Whose shoulders have YOU ridden on?

by Rod Smith

Childhood: just under the surface

Last evening my boys and I were kicking a ball on the school field near our home and taking turns to be the goalie. The second I stepped between the posts I was back at Kingsmead, field 4, 1965. Northlands Primary was playing Southlands Primary at the end of hard soccer season.

In the crowd was the Mayor of Durban, The Honorable Trevor Warman, in support of his son, Anthony Warman. I knew this because from where I stood urgently protecting the goals, I could see “NDC 1”, the black Rolls Royce parked at the far end of the field.

Minutes from the end of the game Southland’s formidable wing, Johnny McGregor, dribbled the ball from Mark Tovey, only to also outpace defenders Michael Quinn and Malcolm Mercer and come sprinting down center field to send the ball right through my legs and into the goal.

Forty-five years later I can feel the embarrassment of that moment. But more important than my moment of humiliation, once the whistle sounded the end of the game, the mayor himself came onto the field, hoisted me onto his shoulders and carried me off the field as if I had indeed won, and not lost, the game at all.

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