Letters to the Editor
Mandela's 100th Birthday Celebrated
By Don E. Porter
Nelson Mandela was at the head of the line during the Apartheid era in the late seventies but, like many, he was incarcerated and for 27 years languished in prison. When released, he ascended to the presidency of South Africa.Mr. Don Porter in the 70s was trying to get attention for Softball, to be played outside the playgrounds of the U.S. and eventually the Olympics. As he moved toward Africa and fertile ground for Softball, he was appointed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as were other international sporting bodies as to why Softball and other sports were being played by the white minority in South Africa while leaving black South Africans out of play. As a Korean War veteran and seeing the destruction of a country 30 years earlier, he was determined to help see that South Africa would survive.His sport and others soon made gains for change but, not until the Mandela’s of South Africa brought about real and serious change. Fast forward, in 2009 in Lausanne, Switzerland (IOC’s home base) Porter was attending a conference, of course on the Olympics, and while sitting in the restaurant of the hotel, with his wife Jean, when the late IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch entered with none other than Nelson Mandela, Porter arose and Samaranch with Mandela came over and after introductions, Samaranch told Mandela of Porter’s quest and difficulties of bringing Softball back in to the Olympic arena. Mandela looked at Porter and said, “never ever give up, I didn’t”.Mr. Porter’s book “Inclusion/Exclusion, Softball’s Olympic Odyssey” captures the above and many more of the trials and tribulations of the sport’s quest for Olympic inclusion. Attached is Porter’s book signing at USA Softball’s annual meeting in Greensboro, North Carolina and later he was signing books at the National Fastpitch Coaches Association conference in Las Vegas, where there were over 1200 attendees. Previous signings this year were at Lima, Peru, Osaka, Japan, Gaborone, Botswana. The book is available on Amazon and select book stores.
|Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) |
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The above writer, Don E. Porter, the Korean War's American veteran, serves as contributing writer for The Seoul Times. He has been serving as president of the International Softball Federation (ISF) since 1987. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org