and hard work. Let passion wake you each morning. Get up and show up and put your best foot forward in every single thing that you do – and never ever let anyone take your passion away from you: It is your life.

R – Respect

Respect is how you treat yourself and those around you and isn’t something that is demanded, but rather earned by way of manners, morals, focus, common decency and kindness. Strive to earn others respect – not popularity – but know that those around you admire you and are by your side because they’ve chosen to be with you. Be kind. Simple as that.

I – Image

What you do matters, whether you’re a coach, staff, parent, partner or player: For it isn’t your job that defines you, but rather how you act, how you conduct yourself, how you impact lives and the meaningful difference you make to others – consistently. Remember that our fans are watching you and aspiring to be you one day whether that be working at our beloved Imperial Wanderers, playing in one of our teams, heading up our dynamic brand or serving the game as a coach, umpire or scorer. Take note and appreciate all that you have and how far you have come – and continue to work on yourself, because self-respect is the most valuable asset you will ever own.

D – Discipline

We all have goals. But it is discipline that is the bridge between having a goal and achievement. Discipline is doing something, even if you do not want to at times: Wake up early and work when others sleep. Stay focused on what it is that you want from life because there will always be greater and lesser persons than yourself – there will always be people with greater talent than you. But there is never ever an excuse for anyone to work harder than you do. If you are surrounded by people whilst reading this piece, look up and around you right now: Can you honestly say that you’re the hardest working person in the room? Make THAT your goal!

E – Enjoyment

Failure is inevitable and everyone fails time and time again. But don’t let the failures deter your enjoyment in all you do, for you learn best when you are in your enjoyment environment. So place yourself where you love to be, breathe it all in and celebrate the moment, there simply is so much to enjoy. Enjoyment is an energiser: It never ceases to amaze me how energised our coaches are for example: Endless hours of immeasurable dedication and knowledge that they absolutely thrive on sharing.

In closing, I implore you all to breathe, stay calm and be kind. We can, and will, get through this turmoil. Protect your loved ones and keep believing: Because never before have we needed you, like we need you right now. Influence your communities positively and let us pull together so our beautiful country can be proud again and have a strong sense of PRIDE to be South African. Remember when you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive; to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.

I am sending my love, best wishes, prayers and positivity to you and want to thank you for all that you do for our Union and our people. I love this Union, this country and its people and know that together we will rise stronger and more united than ever before to build up our beautiful South Africa.With so much love, 

CGL CEO Jono Leaf-Wright