Where The Streets Have No Name
Sunday Bloody Sunday February 13 was a Beautiful Day. I was in the car, engine revving by 15h00 giving us ample time to get to the U2 spectacular being staged Where The Streets Have No Name! “I am leaving with or Without You” I shouted to my brood. We were within the precincts of Soccer City (oops) within the hour and, as promised by the organisers, our parking was secure and getting into the cathedral of SA football was a breeze!
Alas for the catering! You queued forever only to be told that they don’t take cash, you need coupons from another queue. Eventually you find yourself at a silly plastic table with a grumpy lady selling little plastic tabs that serve as R20 coupons. Then you hit the bevy queue! Another 30 minutes and finally – “Can I have 3 beers and 3 bottles of water please?” “Sorry, no water and you must drink the beer in plastic cups.” “I am in a wheelchair, sir, how do I carry 3 plastic cups filled with precious amber contents?” I ask politely. “That’s your problem sir. Next please!” comes the curt response. What legacy of the World Cup? Toilets for the disabled are hijacked predominantly by ladies with bursting bladders. When you do get in there is no paper or liquid soap and the hand dryers are broken.
But this was all erased when the show began. It was unbelievable and will probably never be emulated! The sheer magnitude of the stage set, the precision and sounds of the band left us with indelible memories, U2 – You Rock! And, as reported in a previous edition, Mandy Latimore can tap her feet! I was hoping to write a glorious overview of how our beloved Proteas had made it to the semis of the ICC Cricket World Cup! I can’t but help wondering if the turmoil at Cricket SA played a part though - let’s be honest - these are highly paid, highly skilled(really?) professionals with a lot of soul searching to do. To the Black Caps so recently battered by earthquakes and aftershocks’ I guess you have planted the seed for September’s IRB Rugby World Cup. If I were a betting man I would put a wager on you this time! What a double that would be! Talking of doubles, up the Irish who took England apart in cricket AND rugby (Six Nations). Love your work!
During my many years of competing in National Championships I loathed Opening Ceremonies - dour events with speeches, speeches and more speeches; lobbying, lobbying and more lobbying!
Well, it’s the morning after yet another forgettable opening ceremony at the Nedbank National Championships for Physically Disabled in Rustenburg, which I attended this time representing the main sponsor. Around 700 athletes were herded into the un-air-conditioned Rustenburg Civic Centre. A variation on the old song – “the air was vrot, and the heat was hot but the LOC would show no love”! By the time the delayed ceremony was underway we were approaching Earth Hour so perhaps one could have believed that was why the aircons were down.
To the LOC and custodians of these championships that have such a great history: please in future remember the audience, THEATHLETES, after all - this is their platform to shine. It is a privilege tohave dignitaries including the Queen Mother of Royal Bafokeng, Deputy Sports Minister Gert Oosthuizen, the Mayor and a host of MECs whom the MC (sorry –Program Director) forgot to introduce initially, but the fact is that the athletes come to compete, sport is the catalyst, and they want to be entertained. If Gum-boot dancers are associated with this rich mining area please make sure that the audience can see them!
It was my short and special pleasure to publicly thank Hilton Langenhoven for his tenure as Nedbank Brand Ambassador and SASAPD Torch Bearer and welcome incoming swimming sensation, Emily Gray (right), as his successor– a fine choice and great role model in whom we have every confidence.
Back in the early seventies I competed for the Rhodesian team. We once stayed at the Rustenburg High School that had (quite rightly so) very stringent alcohol laws banning the juice from the campus. We reluctantly abided until we beat the powerful Western Transvaal basketball team for the first time in about 30 attempts. On the way back to our drab accommodation we pulled in at a local watering hole and relieved team-mate Des King – a giant of a man who was a double below knee amputee from a land mine incident – of his two hollow prostheses. We filled the sweaty schooners with draft beer served by a bemused barman who refused to charge us, reconnected Des to his (now very heavy) limbs and made our way through “Check Point Charlie”! How great it was as we passed Des’ legs around - the sweet taste of victory!!