Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Jamie's Weekly Sports Thought - 28/11

Sometimes in the media game if there are no letters to the editor or calls to the radio station having a crack at you, paranoia can strike. You start to wonder whether anyone bothers reading your stuff or listening to your show.

However, my faith was renewed by an e-mail I received from a boy I used to play junior doubles with 35 years ago. At the time he suffered from chronic tennis elbow and couldn’t serve properly but he overcame that affliction to become one of the better tennis players Southland has produced. Here’s what he wrote:

I was honoured to have my name mentioned in your Friday article re the death of Bill Horrell.

I continue to read your column every week wherever I might be. I think the appeal for me is remembering Southland sport as it was when I left - Nicol, Booth, Pokere - and an age when sport was run by sports enthusiasts, not an accountant or lawyer in sight!

I have also remained a true Southlander. I sometimes have to pinch myself because I find myself in such a different environment now. Today I conducted a clinic with Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe, stood side by side as they hit balls with locals before playing an exhibition match. It was all I could do to concentrate on my function there (feeding balls).

I kept looking at Borg standing beside me and had quite a job believing I had come from South Invercargill to this. In March, I will captain Thailand against Australia in the Davis Cup, sitting on-court trying to organise strategy to beat Leyton Hewitt and Co. It will be my 14th Davis Cup tie as Thai captain and I may be the only Davis Cup captain in the world who is not a national of the country they lead.

Your column brings me back to the New Zealand and Southland I left. I have many fond memories and those memories have shaped me into what I am today. Tonight I will make my way into Bangkok to watch the All Blacks play Wales at midnight. I will join a small but loyal group of Kiwis who turn up every time the ABs play a test.

Thanks for a great read every Friday and if you ever get to Bangkok lets get together.

Paul Dale
Tennis Asia Solutions Limited


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