Andy Scott is Chief Operating Officer of The Sports Trust. Here he takes us on a journey along the development of sports bodies for the disabled.
My real question is did we have a winter? If so when was it for I certainly missed it. I actually find myself penning this article on the 24th anniversary month of the snowfall in Gauteng (September 1981) and ironically in the same month (11th September 2001) we witness the 4th anniversary of the horrific devastation of the twin towers in New York City.
On the subject of weather and destruction, what has happened to my favourite city – New Orleans? I am as gutted as the “Big Easy”! I visited this glorious city in 1996 and returned in 2000 and on both occasions was so impressed by the friendly and very hospitable people. The “Funky Pirate” a small dive in Bourbon Street boasted the “Blues Makers”, probably the best blues band I have ever heard, the food was stunning, the city was so alive and the great Mississippi was so inviting for a steamboat cruise. May they restore this historic place, as the natural character it once possessed will be very difficult to replicate.
Yes, once again I have been out on the town and for fear of sounding like my dear friend Gwen Gill, can assure you that for the best Camembert cheese with gooseberries wrapped in a phyla pastry – on a mushroom sauce, look no further than the The Sandton Convention Centre where I attended three separate functions and that was the starter on all three occasions! Perhaps it’s the Chefs special or then again, perhaps it’s a very popular selection!
The first of the three functions was the Debis Fleet management “Hero of the Year awards” where as in 2004 I was privileged to be a member of the validation panel. As was the case last year, I was astounded at the level of bravery displayed by brave South Africans in the emergency services, how do you select a winner? The award went to Johan Botes who alongside his colleagues foiled a cash in transit heist and in the shoot-out that ensued, a vehicle from which one of the firing perpetrators was hiding behind burst into flames and trapped the shooter. Despite the difficult situation, our hero with his concern for human life rescued the villain, dragged him to safety and needless to say ensured that he ended up safely behind bars. Sounds very simple but would you have done it?
I then attended the Nike “10 years in SA” anniversary bash. What fascinated and impressed me so was the power and pride of this brand. It is not hard to appreciate why it has become such a global icon when you witness the way that they go about staging such a function which was handled as passionately as the way that they go about their business. I had the privilege of chatting to the world marathon record holder – Kenyan Paul Tergat. What a humble fellow he was, a fine example of “Just Do It” I must say.
My final fling was to the “Business Women of the Year Awards” a real showstopper that saw Mohla Hlahla the CEO of the Airports Company (ACSA) win from a powerful set of nominees. How sad though that in the ensuing days members of the public slammed the selection confusing ACSA for SAA who at that time were engrossed in their very tough strike action. My attendance together with my wife Eileen cracked the social pages so “Viva ladies Viva!” I have to admit that the newly announced Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka, stole the show. Her direct and often humorous speech, whilst off the cuff, was riveting and made sense in every way. Made me wonder if ever our crime-ridden land would ever enjoy a woman of this calibre at the helm, it would make a huge difference I am quite sure! Last word on ACSA – congratulations and thanks to them for signing a generous sponsorship deal supporting wheelchair tennis, good luck to both parties in this partnership.
Finally, my highlight of the year so far was the final (of three) finals in the Supersport Wheelchair Basketball Series which saw the Discovery Eagles lose their bridesmaid title and win the tournament for the first time by ousting the Namitech Bladerunners by 74 points to 71. Phew! What a breathtaking game to watch: the talent on display was awesome in the true sense of the word, a great ad for this wonderful game. Good luck to the National Team for the Vodacom challenge (Afro Arab Gold Cup qualifiers) to be played in Johannesburg in November this year.