Boys will be boys at sporting events

Siya Kolisi. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Boys will be boys, as the old saying goes, but old boys from two top Rondebosch schools are getting it in the neck for their “overzealous and sometimes inappropriate spectatorship” at school sporting events.

Before last weekend’s derby of 57 matches between Rondebosch and Bishops, members of Rondebosch Old Boys’ Union received letters requesting them “to behave in the spirit” of the recently launched #Onside campaign and its honour code designed to remind them of the “longstanding and worthy values that underpin the best traditions of school sport”.

The main “nots” mentioned in the letter were:

Do not bring or drink alcoholic beverages during a school event – it’s against the law.

Do not “storm the field” to celebrate a victory. You are spectators, not school boys. The school teams want to shake hands and thank the officials – then celebrate on the field with their fellow school boys.

The spraying of alcohol in post-match celebrations by a few old boys is not only illegal, it is particularly insulting to Muslim boys and certain other religious groups.

The honour code was initiated by two Old Boys – David Becker, a world-renowned sports lawyer (Rondebosch) and Matthew Pearce, the well-known rugby commentator (Bishops).

They were determined to reverse the trend of bad behaviour they were tired of seeing on and off the field at sporting events.

They hope their code will be rolled out to schools across South Africa with Bishops and Rondebosch taking the lead.

Both old boys’ associations have been encouraged by the support from parents, old boys, pupils and also Springbok rugby captain, Siya Kolisi for the drive for better behaviour on and off the field. CapeTalk, which also supports the initiative, reported recently that such was the pressure on schoolboy rugby players that some were taking “veterinary cortisone” to improve their game.

Last weekend’s 57 matches including rugby, hockey, football and squash, would have created big thirsts for many old boys. The good news – also included in the letter – was where they could enjoy a cold beer or two without breaking either the law or the honour code.

Something borrowed

A reader who knows the history of this area wrote to tell me that I must correct the reference in the May 31 column, in which I had expressed joy to see the river flowing again in the Tokai plantation.

She said the “river” was in fact the man-made Prinskasteel Canal.

It had been dug by Mr PM Eksteen who had bought Dennendal in 1802. As the Dennendal area had outspan sites, it was necessary that water running to an outpost and outspan had to be clear for human and animal consumption. A canal was the inevitable solution. So he borrowed money to dig the canal.

In the late 1880s the English extended the Prinskasteel Canal to the south-eastern corner, when they began plantations in today’s Lower Tokai Park, to irrigate the young saplings in the sand. The trees were still not able to grow and eventually they planted it together with wattles and acacias trees – therefore the establishing date of the plantations gogoes back to the 1889, 1890 even 1892.

Twin talent

Reading about how in 2015 Gift Kelehe and his brother Andrew became the first South African twin brothers to win the Comrades reminded me how years ago a different set of twin brothers had tried to pull off the same achievement but on one shared entry, ie by cheating.

In 1999 Sergio Motsoeneng ran the first 45 minutes of the marathon before he and his twin, Fika, exchanged vests and shoes in a mobile toilet along the route. They again swapped later in the race so Motsoeneng could finish in 9th position with prize money of nearly 
R6 000. However, as Robbie Burns said in his poem To a Mouse “the best- laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft a-gley”. A sharp-eyed news photographer, possibly tipped off that the twins were up to something, noticed they were wearing watches on opposite wrists and took a photograph which was published. Through his lawyer, Sergio admitted guilt, saying his actions were those of a desperate man from a poverty-stricken family. The brothers were later suspended for 10 years from taking part in any race by the Comrades Marathon Association.

In 2010, 11 years after his ban, Motsoeneng took part in the Comrades and finished third. This time an unknown banned substance was found in his system. After failing two tests, he lost all chance of claiming his gold medal and prize money of R90 000.

He maintains his innocence and claims he has never used drugs.

The prestige and prize money of the Comrades makes cheating attractive. Officials this year were on the lookout for the “park and ride gang” who drive part of the route and run the rest. However, any runner who did not cross all the mats would be in for serious trouble.

Greener grass

What a joy to see green fields and green grass again on the N7 route to Langebaan.

The journey is 9km longer than the R27 but quicker because we avoid all the traffic lights through Milnerton and Blouberg.

Irregular users of the West Coast National Park will be shocked to find four speed bumps have been built in the park, possibly with more to come. The plan is to make motorists drive slowly through the whole park and stop the speedsters from killing the animals.

Talkaholic

When asked how he got on with his mother-in-law, the newly-wed admitted he had not spoken to her for months. He didn’t like to interrupt her.

fionachisholm@iafrica.com