The first False Bay RFC Club100 Cheese and Wine evening of 2016 took place last Thursday with former Springbok captain Theuns Stofberg as guest speaker.
Chairman Dr Gareth Jones addressed the near full house before introducing our celebrated guest. He touched on the challenges of running a modern day rugby club and the importance of sponsorship within that gambit. Club100 members contribute in no small measure to the club reaching their commitments, which extend far beyond salaries and wages. By example he cited items seldom considered in any after game drinks conversations, such as water and electricity, medical services, even field-marking.
Doc thanked our anchor sponsor, DirecAxis, for their continued support and urged attendees to consider them for their financing requirements. He also introduced Daisy Telecoms, a subsidiary of Canon, as our secondary sponsor. Vincent, Area Manager for Daisy Telecoms, addressed the gathering to introduce some of the services available to members and supporters of False Bay RFC via Daisy Telecoms. These include PABX, copiers and broad based communications systems. Again our members are urged to offer Daisy Telecoms the opportunity to quote on any related purchases.
The 2016 False Bay shirts were launched on Thursday evening. All teams in the club will wear a universal strip. The only exception will be the FIFO Fifths who have a variation partly due to competing in the same league as the Fourths, requiring differentiation.
Graham Knoop, Captain of the First XV addressed the audience, sharing some of the ethos behind the Senior Squad’s modus operandi. Interestingly he observed that what is visible to the spectator in terms of spirit, onfield performance etc, amounts to scarcely 10% of the effort poured into the squad’s endeavours.
Upon unfurling the shirt, he described the recognition of the club’s establishment in 1929 and the sheer volume of the history attached to what could quite easily be treated as a number. He said that in essence each player has undertaken to respect the wearers of the shirt before him, the pride and passion attached to that chronological heritage, and to leave that number in a better state that when he received it, ensuring progress.
To this end the digits “1929” will be embroidered on the bottom left of each shirt.
With this he rejoined his team mates on the practice field, leaving guests to ponder the obvious passion of the entire playing group at False Bay RFC. This intimate sharing of attitude and ethos brought many a little closer to the team.
Doc Jones then set about introducing Theuns Stofberg, who played 21 Tests for South Africa and many more Provincial games for WP and Freestate. His Test record is especially remarkable considering SA’s limited participation in International rugby because of the Sports Embargo.
Even more remarkable was the fact that Theuns was a chronic stutterer, yet captained his province and country with aplomb.
Theuns took the microphone and what followed was an enthralling hour of humour and deep personal introspection in dealing with being a stutterer. He is a remarkable man, a rugby great who mastered his affliction to inspire those around him. His honesty was disarming, and even though he regaled about rugby in his day, he always came back to being a stutterer and the challenges surrounding sufferers. He succeeded in helping others understand the challenges of the process happening to a sufferer during a conversation.
Even though his parents had done everything in their power to help him as a youngster, he finally overcame his challenge after attending a speech therapist as an adult (WP and Springbok captain at that).
His poignant story had a powerful message attached. After months of therapy, his professor said it was now time to test himself in front of an audience. When he entered, he was faced by a room full of nursing sisters, every male stutterer’s nightmare. He forged ahead and at the end was asked by his therapist what he thought was his percentage of stutters during his speech. Theuns said more than 90% but to his utter surprise it was merely 18%. “Focusing on the negative made me believe I had stuttered over far more than 90% of my speech, yet it was merely 18%”, he said. “And that can be equated to our attitude here in South Africa”, he continued. “We think the negative is all-encompassing yet it is a small percentage”.
At the end of this interesting presentation, Theuns offered his literally hot off the press autobiography (collected from the printers that day) for sale. The queue which immediately formed was ample proof of the true legend that Theuns Stofberg is, many later seen to be carrying two or more signed copies.