Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013
It’s time once again to reflect on the year that was and of course, to ponder the one that lies ahead. On the music front I was in seventh heaven watching the American legends, The Eagles, perform at Sun City and Soccer City. Only a few months earlier we saw Britis pop icons The Hollies and how polished were they? South African blues king, Dan Patlanski, is brilliant. Grab the chance to see him play and ignore at your peril! Then there was an astonishing performance at the London Paralympic Games closing ceremony by Coldplay – I hadn’t really rated them until then, but have to admit that I was one of 70 000 who were left in ‘Paradise’ after their performance. The best was yet to come though. We were so very lucky to catch Rob Thomas (of Santana Smooth fame) live with his band Matchbox 20 at the Shepherd’s Bush O2 arena in London.
Meanwhile, the London Paralympic Games dominated the sporting stage. Whether Team South Africa really performed to its potential is still a hotly contested pub debate. The games belonged to one man who seemingly owns the planet as well – Oscar Pistorius - we are proud! Ilse Hayes, Natalie du Toit, the 4 X 100 metre track relay team, Charl Bouwer, Fanie van der Merwe and of course Oscar himself all led the charge for gold – a healthy yield of silver and bronze medals completed the haul of 29 – excellent stuff.
The games witness the end of an era – goodbye Natalie and thanks for the memories. I wonder if we will witness the prowess of the likes of Michael Louwrens, Ernst van Dyk, Tadhg Slattery and Zanele Situ at future Paralympics – all legends in the own right and very hard to replace, has the 2012 bell tolled for them and perhaps a few others?
Our Olympic Team shone too and we must never discount the magnitude of the stage on which they perform. Chad Le Clos has his work cut out (as does Bert – his dad) for as they say, getting there is one thing, staying there is entirely another – go you good thing, a special talent with the whole wide world at your feet.
My eventful year ended at the 32nd Nedbank Golf Challenge (NGC) where once again, we witnessed 12 of the World’s top golfers fighting it out on the very testing Gary Player Golf Course. What made this so spectacular was that seven of the players were fresh from the European victory over the Americans at the Ryder Cup – wow! The NGC also hosed eight of the world’s top senior players who play in the Champions Challenge. The legend Tom Watson was a huge draw card and it must be said – what a thorough gentleman he and all of the golfers were. We could all take a few lessons from these giants of the game, always polite, engaging to anyone who confronts them – a real pleasure and privilege!
Despite not winning the US $1 250 000 winner’s cheque, the biggest smile on the course was no doubt worn by SA Disabled Golf Champion Daniel Slabbert who played once again in the Pro -Am with Carl Petterson as the pro. Daniel who is now playing off a scratch handicap acquitted himself well, shooting seven birdies in his round!
However, the lowest point this year was hearing of my very great friend and former swimming and basketball team mate, Chris Carey’s loss of both his son Fraser (tragically killed in Afghanistan) and shortly thereafter, his beautiful wife Charlotte passing away after an operation. My lodger and dear friend, Dieter Stein who had assisted in various aspects of sport for disabled (including a huge contribution at Mandeville) succumbed to cancer – we will miss you all so much.
Sadly, this is to be my last column for this great magazine. Thanks to the editorial team who have given me carte blanche over the years to tell it how it is, or at least how I thought it was! I have enjoyed working with a great team and thank you, the readers for taking time out to read my reflections and predictions – always with a tongue in cheek.
Have a brilliant 2013 and remember – stay “Off the wall!”