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Cape Town over 70s Field Hockey Players

Dear friends and followers of my blog,

Re: Cape Town over 70s Field Hockey Players

I recently took part in our IPT Field Hockey tournament in Cape Town over the long weekend. My Western Province team which is a team of mainly 70 + year olds played four matches over that weekend. We did not lose a match and played in the finals sharing the honours with Southern Gauteng. I gave a mindful or meditative talk before each match. The team quite liked the idea of it and the coach asked me to give the same talk each day. But every match and each day is different, so each day my talk became different depending on our stuation and that of the opposition.

It seemed to morph from  a mindful reflective talk, to introspection and finally to a rousing praise poem. In the final poem it end with “fight, fight fight!” You may wonder at that but the thought of saying that came from my son-in-law who listened to an interview given by Gary Anderson the Formula 1 journalist who suggested that competing to win often worked against a team, he suggested that all you should set out to do in the field is to fight every inch of the way.

Enjoy, and consider joining our hockey team if you are old enough.


In our first match. Before the Western Province White 70 team vs Southern Gauteng match which we won 1-Nil

Which was played at Constantiaberg

The dressing room

On Blessing – a blessing is in the subjunctive voice – it expresses something about the future, and almost always begins with “May”. It is inviting the future that you desire to come to you. It is sort of rolling out a red carpet before you and inviting you to walk trustingly into the future. Remember the Irish blessing, “May the road rise up to meet you”. Many of you will know the blessings of church and synagogue and mosque

May you play hard and well today

May you breathe rhymically

May you enjoy the breath

Into your lungs and your body’s

swift and slow movements

May you surprise yourself

With stick and ball and cunning swivel

May you smile a lot as you play

May you feel the encouragement

Of your team and coach

And when all is accomplished

May you relax and laugh

As you sink into the pleasure

Of the beer-festing with friends.

The next day our match against Western Province 70 Blue team at Wynberg Girls School. This team had beaten us 3-1 in a practice game. I was now asked to give a reflection. Western province were proudly able to put together two 70 teams for the tournament.

Before the match in the shade


Today remember that yesterday

We became a successful squad

Now we carry a value on our shirts

Which the other teams do not have yet

Remember the badge of value is team work

And a friendly spirit that is our vision

So today we play deeply, astutely

May we play every moment of today with new vigour.

May we know that the play never stops as we move forward.

May our stopping be a full stop,

        and our hitting and slapping be crisp and clear,

driven by our intention.

May our marking be what we have learnt and our calling

     to each other carry no irritation but a focus of purpose.

May our strikers find the net in moments of opportunity

and recover quickly to join the wave upon wave

       of our play,

the tide our team that keeps coming, inexorably.

Our third match is against the Kwa Zulu Natal 65 team. Oh so much stronger than us. Younger than us, faster than us, wiser than us? How well they slap a ball! The odds are against us but we have a plan. For a good few of us they are younger by 10 years. So what does the poet find it in the self to say?

Team Talk 3

I want people to play better than they do.  
To give a crisp pass,

To see me, to look up, to look ahead
To decide more quickly,
To hear my call,
To allow me to use my skills,
I can see them,
Fact is I cannot see me
Then when it matters,
I mess up,
I must learn that I am here
Old as I am
To be open to the miracle
That I can be this team
That I can run and use a stick with great accuracy
Like the first people’s of our race
To defend myself, my field, my tribe,
The wonder is that I am here to play
To give myself to every moment of the game.
So let us go out today
And enjoy this miracle of the game
Let us play to play.

So may you play today

With a sparkling sense

Of wonder and amazement that is you..

Our Goalkeeper Ian Richter, after a 77 year lifetime of tournaments at all levels, for the first time kept a clean slate. No goals scored against him in this 2023 SAGHMA IPT. He has set a new standard for himself!..

Final Talk

We are in the final. We will play Southern Gauteng, the team we beat 1-Nil in the first game. They will seek revenge and will want to win. We are old rivals. Our players are tired. Are four matches over a long weekend too much for us oldies? A few of us have tweaked hamstrings. No one complains or asks to stand down.

In this Reflection I move around and look at players and say these things. It is in the nature of an African praise poem.

We have come through to the heights of this competition,

there is memory, and storytelling for future days
We have our heroes and flashes of great hockey.
So we will share these with our younger player.
We have already beaten Southern Gauteng.

We don’t even want to play them again.
They are on the rise..
Are we now to wane?
Remember Western Province hockey is on the ascent
We will not let them down
So what will we do?
No we will not just be competitive to play to win.
No we will not do that.
Competition is for those who are immature

 and want to prove themselves.
The ego wildly saying look at me.
No that is not who we are.
Instead we will be hockey players
We will use our sticks like the ancient ancestors,
Like Brothers John, and Fanie, and Bobby and H,
Who fought every moment of yesterday.
We will fight as survivors of old,
To protect the field, the brotherhood, the team,
We will chase back
We will hassle and jab our sticks
And then we will chase after them
Until they surrender to our will to survive
So let us go out and meet  our foe
And show them what value we place upon our team.
Let us go out and fight against all odds.

Yesterday was play,

Today is fight. Fight fight flight
What do we do?
We fight, fight, fight!

We Shared First Place with Southern Gauteng

photographs by Rod Douglas

2 comments on “Cape Town over 70s Field Hockey Players

  1. Absolutely delightful! I loved the meditations and the pictures. ongratulations!


  2. petercharlesfox says:

    This is remarkable Bob Thanks for sharing If only we could get our politicians and leaders to act and respond in similar spirit !!It’s so vital that you are part of this team –I’ve just read Sarita s book–remarkable account of her faith journey and life and so well written by Sally and Margie

    Palm Sunday blessings to you and Daphne


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