I have had the privilege of spending many hours discussing cricket with Gustav, solving all of CSA’s problems, and have also had the opportunity of playing alongside him in our annual 2-day cricket match for many years, so I thought it would only be fitting to highlight his time at Maties Sport with some cricketing analogies.
“The Pitch” – the cricket match is played on a 17,68m pitch. It can single handedly determine the outcome of the match. At some venues the pitch is dry, dusty, and conducive to spin bowling favoring the bowling team, at other venues the pitch resembles the N1 highway and is more favorable to the batting team. The pitch could be compared to Maties Sport – no matter what the pitch conditions are on a specific day, a batsman is required to play his or her best shots for the team, and I certainly feel that Gustav has played many good shots for the Maties Sport family on pitches that sometimes favored the bowling team more than the batting team. He has always given his best effort for the team, along the way dodging bouncers and yorkers, dushras, and googlies all while occupying the crease and playing exquisite cover drives when given the opportunity to.
“The Cricket Captain” – the captain of a cricket team is one that has an enormous amount of influence on his or her teammates. A captain with a calm demeanor can help reduce anxiety amongst the team in a tense match situation when you are 6 wickets down for 50 runs or a captain with a fighting spirit can help to inspire his/her team to greatness when they appeared to be down and out needing to take 9 wickets to win a match on day 5 of a Test Match. Gustav, in his leadership role at Maties Sport, has always brought a unique perspective to challenges Maties Sport might be facing. He has always showed a calm head and had a clear perspective, and who can ever forget his uncanny way of getting his point across with words one needs to go and look up in the dictionary after a meeting.
“Test Match Cricket” – Test Match Cricket is the purist form of the game, the ultimate test of a cricketer’s skill and mental fortitude. It is the format over the longest duration and is considered the highest standard of the game; crickets Holy Grail. Each team plays four innings in a match, with matches lasting up to 5-days in length. The game is all about staying in the game. Gustav’s time at Maties Sport has been nothing short of a 5-day Test Match – he has stood the test of time and has shown that it is not about scoring fast but about lasting till the end and we thank him for the many hours he has dedicated to helping Maties Sport move forward.
“A Century” – a century means a batsman scoring 100 runs. It is a significant landmark in the career of a cricketer and is celebrated by the batsman raising their bat and taking off their helmet. Even if the match is lost, a century is a marked achievement. So even as Gustav is leaving us, and Maties Sport is losing a great asset, his departure teaches us about the importance of celebrations like the one we are having here today. Even with all the pressure and hectic days at the office and at home, we need to take off our helmet of burden and take a moment to celebrate all that we achieve on a daily basis, and for Gustav, all that you have achieved during your “century” at Maties Sport. I think its appropriate the helmet and gloves come off now, and you raise your bat to a great century at Maties Sport.
Goosie, you have had a good first innings with the bat and the ball – there have been many sixes and fours and many 5-fers over the years and I wish you all of the best for your second innings in Edinburgh. May there be many centuries and 10-fers over the next few years, and very few golden ducks.
By Grant van Velden