In 2010 South Africa hosted the FIFA World Cup and Tyron Barnard was acutely reminded that sport has the power to unify, and most importantly to inspire. As a passionate storyteller, he saw the need for the ‘lesser’ sports to have their stories told. Tying together his gift of writing and love for sports he soon turned in an avid and extremely successful sports blogger and commentator, and in 2019 he was voted second best sports commentator in South Africa. Tyron’s story telling has grown from strength to strength and last year during the ‘strict’ lockdown he used the time to launch Hockey the Magazine. Here’s his story …
As Marianne Williamson penned beautifully in Our Greatest Fear, ‘And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.’
Tyron Barnard started to shine his light immediately after the FIFA World Cup with a general sports blog covering all sporting categories. However, with a history in playing, coaching and umpiring hockey, the link between the two quickly grew stronger and ‘to tell the hockey story’ soon became a focus for him. Over the next 10 years he wrote more than a thousand hockey stories predominantly covering the South African game.
In 2020 Tyron made the decision that with the access to information and the platform he had, he could genuinely offer more to people by telling hockey stories and launched Hockey the Magazine.
‘The idea of the magazine is to offer aspiring writers, photographers and coaches the opportunity to share their hockey stories while also getting remunerated for it. The idea was also to create an opportunity for more people to travel to various hockey tournaments around the country, to raise the profile and ultimately offer sponsors a better return on investment for supporting the game,’ explains Tyron passionately.
Hockey the Magazine is published bi-monthly and features a host of different writers telling you unique and wonderful hockey stories. The magazine is free of charge and available on Hockeythemagazine.co.za. Coupled with this, Tyron also hosts ‘Hockey the Podcast’ with Derek Alberts, where they have already released 65 episodes over 18 months.
‘When Nelson Mandela addressed the first Laureus Sports Awards in 2000, he said: ‘Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire, it has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope, where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers. It laughs in the face of all types of discrimination.’
‘Madiba’s quote is a strong reason why I am so passionate about sport. I truly believe we make people’s lives better through sport,’ says Tyron.
‘During the hard lockdown, my business partner Derek Alberts and I, through our Rayder Media company, identified the mental health challenges that people were facing with the lack of sport. We decided to develop a Lockdown Sports Quiz that invited nearly 100 people a week to get together and compete in a sporting environment. With the lack of sport, we also brought in a host of sports stars to join the public including the likes of Warren Whiteley, Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar, Giniel de Villiers, Matthew Booth and many others.’
The success of the private Lockdown Sports Quiz led to Tyron to partnering with African FRDM and producing a game show series of Quizterviews. The concept saw South African sporting personalities take on a sports quiz while also being interviewed about their career. Stars included CJ Stander, Ryk Neethling, Justin Reid-Ross, Rassie van der Dussen and eventual season winner Brian Mujati. Tyron was the producer of the show as well as the host, which is available on the Rayder Media YouTube channel.
‘I am often asked how I find time to juggle these things, but the answer is simple. Passion. Nothing that I do outside 8−5 is a job; they are all passion projects. From the teaching youth at church, media officer for various sporting bodies or commentating on live sport, I love every second of what I do, and time seems always to be available when you are passionate. The other thing that is a massive help is that I am incredibly calm under pressure and can compartmentalise my different challenges,’ says Tyron.
‘Another important question I have been asked is how being a CA(SA) has helped in my ongoing endeavours in the world of media. Being a CA(SA) immediately means you walk into a room without having to prove your credibility. It allows you to be taken more seriously around the table almost immediately. Through my experience becoming a CA(SA) I learnt from some wonderful people. I have gained confidence and knowledge and more importantly the ability to communicate with key stakeholders. Having the ability to understand where my contribution fits into the grand scheme of the organisation immediately has also proved to be invaluable to both my business partners and me,’ explains Tyron.
Tyron says all of this would be meaningless without the support of his family. ‘My wife Catherine is also a CA(SA) and understands the challenges of our roles. She is also my biggest supporter on our different adventures. My sons Callum Jabu and Colby Tau are my everything. I wouldn’t do what I did if I didn’t believe it made my kids’ lives better. Callum is old enough now (he is 4) that he is showing amazing passion for sport and he has already had the opportunity to play hockey with both the South African men and the Namibian men. Being a father is the first and most important thing to me and my inner circle will always hold me accountable to that,’ says Tyron.
‘I am incredibly excited for 2021. The world is better positioned to handle the corona virus as technology has been developed and embraced. Sport has adapted and the 2021 hockey calendar is incredibly exciting, with the Olympic Games the obvious highlight. There are some great things in plan for Hockey the Magazine, Rayder Media and me, so watch this space!’
As financial manager at Infiniti Insurance Tyron currently oversees monthly management reporting and a finance team of 10 individuals. He also oversees the debit order collections department that he helped establish in 2018.
Keep dreaming big
To young and aspiring CAs(SA), my simple message is ‘dream’. As a sport-loving young man, I never thought I’d meet the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson, Frank Lampard and the Harlem Globetrotters. Not only have I met these iconic names, but I am now in contact with the likes of Siya Kolisi, Bryan Habana and Roland Schoeman, among many others, whom I would have only dreamed of being connected with. I have travelled to numerous countries and seen amazing places because my passion carried through. Becoming a CA(SA) is not the end of your journey, it’s just the start.