I’m an utter sports nut. Well, a football, rugby and cricket man. Liverpool FC, Lamontville Golden Arrows, The Sharks, The KZN Dolphins and, on the international front, Bafana Bafana, the Springboks and the Proteas. Non-negotiable. Arguing with me about my choice of teams is like arguing with the ref after he’s made his decision. And like Grand Prix racing, the Tour de France and that WWF malarkey – totally pointless.
So, we’re talking sport this morning. Especially some not altogether widely-known trivia to do with South African sport. Fascinating stuff…
“When Vincent Tshabalala won the French Open in 1976, he became the first black golfer to win a major tournament on the European Circuit.”
“Bob Hewitt and Frew McMillan won 57 career doubles titles, including three Wimbledon crowns. After teaming up, they played 45 matches before being beaten.”
How cool is Frew's cap? Pic: Getty Images
“Grant Khomo captained the National Soccer XI, won the SA singles and doubles tennis titles, represented Transvaal at cricket and rugby and captained the SA Bantu Rugby Board first team.”
“Ernie Els was the first non-US golfer in 90 years to win the US Open twice, a feat repeated two years later by another South African, Retief Goosen.”
“More than 50% of the world’s paragliding records have been set in South Africa.”
“Football (soccer) is South Africa’s most popular sport and is followed by 78% of South African adults, according to an SABC Markinor survey in 2004. Rugby is next most popular at 47%, followed by cricket (39%).” Er, followed by wrestling (25%). Eish.
* If you scroll up to your right on this page, you’ll see a big fat badge saying something about the 2010 South African Blog Awards. I’ve entered your “diagnosed SA-positive” blog into three categories: Best New Blog, Best Personal Blog and The Kulula Best Travel Blog. I wouldn’t be at all offended if you clicked on that there badge and nominated http://www.fredhatman.co.za in any of these categories (be sure to type in your e-mail address on the blog awards site for your nomination to be registered). In fact, were I to amaze all of us by winning something, the Birkenhead is on me down the Stanford Arms! Cheers!
So you’ve got your tickets for South Africa vs Mexico and you’re feeling very chuffed with yourself. Smug even. You’ve been winding up old Fanie at work that you’re going to be at the opening match of the World Cup while he he has to sit through SABC’s waffle on the game.
But hang on. You’ve forgotten something. Something that could potentially ruin your enjoyment of the occasion. You’re taking your Dad, right? And your old man only ever goes to the rugby. So it doesn’t really matter at Loftus or Newlands or the Shark Tank whether he knows the words to Nkosi Sikelel i’Afrika, does it? He can move his mouth, like the rest of the okes, during the African language part and then give it loads when it gets to the Afrikaans and English bits at the end. Yes?
It’s OK. Relax, bru. I’m guilty too. I sukkel big-time with all that “maluphakanyisw’” and “imithandazo” and “gebergtes” stuff as well. But help is at hand. Your Dad’s going to be just fine. The people around you at Soccer City aren’t going to check you out skeef. Your “SA-positive” blog to the rescue. Here follows a totally kiff idiots guide to learning ALL of the words of our seriously confusing national anthem. Even I can understand it. So check it out… (warning: people older than me and over 40 might need a magnifying glass)…
There. Sweet, hey? I bet you’re feeling a lot better about taking your ballie (father or old man for our foreign readers) to the big game. Just print this baby out and you’re well on your way to enjoying some serious credibility among the seasoned soccer fans at the stadium. And, an extra tip for absolutely free, don’t forget to take your vuvuzela. But don’t get slack and blow it DURING the national anthem. That would just be silly. Save it for the Mexican anthem. Psychological advantage and all that. Only joking! Sepp Blatter will probably have you and the old guy thrown out!
* I must proffer a Diski-style jig of the old red hat to fredhatman.co.za Wildlife Correspondent Daryl Balfour for sending this in. Nice of him to stop photographing lions and rhinos charging at him long enough to think of me!
As I wrote here yesterday, Stanford is a village of humungous charm and character. And so are its people.
People make the place, yes? Yes.
And among many people dedicated to making Stanford an even better place than it already is is Paul Chew.
Did I say charm and character? Paul has aircraft carrier-loads of both. And guts.
And a yearning for adventure which has taken him all over the world, attempting the weirdest challenges… and overcoming them.
Paul Chew... adventurer extaordinaire and a man who wants to make a difference
Climbing icebergs, free-diving with sharks, crossing India in a ricksha, swimming the English Channel… these are just some of Paul’s gut-wrenching pursuits.
His most recent exploit was to take part in the Mongol Derby, a very demanding horse-ride across a vast tranch of China’s most inhospitable territory. He finished third, despite being the oldest person in the race.
Pure guts. But that’s not all. Paul’s thirst for adventure is matched by his hunger for positive change in the world.
His challenges have helped to raise more than R500 000 for the Mercy Corps which provides funds to alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities.
He’s relatively new to Stanford but, once “chosen” by this crazy village to take up residency, he looked around him and saw that all was not sweetness and light for the the people of Die Skemers, a “coloured township” up on the hill above Stanford village.
So when he heard that Inspector Mpanda of the South African Police Services was running a boxing club to give the kids something other to do than get into trouble, Paul wanted to help.
Insp Mpanda needs help. His pugilistic prodigies are enthusiastically running the roads around Stanford to get fit but they don’t have a venue. Nowhere to actually box, nowhere with a ring, nowhere with a punchbag, nowhere with gloves, nowhere with anything. Nowhere to keep warm and dry while they try to become boxers. And Insp Mpanda’s kids have potential. At a recent Western Cape tournament, 20 of his charges scooped 13 medals, gold and silver, between them.
It would be really cool, don’t you think, if they had a building in which to train. Paul thinks so.
So he’s riding the Cape Epic next week. Eight hundred kilometres of of monstrously hard mountain bike racing from Wellington through Ceres, Worcester and Elgin to Lourensford Estate. Paul has shaken off a bout of flu to complete his training for his first-ever bike race and will start on Sunday.
Paul in training for the Cape Epic, eight days and 800km of extremely testing mountain bike riding
He would love for his efforts in the world’s toughest off-road bike race to benefit the little boxers of Stanford. For whom a boxing training venue would mean the world.
So, how can you help? I’m glad you asked. Because you can. You can sponsor Paul Chew, kilometre by tortuous kilometre, and the money you pledge will go towards enabling the good inspector to buy the materials to build a venue for the boxing club. This club will help to bring the quite separate communities of Stanford together and give the kids hope. Hope that they can become better boxers. And better people. Nothing wrong with that, hey?
* You can read much more about Paul’s deeds of derring-do by hurrying straight over to here. Please contact Janet Marshall at email@example.com or on 082 456 8091/028 341 0216 to make your pledge to support Paul Chew in his gut-busting effort to help the children of Stanford
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I’m a guy who likes to use the ocean (well, it is 40 metres from my front door) and many of my friends surf and dive and kitesurf and are generally at one with the many moods and nuances of the big, blue sea.
Somebody I know loves nothing more than to jump off the side of a boat and swim as close as possible to sharks, especially Great Whites, and film and photograph them. When asked by an animal communications expert whether he felt a special connection with sharks, he stared at her with incredulity and, in his bluff way, said: “Are you crazy? They’re just big fish.”
So, here’s a photograph of a big fish for you to ponder over…
A big fish, sadly dead
You might have noticed that I placed the word “sadly” before “dead” in the above caption. That’s for those people who believe that the only good Great White is a dead Great White. Oh, this 4.5m beauty unfortunately saw its end in the shark nets off Zinkwazi, about 50km north of us here in Umdloti on the northern KwaZulu-Natal coast. Thanks to the guys at Zigzag mag (see full story) for use of the pic.
To want something or somebody dead is to fear it. And Great White sharks are not to be feared. Respected, yes. But not feared. That fearmongering movie “Jaws” had about as much grip on reality as I will have two hours from now (it’s Friday night, innit?) and has a lot to answer for (as I will undoubtedly have tomorrow morning).
People, we are plainly and simply not on the menu for sharks, Great Whites or any other. They don’t like to eat us. Get over it. A hungry lion would take a chomp, a piranha would fancy a nibble and a mosquito totally digs the taste of your blood. Sharks don’t. Unless it’s a case of mistaken identity. You know, like when you get arrested for something your neighbour has done. So, yes, if you sitting on your surfboard comes over to a shark like a tasty seal, you’re in trouble. Why somebody hasn’t come out with a nice line of Day-Glo orange wetsuits to replace the standard seal-look-a-like black ones is beyond me.
My dear Hatpeople, please sit back and take a butchers at this (you might want to make a cuppa first, or get your man to shake you up a nice pink drink and drop some of those yummy Caribbean seasalt and balsamic vinegar chips into a bowl?).
Right, on with the show…
OMG! You almost choked on that chip, didn't you?
So much of beautifulness, hey? My Durban Hatpeople require no introduction to the magnificence of the Moses Mabhida Stadium and it’s landmark arch, which can be viewed from virtually every point in the city and inner suburbs, usually after Durbanites have picked themselves up off the floor and, trying hard not to faint again, simply immerse themselves in its architectural splendour.
For the sake of by now emerald-green-eyed Cape Town readers, I could stop there. But I won’t. For reasons which will soon become obvious. Fine with that? OK, so I have seen entire families stop their cars on NMR Avenue (now renamed something like Saddam Suttclivich Lenin Boulevard) and kneel on the grassy kerbside, minds clearly boggling at the stunning sight before them. Any theories that they may have been looking for car keys lost after a Sharks game will be summarily dismissed. And executed at dawn.
Now clap your eyes on this…
This will get UFO-spotters twitching
What the chuff is that? You might well ask. Well it’s not a UFO. And, believe it or not, some higher being has not dropped a humungous and already well-sucked Polo Mint into the middle of Cape Town’s Green Point. It is, in fact, the Smother City’s best effort at providing a World Cup Stadium. I pork you not. You can trust Fred.
And, it pains me to tell you, what you just witnessed is an artist’s impression. Of what it will look like when the infernal thing is completed. Poor artist. Even Turner would have had a job dressing it up to look better. You can only do so much with a Polo mint. It never strays from being white and round with a hole in the middle. Nor, it seems, will Green Point Stadium. And they both suck.
I bet that overpaid ponce Cristiano Ronaldo is praying that Portugal are drawn to play in Durban or even Rustenburg. He wouldn’t want to be seen in that, would he?
Welcome to my view from Biltong National Park (BNP). BNP was immaculately conceived in a London basement flat in 1995 when a group of South African expats and a truckload of beer gathered for every minute of the Springboks’ inexorable march to Rugby World Cup glory. Yes, 1995. The year of Francois Pienaaar’s inclusion of 45 million South Africans in the history-making RWC victory, Nelson Mandela’s nation-unifying wearing of Pienaar’s No 6 jersey and Joel Stransky’s last-gasp drop-goal. Fourteen years on, the sporting madness which is Biltong National Park still draws diehard Sharks, Springbok, Proteas and Liverpool fans to my living-room.
That’s the intro bit. Now for your weekend sports review. Enough has been written and said about the Boks’ smashing of New Zealand, notwithstanding the wobbly first 20 minutes of the second half, so I’ll hand you over to Independent Newspapers’ star rugby commentator Mike Greenaway, whose match report got it spot-on (read it… er, I was going to link to Mike’s piece on iol.co.za here but Independent’s plodding and lacklustre apology of a website does not appear to have loaded it). Skande!
Allow me then to pass you on to Bob Skinstad whose post-match interview with a still-sweating Bryan Habana was perhaps the next most articulate and insightful commentary on the “Bashing in Bloem”. The sound isn’t the best so pump up the volume and enjoy Habana’s inside analysis on how the 2009 Tri-Nations might unfold…