The kayak rolling clinic and polo held at the formerly "coldest pool in Joburg" were successfully completed without any major injuries, drownings or incidents.
After the swimming pool caretaker was finally persuaded that ESSA had indeed booked the Wits pool for the day and unlocked the gate for enthusiastic kayak-carrying groupies, there was no messing about and boats were immediately launched. While some watched safety videos on the side, others showed off some impressive kayak manoeuvres never seen by the Wits community (and some ESSA members) before. Other less experienced (and at times nervous) pre-kayakers were coaxed into the 24 degree water and sorted out in in varying degrees.
The kayak polo was started a bit later by an official reading of the rules to about 4 people (1 of which was a spectator and another the referee), while the other 10 players were blissfully practicing dirty tricks at the other side of the pool. Players were sorted out (loosely) in colour-coded sides and the game began with general chaos, splashing, sabotage of boats, paddles and players (ermmm Paul Marais featured well here), disregarding of the referee(s), and at times saving of opposing team members by graceful and good-hearted players (about 1 individual). At the end of about 6 chuckers (polo rounds) of varying lengths, there was some disagreement about the score and announcement of the winning team, but the exhausted players seemed more intent on catching their breaths and establishing peace and equilibrium after the brutality of the game, and did not take on the referee(s) or spectators on the score.
A lot of Thanks and hugs to the following people:
a.. Tony, Jono and Frank for bringing, sorting out and taking back the gear
b.. Hugh, Jono, Tony, Chris M. and others for giving tips, encouragement, lessons on the finer details of kayak rolls and reassuring more feeble pre-kayakers like myself that one's chances of drowning while bailing from one's boat in the Wits pool are remote
c.. Scott & Caryn for providing the drinks (and a tent in case it rained and would have kept 4 people dry, or in the event that someone wanted to sleep over at the Wits pool for some bizarre reason). Also for bribing the caretaker with beer.
d.. Claire, Andrew and Nicolas for blowing the whistle and trying to portray the general demeanour of stoic & experienced polo referees
e.. Chris K., Frank, Caryn and Marna for enthusiastic support of whatever team was winning
f.. For everyone who came, entertained and carried stuff around
g.. For the usual Sunday Wits pool swimmers for keeping out of the way of ESSA and saving their own skin