Sport / Columnists

Tamlyn Patterson
3 minute read
23 Mar 2017
3:51 pm

Ah, the magic of your local country club

Tamlyn Patterson

So, as a diehard Arsenal fan I should be writing about Wenger and his imminent departure from the club after 21 years … or not?

Tamlyn Patterson

But because nobody knows what the hell is going to happen, I’d rather just sit back and listen to all the speculation until something concrete comes to the fore. Will I be sad if the old man goes? Absolutely. Is his tenure over? I guess I’d have to say I suppose so. This as the division among Gunners fans grows by the minute.

The planes with contrasting banners flying over The Hawthorns last Saturday hurt almost as much as the 3-1 defeat to The Baggies. While poor old Wenger tries to reinvent himself as the huge announcement regarding his future looms, I also decided to get off my lazy butt and get back out there. Okay, it’s not the Emirates or anything, but my own kind of stomping ground, my haven where I get to unleash the competitive fire burning in my soul.

The desire to win has always been there even if it was during the 60m sprint as an eight-year-old way back when. And I guess that’s why I have this weird obsession with sport. Coming second is like being the first loser right? Every golf, tennis, squash and bowler will get where I’m coming from. The local country club is a special place, a home away from home – sometimes much needed.

Joining the Potch Tennis Country Club as a shy English-speaking 16-year-old in a mainly Afrikaans dorpie back in the mid-nineties feels like yesterday. But immediately I was made to feel at home. People would introduce themselves and their mouths would instantly drop open upon hearing the foreign reply.

Am I exaggerating a bit, yes, but over the years there was no place I’d rather be than at the club over a weekend. Wednesdays, Saturdays, round-robins, last-minute braais, club championships, you name it, the courts were also buzzing. But as we all know, in between life happens and the inevitable break from regular sports playing activity occurs and getting yourself to actually make the big comeback becomes more difficult with each stay away.

In the fear of becoming an absolute sloth with zero ambition, I recently decided to break the ice and hit some balls after nearly two years away from the court. What was initially just a casual session of knocking some balls about developed into a fully-fledged Saturday afternoon playing doubles with the regulars. Six sets later and a couple of Transact plasters and Panamor tablets and I was OK, well kind of. Oh, the joys of getting old. Thanks Roger, we don’t feel useless at all.

Having a drink on the stoep, as it is affectionately known on Monday night, hit home. Like why had I stayed away all this time? There sat all my golf buddies and of course I couldn’t escape the “are you still drinking Red Squares?” question. Ginseng and vodka aside, tennis is a start. Golf, I somehow don’t think so. Life is hard enough.

So if like me, you’ve found it easier to stay away and look for reasons not to go back to something you once lived for, get back on the horse. Up to now, the ride has been nothing but damn worthwhile.