Jimmy finally proved me right


Jimmy finally proved me right

Greece is melting, North America is burning, Johannesburg is exploding and there are wars and ... So, yes, I find comfort in people who throw, kick and hit balls, writes TINUS HORN.


TRIGGER warning: I am dedicating this week's column exclusively to sport. If you are allergic to it, drink a glass of water and go for a walk.

It was my mom's one and only cure when she detected sadness in me, or rather sullenness, like the time after the delightful Willemien Jooste said no thank you when I invited her to the school movie in Standard 8.

Correction: Willemien said, “Don't be silly."

But why sport this week? Well, Greece is melting and North America is burning and Johannesburg is exploding and there are wars and ... So, yes, I find comfort in people who throw, kick and hit balls.

Is this okay with you?

When you write about sports, uncalled-for other topics always pop up, such as joy of life, glory, groupies, adultery, anger, sweet revenge, tears, shoulder operations, family feuds, rigging, getting old, rejection, unfulfilled dreams, life after death and, last but not least, 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner.

I can't promise I'll get to all of them today. Actually, one should write a soap opera about it. Oh, wait. Someone already has.

It's only fair that I warn you in advance that my predictions are not always to be trusted. Take this incident, about 15 years ago.

Someone I'd never heard of before called me out of the blue and invited me for a cup of coffee in Melville.

He'd heard from someone, who in turn had heard from someone, that I used to be a rugby writer and later a soap writer, and they wondered if I might be interested in coming up with stories for a new TV series.

I agreed to the meeting, on the condition of adding a chocolate muffin to the mix, and we had a nice chat. The idea, which already had the buy-in of a TV channel, was a drama series set in the rugby world.

I gave a little smile and shook my head. No thanks, not for me. A cracker without lift-off if I ever heard of one. This, of course, only after I ordered a second muffin.

Well, it's seven seasons and hundreds of episodes later. I reckon if I had said yes that day, I could have saved Absa, Nedbank, the optometrist, the dentist and the Wishy Washy a lot of time. Don't they get tired of the endless threatening letters, text messages and e-mails? Spoiler alert: no.

I should probably mention here that I was a hopeless soap writer, and probably would have been fired from my freelance position after the first month or two.

The problem is, I'm not good at bookkeeping and sums. I struggle to keep track of who has slept with whose wife, or is going to do so, or wishes they had. Hot tip: soap operas end when everyone has slept with everyone else's husbands and wives.

Anyway, if I had managed to master soap writing during my third try, I would have been lost to the glamorous world of drawing portraits at Hermanus farmer's market.

This brings me to James Anderson. When this little man appeared on the scene as England's new fast-bowling sensation, I gave him one look and knew: flash in the pan.

Big confession: I was more than a little jealous of his maroon grey lourie hairdo, and that may have subliminally affected my judgement. I started going bald when I was 12. At 13, I could walk into a pub without the bartender asking for my ID.

I remember my verdict about Anderson well. It was in the Sunday Times' sports office. I said it out loud, to everyone who wanted to hear or didn't want to hear, so that when I was proven right shortly afterwards, I would be able to say: “I told you so."

The auntie with the tea trolley just looked at me.

Now, 20 years and just under 700 test wickets later — the most for a fast bowler in the history of cricket — it seems to me that Jimmy has lost a bit of his zip. In the series against Australia he was already dropped once.

His birthday is on Sunday. He is turning 41. His career is clearly coming to an end. As I told you.

And in other news: I am now, after the beating by New Zealand, more convinced than ever that the Springboks are going to win the World Cup at a trot. That was one of Rassie's tricks to soothe the Boks' opponents.

My champagne is already on ice. 

But hey, if I were you, I'd put my money on France or Ireland upfront. Or the All Blacks. Basically any team that isn't the Springboks. You can thank me later.

♦ VWB ♦

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