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Choking Whitey

Choking Whitey

by Brandon Edmonds / 22.06.2009


In ‘Choke’ the just-about-worth-renting movie adaption of the icky Chuck Palahniuck novel,  a dude fakes choking in restaurants and gets saved by customers who later give him gifts for making them feel useful and brave. This is choking with a purpose. Rational choking. Choking that makes perfect sense. Then there’s the Proteas. 

What they do is irrational choking. Choking to no end. Choking that makes no sense. 

The foundational choke came in the 1999 World Cup semi-final. Re-live it on Youtube here. It plays like a Laurel & Hardy cartoon on acid. Allan Donald loses his mind, his balls, his bat and his country the World Cup (not necessarily in that order). It is a moment in our sporting history as fraught and shameful as Zola Budd skopping Mary Decker and Hansie’s Mumbai mafioso on speed-dial. From that day forth the bad choker Mojo plagued our Proteas. It was terminal. In the last T20 World Cup, India’s oh-so-low 126 was a bridge too far when we should have won.  Now the unlikely semi-final defeat to Pakistan. What is up? 

Sports-related choking apparently involves over-thinking. Instead of letting instinct raise your game in the key moment, think a slashing Nadal return or a Shumacker inside pass, the perfect gesture in the perfect moment, pure performance, all that jazzy Zen shit.  The choker complicates things and acts too soon or too late. It’s almost sexual. We may have the real inside clue as to the why the Biff-Minkie hookup floundered. She just wanted to have fun while Smith is an arch complicator. He over thinks. Just as Hansie was. And Kepler Wessels. White guys generally over think in a bad way. We’re self-conscious. Hesitant. Predictable. It’s why black comics use that nerdy white guy voice. Just watch ‘So You Think You Can Dance’. You can see white guys thinking the moves instead of moving without thinking. Norman Mailer knew this. He once published an essay called ‘The White Negro’ over forty years ago calling for an influx of instinct, soul and cool (qualities he problematically ascribed to blackness alone) to save white guys from themselves. The Proteas need to be saved from themselves. The Proteas need an influx of instinct, soul and cool. The Proteas need a black captain. 

Choke on that!

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  1. jester says:

    The Proteas rarely choke these days. You don’t win a series in Australia by choking. Sure, they shouldn’t have lost the return series but even that wasn’t choking. And sure its disappointing in the T20. But they lost. They didn’t choke. Losing in T20 is possible at any time to anyone because of the short format. Play best of 3 in the semi’s and final I say.

    As for the rest of the article, I sure hope you didn’t get paid for it. Dumb, unfunny pontificating. Maybe that’s what you get for Mahala. (except that its usually damn good)

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  2. Afrimoon says:

    How do a choking team score 438, with a series tied at 2-2, for the most famous ODI of all?

    And follow that on with series wins in every continent?

    20-20 turns on one single individual performance, which is what Afridi did to both us and Sri Lanka in the final.

    In any other format of the game one individual performance can be fought by a team effort.

    I suspect that cricketers themselves will become disenchanted with this form af the game, as it is just too much of a gamble.

    Or just see it for the jol it is and don’t read anything into it.

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  3. Andy says:

    Everytime our cricketers get close to a final of a world cup they choke, I mean lose. Sure Afridi played well, but South Africa didn’t. We’re a bunch of soft cocks. Had the Australians got that close they would have sealed the deal. No doubt about it. That’s called big match temperament. The 438 game was of no real consequence. A one day series between two teams. And we definitely choked on that Australian cock in the return series of the test matches this year. Ack! The sound of Graeme Smith choking. We’re a flaccid bunch of under-achievers on the cricket field. The sooner we admit it the better. Go watch the youtube video. Good teams win world cups.

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  4. moegoe says:

    Hey Brandon, you’re a real whinger . . . methinks you’re a whitey too, ‘cos you moan like one.

    How’s about comparing apples to apples, the Protea’s record vs Bafana for instance…?

    And rather than look for a kak excuse (which is what this whole ‘choking’ wrap is) give credit to Afridi, Kahn and their team .. they played brilliantly against SA and Sri Lanka, and deserved to win.

    Or are Pakistanis in all your wisdom not white/black enough to win off their own bat?

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