Let’s stop worrying until Monday


Let’s stop worrying until Monday

In the midst of wars, scary politics and madness, LOUIS DE VILLIERS focuses on people's accomplishments instead.


I ALWAYS turn to the sports section first. The sports page records people's accomplishments; the front page has nothing but man's failures.

This quote is attributed to Earl Warren and, despite his shortcomings, this US Supreme Court chief justice and governor of California was one of those old-fashioned American Republicans who could have eaten with a knife and fork if he had to.

It has always been the same with me. When I learnt to read, there was always a BJ on the front page and an HO on the back.

These people:

Lees hierdie artikel in Afrikaans:

Can you therefore blame a child who liked to read from back to front?

It was in Die Burger.

Die Afrikanermouthpiece at the time for Albert Hertzog's even more narrow-minded Herstigte National Party, known for its pure Afrikaans — called HO “Henry" de Villiers and BJ Vorster “Jolly Johnny", a probable reference to the fact that it was not only hay fever that caused his red nose.

As a nine-year-old, I found both delightful.


The lights just went out in my mostly idyllic neighbourhood and we haven't had running water since yesterday morning. It was over 30°C today and I feel sticky all over. I had to clean up dog diarrhoea in the dark (he got hold of half a salami) and washed my hands in KwaSizabantu's controversial mineral water, all that was available at the garage.

On the TV news, Vladimir Putin is threatening World War 3, Donald Trump is warning of a bloodbath if he does not win the US election and at home Jacob Zuma's MK Party has seemingly caught every single politician with their pants down. 

But as the old-testamentish Audrey Blignault, or was it Habakkuk, would say:


Because it's the weekend and I'm fortunately childlike and/or childish enough to convince myself for about 48 hours that sports matter, I can turn off my brain and only worry on Monday about the world's political and economic leaders and their muddled followers.


Last weekend, for example, I became engrossed in, of all things, the Indian Wells tennis tournament.

Spectacular setting in the mountains with a tennis complex that looks like something out of a good sci-fi PlayStation game.

Indian Wells is the so-called “fifth grand slam" because both men and women are in action and it has a lot of prestige. As I am one of those “Goodness Louis, do you always have to" kind of people, I was soon itching to know more about the town and its origins.

First Nation Americans, the “Indians", were driven away a long time ago. Out of the 4,757 inhabitants, only 20 were “Indians" according to the last census; 93% were non-Latino white and 50% older than 65.

Doesn't quite sound like one helluva party.

The tennis centre has 28 courts, the largest of which seats more than 16,000, almost four times the population of the town — although I doubt that many of those 20 “Indian" or 29 black residents could afford tickets for the final.

Nevertheless, it was great to watch, as Carlos Alcaraz was on form for the first time since Wimbledon, beating Jannik Sinner and Andrei Medvedev en route to the title.

Sinner initially thrashed him, and a three-hour rain break probably saved Alcaraz's bacon, but the game offered hope to those of us looking for fresh faces. Sinner and Alcaraz are probably going to entertain us like Federer and Nadal did back in the day; Novak Djokovic still has enough get-up-and-go for a last hurrah or two, but maybe there will be someone somewhere who can take over from him soon.

And then it will start all over again. Blessed as we were to see Federer, Nadal and Djokovic play at the same time, one gets tired of seeing the same faces on opposite sides of the net.

In a decade, I will probably be lamenting that I'm fed up with Sinner's red hair and Alcaraz's pimple scars, but I'll start worrying about that then. Putin, Trump and Netanyahu may mean we will no longer have tennis tournaments or even weekends by that time.

But for now, this year's tournaments at Roland Garros and Wimbledon look unmissable thanks to the 37-year-old Serbian who will not simply bow the knee to his younger opponents.


However, my biggest joy last week came from a much more unexpected source when Sanzaar boss Brendan Morris announced that the Rugby  Championship will be dramatically refreshed in 2026.

The addition of Japan and Fiji will cause a slight dilution initially, but in return we will have to watch the Wallabies less and in the meantime we can start licking our lips for a proper All Blacks tour, with week games and all, two seasons from now.

The Boks will then undertake a similar tour to New Zealand in 2030.

Everyone from us old geezers to Gen Z will surely be slightly excited about this prospect.

If the world's rugby bosses can now just sort out the rules and get hold of decent accountants for the finances, the sport might even have a bright future, against all expectations.


In addition, Italy finally played good rugby for almost an entire tournament.

Had they been a bit more focused against England and if the ref hadn't done them in against France, they could easily have won four out of their five games, but their superb win over Wales mean the Azzurri are now eighth in the world rankings.

The poor old Taffies are at number 10, the lowest they've ever been, with the Wallabies ninth. Of course, it doesn't help much to empower two or three emerging rugby powers while two big ones are completely buggered.

But it will hopefully put a stop to any dreams of the Boks joining the Six Nations. Let our regions play against the Europeans and our Test team against the southern hemisphere, then you get the best of both.


And, as much as I respect the Crusaders, a Capetonian can't help but smile inwardly at the fact that this great region has lost all four of its league games so far in this year's so-called “Super" rugby. 

Whose jersey are the Cape Crusaders going to wear now to irritate me?

And the day after tomorrow, M-Net is showing the first of five episodes of Chasing The Sun 2. I expect jubilation and even a tear or two. On Monday I will take note again of Gaza and Ukraine and all our local villains; first it's time for braaivleis! Rugby! Sunshine! And uhm, well, Kia Picanto.


Speaking of three-hour rain showers at Indian Wells, Albert Hammond lied to us at the time:

And speaking of First Nation Americans:

And speaking of Sunshine, remember the sunscreen:

Let's worry about everything else on Monday.


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