Sport / Columnists

Jon Swift
3 minute read
5 Sep 2017
1:09 pm

Kankowski brings some John Wayne to Ellis Park

Jon Swift

Though his training is that of an engineer, Dave the Silent more often than not will adopt a lateral line of thought rather than the linear approach which is one of the prerequsites of his profession.

Jon Swift

He is as likely to apply Hooke’s law of elasticity – formulated by 17th-century British physicist Robert Hooke – to rationalise his theory of “as the extension, so the force” to apply to the ebb and flow of a tight match, as he is to deviate wildly from the strict analysis of the pros and cons of attack and defence in the sporting arena.

And while it is true that the Silent One’s multi-faceted mental makeup does not always make for a readily understandable topic for the usual gathering, it does tend to get the assembly thinking. The Silent One had been presented with a wide open canvas on which to stretch his mind in the touch and go of the Currie Cup game between the Golden Lions and the Pumas at Ellis Park.

A self-proclaimed naif, in the inner arts of rugby – he is at heart a hikin’, huntin’ and fishin’ type of sportsman and has an array of guns, rods, and stout boots to back this up – he freely enters into the essence of the contest and has pledged his allegiance to the Lions along with the majority of those who regularly come together to watch and debate sport.

But then, you have to factor in that his support on Manchester United in the English Premier League is based on a similar premise. “I think,” said the Silent One in the wake of the Lions snatching a 29-28 win against the Pumas, “that the best way to approach a rugby match is to watch it the same way you would a Western”. Hardly surprisingly, this had the immediate effect of striking those within the sound of his voice into a kind of dumb gap in comprehension. “Let me explain,” he continued.

“If you follow the script of a good old John Wayne ‘we are all in this together’ movie rather than the solitary type of one-man-alone Clint Eastwood Western, you will begin to get the drift.

“The classic scenario is that a bunch of good guys, in this case the Lions, band together to repel in invaders like the Pumas taking it away from them. “The good guys are not necessarily adept at any of the skills of the gunslingers they face – and this is particularly true of a young, inexperienced Lions side who find themselves in much the same position as their senior side did when they were kicked out of Super Rugby in 2013, but remain determined to head the invaders off at the pass.

“There is also the kind of hint they will prevail early on as happened when skipper Ryan Kankowski crashed over for the opening try in the first minute.

“And as the plot develops and the battle rages, the unexpected begins to happen, much like the classic scene when Wayne, involved on a classic saloon dust-up, punches his henchman straight through the plate glass window.

“On the seat of his pants on the sidewalk, he asks: ‘What did you do that for?’ Wayne glances over his shoulder and says: ‘Go get the horses.’

“It was fitting then in a John Wayne sort of way, that it was Kankowski who landed the final blow in the final minutes which settled matters and for those Lions supporters among us – the good guys won.”

In a strange way, it all made sense … and was certainly more apposite to the situation than Hooke’s law of elasticity.