Rector’s eNews – 09 November 2022/ Rector's eNews
On Saturday evening, the water polo teams had their annual awards dinner which, like the evening celebrating the success of the rugby teams on Friday night, was very well-arranged and an extremely happy occasion.
The guest speaker on Saturday was Martin Dreyer, whose prominence as a seven times Dusi Canoe Marathon winner will be well known to paddlers. Martin has had a fascinating and tough life: after leaving school and initially fishing on trawlers off the west coast of Canada for eight years, he clearly became incredibly fit. He returned to South Africa and achieved huge success in paddling as mentioned above before looking around him and deciding to invest his time in developing others. Martin founded a Not-for-Profit Organisation called the Change a Life Academy which seeks to identify talent in rural KwaZulu-Natal and to develop that talent in paddling, mountain biking and running. Martin provided and continues to provide equipment, nutrition, clothing, shoes and physiotherapy to aspirant sportsmen in order to see them succeed.
Thulani Mbangwa was the first Zulu man to win the K2 Duzi Champion Event, along with Martin, in 2008 and by 2015 eighteen Zulu men supported by Martin came in the top 50 of the Dusi – that is 36% of the Top 50 were under Martin’s aegis.
Martin continues to succeed personally in ultra-endurance events globally, often in the most atrocious conditions in the most obscure places, perhaps recollecting how much worse conditions might have been when working 18 hours a day off the coast of Canada and other such places. His most recent adventure was a non-stop, unsupported 1800km ride which he undertook as a pair with his wife along the old Silk Road through Kurgyzstan, armed only with a bicycle and a light tent.
Martin is a person who has given much of himself to others and we applaud his contribution to humankind. He was an inspiring speaker who has made and is making a difference to many lives with the Change a Life Academy. His brief message is that we all have the ability to make an impact on others: if you have two pairs of running shoes and only need one, why not put the second pair to good use? Therein lies his challenge to our boys.
There were two other notable and possibly unusual occurrences on Saturday; both of these were in the cricket fixtures against our arch-rivals, Hilton. In the U16A game, Jack Hughes got an edge to a delivery. There was a loud appeal and the umpire turned down the appeal, presumably being uncertain that Jack had snicked the ball. However, in the knowledge that he was out, Jack walked, an act of excellent sportsmanship. In a similar situation in our 2nd XI match on the Roy Gathorne Oval, a Hilton batsman was unintentionally impeded by one of our players when attempting a run and was, thus, run out. Though he had been given out by the umpire, our captain, Andrew Davis, called him back, another act of sportsmanship and what one would expect of a Michaelhouse boy.
Some may sneer at sportsmanship and take the view that “nice guys come second”. However, being fair and honest on the tennis court, on the golf course, in daily life, in business and elsewhere endorses the value system that most of us try to live by. We do not always succeed and it often takes such acts of honesty or sportsmanship to bring us back to a realisation of what is important in life.
Two Michaelhouse boys and one guest speaker demonstrated over the weekend what their approach to life is and the value system by which they are trying to live.