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Antwerp, Hockey and Chocolate

July Reflection 2018: Antwerp

I have just returned from two weeks hockey playing in Belgium. Our South African grand-master over 70s team was there for the European Cup. Not being Europeans we played in the Trophy Cup and came 5th in our league.

We did surprisingly well! We lost 1-0 to England and were by no means outplayed by them. We drew 1-1 with the Alliance team and we were beaten 3-1 by the Netherlands. The Netherlands is a top hockey playing country. We outplayed them in the first half, but slumped in the second. In the play-offs we beat Alliance Reds 3-1, and went on to beat that same Netherlands team 2-1. This was the first time we had beaten a major hockey playing country and we were pleased and impressed with our play.

Apart from my hockey contributions, I provided some poetry to inspire our warriors:

There were of course other passages from more famous people, like Henry V and Maria Rilke.

Let us rise up now

Let us waken our consciousness

Let us beat our sticks and hearts  

To the rhythms of ancient Africa –

We call on the primeval warriors within us

To keep us focussed

To win the goal ahead

  • The libation of beer with friends

But Antwerp was a feast of beautiful architecture, towering medieval churches and open squares with restaurants where the whole community gathered to eat, to walk and play. It is a city of cyclists, of mums and dads with babies and children, all on the move. And how safe it all seemed for people to be carefree and out at night, and young women especially on their bikes.

The Square
Great doors of the Antwerp Cathedral

 The cathedral was a treasure house of so much history, stained glass and huge paintings by the Flemish artists, the Van Ecks and Rubens. The Ruben’s House was a walk-through story of the painting of Belgium.

The hockey matches gave us enough time to visit the sights of Antwerp, and even to spend the day in Bruge. It must be the most beautiful architectural city in Europe. And in the cathedral we saw Michelangelo’s Mother and Child, the only one outside of Italy.

Were we inspired? Are you inspired by our band of 70 year olds? So keep walking, and engaging your passions for “the world offers itself to your imagination”.

There was so much to inspire us especially the Belgium chocolates!

Bob Commin July 2019

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