When it’s time to step up to the plate, even when two down in a game of softball, you have no choice but to man up and perform.
That is the motto of softball twins, Justin and Jason Ranck, from Elsies River, who are members of Devonshire Rovers softball club.
The 27-year-olds say the lessons they have leant over the years in the diamond field have added alot of value in their daily lives.
Through sport, they have found a way to manoeuvre through life with a positive mindset in the midst of the daily struggles of growing up in gang-ridden areas.
“There is no way to hide yourself in the field of softball. In other sports maybe you can hide for some minutes behind your teammates, but with softball when it’s time to step up to the plate you are forced to perform,” said Justin.
“There are instances where we would look back at some of the things we got to experience in our area and the friends that have found themselves being consumed by the peer pressure and ended up making all sorts of bad decisions. The sport just made us look at life with a different mindset from some of the friends we grew up with and we ended up travelling a lot because of the sport.
“We lost a friend who was gunned as a result of gangsterism and we look back and be like, that could be one of us but because these are the people, we grew up with, but sport just brings a different mindset,” said Jason.
The brothers say there’s no telling where they would be if it was not for the sport they fell in love with from the age seven.
Having obtained provincial colours in baseball back in 2012, the immediate goal for the twins is making the SA side in softball. They have already travelled with the SA team in baseball, and now are making their name with softball, which has become their first love.
The two sports have lots of similarities and the twins have always juggled between them, but softball takes the first place.
The brothers complement each other well on the field, not only are they supportive of each other, they are both very competitive.
“Our performance rubs off on each other and it’s a big advantage because we understand each other better than anyone. We throw a lot together, I know where to get him on his strong points,” said Jason.
At the weekend game against Pirates, Jason hit a home run and that resulted in a personal competition between them as Justin tried to find a way to hit his own home run. This didn’t happen even though he did find his way to the home plate for a score.
That kind of competition can only yield positive results for the team, and at the weekend they managed to roll past Pirates with ease. They helped their side to a 15-2 win in the first game of the weekend and later an 11-0 win against Khayelitsha Eagles.
Justin and Justin say they want to work a lot with youngsters in the early stages so they can grow up within the sport the same as he and his brother did; that way ensuring that the future of the game is taken care of.
“I believe a child in sport is a child out of court and those are the words that encourage us to continue playing even if the environment and circumstances around us don’t allow it,” he said.
“I think Cape Town has really grown a lot where softball is concerned, we even held a women’s world cup a few years back. The bar has been set really high. I do wish we can still have more people involved in the game, there is still lots of room to improve our sport and take this game to a whole new level,” said Justin.
Cape Town hosted the under-18 Women’s softball world cup back in 2011.