Infernal Option

 I recently received and watched a DVD entitled ‘Neville Isdell supports UCT Rugby with $1 million donation.’

In 16 minutes the UCT Communications and Publicity Department has captured the buzz and optimism surrounding this stellar event. Neville and Max Price eloquently outline the background to the donation and the inspirational goal it embodies; a new multi- purpose UCT sports facility, spearheaded by rugby, near enough to the main campus to enable all students to enjoy the benefits.
 
It seems a long time ago that the Ikey Tigers made us all so proud of their fantastic achievement of winning the 2011 Varsity Cup Competition, in the face of some huge obstacles. We have all talked about them over and over again; lack of secure funding, poor home ground facilities leading to having to play the really big games in foreign, hostile territory. Equally, we have all extolled the virtues of a dedicated team of highly skilled coaches, conditioning experts, inspired by Dr. Tim Noakes, management of the squad by leaders in our rugby community, and a squad who grew in stature from a bunch of young men most of whom had barely emerged from the under 20 ranks when the competition kicked off, to a very special team which will go down in the annals of UCT rugby as one of the UCT rugby teams which achieved great heights. All of this on a shoestring budget.
 
Another inspirational initiative was launched during the competition. A group of dynamic, young ex UCT players put together a fresh approach to securing ongoing funding for the everyday expenses of running the UCT Rugby Club, aptly named it the IKEY FOUNDATION, and set about raising money in a fresh and innovative manner from the broader UCT rugby community.
 
In the space of a few months, an amazing transformation took place. The Varsity Cup Competition was on everybody’s lips; the manner and style in which the Ikey Tigers made their determined way to the final, whether one should or should not sign up with the Ikey Foundation, and how best should Neville Isdell’s generous donation be spent. It was electric to see the energy poured into the UCT rugby cause by so many people in such a short space of time. The culmination was the winning of the coveted trophy, and an infectious optimism surrounding the sustainability of the UCT Rugby Club without losing its special values and rugby philosophy.
 
Now that the dust of euphoria has settled back on the events and demands of everyday, it is time to reflect where we stand on the way forward. The UCT Rugby Club is doing sterling work in the background researching the alternative venue for the new rugby facility. The Ikey Foundation is forging ahead raising money through marketing membership of the foundation, and the Ikey Tigers are doing reasonably well in the tough league competition.
 
On the flip side of the coin, almost nine months after the concept of a new, much better rugby facility was hatched by a group of UCT rugby men, focused around Neville’s inspirational donation, the baby is a long way from delivery. No finality is in sight as to the location of the new venue. The bedrock funding of R7 million is securely in place, but that is a very long way from the R20 million needed to bring the dream to fruition. The realistic goal is to have a suitable rugby facility ready by early 2013.
 
Just as a group of remarkable men and women refused to let the overwhelming odds stacked against them in late 2010 deter them, and achieved the remarkable by the 11th April, 2011, now is the time for a similar effort by the same group of people, with some additional help, to achieve the next remarkable feat.
 
I humbly submit that a select committee of men and women from all the parts of the rugby club, players, coaches, management, conditioning personnel, Ikey Foundation, elder statesman and expert outside advisors, be convened as soon as possible to hold a day long think tank to establish unity of purpose on how to achieve the end goal in the time frame of 20 months from now. The committee should be as small as is practicable to make it workable, and should not have to meet more than twice in the next three months. A suitable Chairman is required to hold the committee together in a constructive manner, and to communicate where necessary with the university authorities. 
Now is the time for radical thought and radical action.
 
‘He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils; for time is the greatest innovator.’
 
Francis Bacon, of Innovations, 1625
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