Saturday: Squash Coaching: 10 -12.30. – some great sessions. Pitied those poor parents, coaches and supporters standing, drenched, religiously ranting at their rugby playing protégés. Kip and Super 15 rugger. Referees. Ughh !! I love Coenie Oosthuizen and this Etsebeth oke. Timmy Whitehead playing well.
Sunday : Golf at Humewood. ( Cancelled – Rain, lots of it). Went to klap a squash ball – so good to be back on court , quick braai, snooze, and Sport Elizabeth article – have just read a great little book called, “What Sports tells about Life” by Ed Smith, which had me wondering about Sport and Life, Life and Sport ….schools…. me and sport… what to write ?
What follows are my musings and meanderings.
Cycling : A great sport for the body, suitable for all ages, easy on the joints but tough on the bank balance. And you have to be brave to wear those pornographic outfits. Not very weather friendly, and often exposed to road-rage and road hogs. My cycling career ended when I was about 10 when I crashed my bike into a tree. I have not been able to afford one since. Unless educated into the tactical intricacies, a boring TV sport, despite the pretty scenery.
Swimming: Probably the best for the body, but one needs to know how to swim. I think I was too busy chasing my swimming coach’s daughter , so, while I can swim, I classify myself as a non-swimmer. That, precludes me from any Ironman fantasies. But, sjooee. How boring it must be, paddling, length after length, with nothing to look at. Galas should be used as a form of punishment. Capped heads bobbing in flurries of water. I once congratulated my daughter on how well she did, in a race in which she did not swim.
Road Running: Probably the most accessible sport and one which allows for all folk - fat, thin, old, young, rich and poor - to test themselves against themselves, and discover things about themselves as they pound their bodies into the road. Running in the rain is ok, but, wind. No. I blame running for my knee-monia, ( And, yes, I probably did try to run too fast and too far, too soon.) Watching people complete the Comrades is both inspirational and heart-breaking, but for the rest, mind-numbing.
Rugby: A great marketing tool for schools, where the perception is, that if the 1st XV is good, the school is a worthy, educational institution. A wonderful team game, and TV sport and useful as an outdoor activity where one coach can look after lots of people. But definitely not a life-time pursuit. No matter the popularity of rugby, one has to question the money and time spent, when a miniscule % of the mean machine 1st XV ever continue to play the game that takes them to Idol status, and then drops them, without parachute, to find another means of recognition and fitness.
A tough, grovelling tear-away flanker in the Rob Louw/Keegan Daniel mould, I basked in the glory of 1st XV recognition, but any dreams of wearing the green and gold were punched into the ground at my first army practice … forever. And like probably 99.5 % of all school playing rugby players, I am qualified to criticise referees, can coach, advise wisely and sprout forth over countless beers on any aspect of rugby that is laid on the table. And that fiend, gout, attacks that broken wrist, ankle and elbow that rugby awarded me.
Cricket: Is in my skin. I was brought up on the side of cricket fields and I love the game. All its formats and intricacies, the skills, the individual, yet team needs, the camaraderie. But, its longevity as life-time pursuit is dying as the younger generation seem hell-bent on wham-bam-thank you-mam exploits. And schools attempting to play declaration matches where one side bats until 3pm, are not doing much for its cause. Nor, sadly, are our administrators. So again, for all the money, and time spent in developing young cricketers, it’s pretty much, much ado about nothing. A great TV game , although, we are bit deluged these days.
Football. I played “soccer” in Sub A and went on my first sporting “tore” from King William’s Town to Berlin . Since then I have flirted with the game at FA Cups and World Cups but I have never developed an emotional attachment ( Although I do hate Suarez and think Messi is close to a messiah.) Conversely my son, an ex-rugby player, loves it, and could stand on a stage with that Daron Mann man, and punch, question-to-question. So I watch a bit of soccer but unemotionally.
Hockey: right up there with the best. A sport which seems to attract people with an insatiable appetite for alcohol and parties. Labelled a namby-pamby sport in my school days and only for those not tough enough for rugby, my bravest sporting moments have been running out at first wave for a short corner in the 4th league. I regret not pursuing my talents at this sport.
Golf : As much as I love to hate it, Golf, with all it life-teaching elements, should be made a compulsory subject at schools. It is definitely on a par, or more valuable than Maths, once you enter the business world. I curse my college and my parents, for not tee-ing me off into the mysteries of this magnificent game. Easy on the body, tough on time, brain and wallet, it also suffers under the stresses of the weather. Ironically, that is one its challenges and attractions. And Louis Oosthuizen’s exploits at the Masters was 5-star entertainment.
Tennis: A game for life, a game for families, and great TV watching-sport, especially as it seems to attract some very attractive ladies. But very weather unfriendly, especially in PE. Originally, my first love, and Wimbledon beckoned, but a grouchy old granny teacher with more interest in knitting, killed my dreams, and pushed me towards a new lover, Squash.
And so I come to my game, my sport. Squash. Physical Chess. The Ultimate - requiring skills, fitness, thinking, a tough mind, the ability to move like a dancer and box like a boxer. Inexpensive, convenient ,easy to play, any time, night or day, a blend of team and individual, competitive and social, weather friendly, time friendly, family friendly, and age friendly.
Space precludes discussion on other sports, and they all have their merits and de-merits but as I head for bed, I wonder. Should schools not be looking at the sports they offer, with a view to playing for life, and preparing their children for life. If nothing else, sport develops Self Belief. And with that, anyone can achieve anything.
I am glad that I can’t afford a 20K bike, that my swimming coach had a daughter, that I was pummelled and injured at rugby, that my school was not interested in football, that time took me away from cricket, that my “ honourable name” kept me from hockey, and that granny knitted me from tennis, and steered me into Squash. To me – The Ultimate Sport… except, maybe for Golf.
Adi Hansen and Rudi Willemse Exhibition Evening
As 1000’s of wannabe Ironmen and ladies headed into town, the Squash Iron Men, Adi Hansen, ranked 2 in South Africa and Rudi Willemse, ranked 7, took on some of the cream of EP’s top players in a stunning display of power and precision in front of a packed Crusaders gallery. And then, turned up the heat, against each other with Hansen claiming the title of the King of the Saders Castle.
But the EP quartet, Rudi van Niekerk, Thami Mngcete ,Dane Bigara and Jarryd Terblanche did themselves proud, rallying and running, and clearly, if they were exposed to this level of squash on a more regular basis, their games would flourish.
Curtain-raising the evening, EP under 13’s, Keanu Langford, Juandre Venter and Murray Schepers all nationally ranked in the Top 10 , gave notice of great things to come. These 3 will play in front of many more packed galleries. And to add a touch of beauty to the brawn, Ashleigh Schepers, Kate Pearson, Alison Oshry and Di Van Eyk clashed in a Blitz tournament with Van Eyk joining Hansen as Queen of the Saders Castle.
Who said Squash is not a spectator sport ?