Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 28, No. 7. 1965.
Keep Them Apart: Sports and Politics
Fairly soon we are to be visited by a South African rugby team. A proportion of the community have protested against this tour on the grounds that "South Africa has a colour bar and we shouldn't have anything to do with such a country." These protests have been countered with the accusation that "boycotting the Springboks is bringing politics into sport." Neither of these statements are logical, nor are they in the best interests of sport.
Strictly speaking, sport is "the practice of skilful recreation." But sport has come to mean much more than that. The idea of fair play is a fundamental tenet of sport, and so is the idea that anybody can participate in sport regardless of country, colour or creed. The idea of respect for your opponent comes into it, and so does the idea that sport can provide a common meeting ground for people of different ways of life.
The influence of sport is wide. Sports news is assiduously reported in the daily press and is probably read more than international news. Prominent sportsmen become national or even international figures. The holding of an Olympic games is much sought after, even though the cost may be phenomenal, because of the prestige thus conferred upon a city. It is not surprising that politicians have seized upon sport as a means of promoting their own policies.
A case in point was the Fourth Asian Games held in Djakarta, Indonesia. Because of political pressure from the Indonesian Government neither Israel nor Formosa were invited to take part. As well as this, the games had a political label attached—Games of the New Emergent Forces, or Ganefo. The final result was that the International Olympic Council suspended Indonesia indefinitely—a suspension that carried over to the Tokio Olympics— for violation of the Olympic Charter, which forbids discrimination against any country or persons for racial, religious or political reasons.
Another country under suspension by the IOC was South Africa. The reason was violation of the same part of the Olympic Charter—i.e., that in the selection of South African Olympic teams people of a certain racial background had been discriminated against.
The organisation of sport in South Africa is rather complex. A fairly objective description is given by Richard Thompson in his book "Race and Sport," published by the Oxford University Press. Briefly, sport is run along strictly racial lines, and for each sport there exists a white association and a non-white association. This follows the Government policy of Apartheid, of separate development for white and non-white. No inter-racial sport is allowed, no meeting of Bantu and European on the field of sport. Thus sport is not providing "the common meeting ground" and a chance for racial harmony.
It is the policy of international sports federations to have only one affiliated association per country. In South Africa this has meant that, in general, only the white associations are affiliated and that non-whites cannot compete in international sport, with the result that non-whites are in effect discriminated against. There have been exceptions—the International Table Tennis withdrew recognition of the white body and affiliated the non-racial organisation. The South African Government has since refused passports to table tennis teams wishing to compete overseas.
White South Africans say "the coloureds are not up to international standard anyway." This is probably true in most cases— for although non-whites outnumber whites 5 to 1, they have only a few athletic and cycling tracks, virtually no adequate gymnasium facilities, and a handful of swimming baths in all of South Africa.
The question is should New Zealand sportsmen concern themselves with the South African sporting situation, and, if so, what should they do?
Well, if the IOC, a body that is not subject to political pressure, decides that South Africa should not be allowed to participate in an Olympic Games—and such a decision would not have been reached lightly—then it is obviously the concern of all sportsmen, and in particular New Zealanders, who have close sporting ties with South Africa. If New Zealanders believe in the ideals of sport as formulated at the beginning of this article, then they must do what they can to change the present unidealistic atmosphere that prevails in South Africa.
As to what we should do—accept the coming Springbok side, for we have no choice, but show our disapproval of their sporting set-up by boycotting their matches. No sportsmen would wish to offend a bunch of young men concerned only with playing rugby—but this is the most concrete way of reminding the South African Government that the ideals of sport transcend politics.
More Blues: Some of a Different Colour …
The following Victoria Blues have been awarded for the 1964-1965 season, subject to eligibility requirements being satisfied:
Athletics: M. Boldt, B. Collins, Miss G. Davies, Miss P. Haworth, B. Matthews, B. Milne, A. Osborne.
Rowing: J. Gibbons, W. Noakes, P. Wear.
Swimming: B. Crowder, K. Thornton, J. Palmer.
Tennis: Miss M. Kent, J. Souter.
Water Polo: P. Cameron, B. Crowder.
No submissions were received from the Cricket or 303 Rifles clubs.
Speaking of blues … In his Easter Tournament report the Salient sports editor gave incorrect totals for the Tournament Shield. Each of Men's and Women's Athletics is regarded as a separate tournament sport, like Men's and Women's Hockey. As well as this, our blithe spirit (accurate he never wert) had the minor places in the Rowing confused. However, VUW were second in the Outdoor Basketball, even if NZSPA says differently.
Amended totals are OU 46 (still first); CU 44 (still second)! VUW and AU 24 (third equal now, alas).—Sports Editor.
The University Yacht Club held a very successful regatta at Oriental Bay last term. The winners were five gentlemen aboard a floating beer-garden, one of whom pushed, the others engaged in sabotage of other craft. The novelty prize went to two intrepid types upon a double bass, courtesy the Nutsional Orchestra. Other entries were a floating grot, a seagoing pedal car, and an ingenious contrivance of paddle wheels from the Zoology department that proved conclusively that zoologists should stick to zoology. The picture above is not of one of the entries—it shows the type of boat that the Yacht Club is hoping to raise funds for to allow non boat-owners to share in the thrills of sailing.
A Wonderful place for the Tournament hops was the hall of the Christchurch Varsity. To the strumming of thrings and the thrumming of strings (or whatever it is that the musical gentlemen do) and the whump of the lowregister tootles were sexily trousered young females from Nurses' (four hundred they asked for, four hundred My God Sir they got) Homes, and from hostels, and Lord knows what flattings in Avonside swamps, and curlilyheaded bouffantly-coiffured young gentlemen some not so gentle, all dancing (define as you will terminology tills thus this "dancing") …
Coca Cola they drank so they told me and who's to say "liar?" But stranger and stranger: nonco-ordination, inflammable breaths and a certain hilarity it was which bemused me suspecting the stronger perhaps was consumed, in quiet corners …
Drinking Horn: 5.3 second Sink
A Crowd of about 200 congregated at McKendries Hotel to see the Drinking Horn.
The first event was the Teams Race. In this event each member of the six-man team drinks an 8oz beer. The Auckland team, which consisted of only three men, each drank two glasses. There were frequent re-drinks, and the audience kept up an almost continuous chant of "re-drink" and "spillage." Victoria won the Drinking Horn but lost it to Canterbury on a special challenge. However, they regained the Horn on a return challenge.
Final placings, with fastest times were:
There were 21 entrants for the Individual Championship. N.Z.U. Drinking Blues are awarded to the six fastest times for the 8oz.
The list of Blues winners with their times is :
A novel event this year was the Medley in which members of the team drink in turn a 5oz, a 7oz, an 8oz, and a 12oz glass, a pint tankard and a 35oz jug in that order. Shortage of time prevented the holding of a team v. team competition. Instead, times were taken for each team. There were:
L. Thomas, of Otago, attracted some attention in this event by drinking the jug, with negligible spillage, in about 5sec. The Auckland team set a precedent by having a female (Miss "Smith") in their number.