Looking at the Dusi results today I see the first finisher who, if I bumped into him, would say “Howzit Swanie or Howzit Pete” came in 93rd !!
Getting old! Gone are the days when I knew most of the top ten!
Another observation – 13 of the top 20 had African surnames. Wonder how the Anti-Affirmative-Action boys would explain that away?
I would bet good money if they (we!) were asked beforehand “What sports are black Africans likely to do well in if given a chance?” few would have suggested Dusi paddling!
Talking of prescience, the first lady finisher came in 30th!! Shades of Frith vd Merwe finishing 15th in the 1989 Comrades!
And we used to ban ladies from even doing the Dusi (“to protect them” – to protect ourselves from getting our arses whipped, it turns out!).
Yesterday a past Dusi and Umko winner phoned me about his eyes. I asked him if he was planning to do anything stupid in March.
He is. He is about to do his 51st consecutive Umko canoe marathon, the hardest of all the river marathons!
The reason? He has done 50 but he has only finished 49. He broke his boat back in 1970 and didn’t finish that one.
Fukkit!! So he wants to do his 50th finish.
He said to me “You should do it too, you know”. I said no ways, I’m too slow. He said “We paddle quite slowly these days you know” (he won the very first one in 1966).
I said you don’t understand. My slow includes frequent stops, and a lot of resting on my paddle and checking the scenery. He understood that was slower even than him and other 70yr-olds.
Played football in Apache Oklahoma in ’73 for the Apache Warriors. The coaches did their best to bring this African up to speed on the rules and objectives of gridiron. We played two pre-season warm-up games followed by five league games. And lost all seven encounters!
Myself I was kinda lost on the field, what without me specs! So here’s me: Myopically peering between the bars of the unfamiliar helmet at the glare of the night-time spotlights! Hello-o! Occasionally forgetting that I could be tackled or blocked even if the ball was way on the other side of the field! Ooof! Hey, what was that for?
At that point I thought: Five more weeks in America, five more games in the season, football practice four days a week, game nights on Fridays. I wanted out! There was so much I still wanted to do in Oklahoma and in preparing for the trip home. I went up to Coach Rick Hulett with trepidation and told him I wanted to quit football. Well, he wasn’t pleased, but he was gracious. We were a small team and needed every available man, how would they manage without me?
By winning every single one of the last remaining five games, that’s how!!
Coach Hulett won the Most Improved Coach Award and the team ended up with one of their best seasons for years!
I like to think the turnaround was in some small way helped by the way I cheered my former team-mates on from the sideline at the remaining Friday night games! Ahem . . .
I watched them home and away whenever I was free.