The Great Couch Shark

“See you at 4 in the morning!”


Written by Nick Gordon (The Great Couch Shark)

Posted in :Original Content on 4 Mar 2009 at 17:26

With the Blues-Sharks game scheduled for 6-30am, CapeShark harks back to the early SuperRugby days, especially those early 4h30 games.

Dead still. Dark. And freezing cold. The panic subsides as you realise it’s just your alarm clock and not the university fire drill. It’s four in the morning. No man sane of mind is stirring. With their blankets wrapped tightly around them, five monasterial-like figures traipse down the stairs towards the residence TV room. From a distance you’d be mistaken for thinking it was some sort of cult. And in a way it was.

These were the early days of Super12. Long before South Africans (who incidentally contribute the most financially in the SANZAR deal) had any say in the way fixtures were organised. And if your beloved team had an afternoon game in New Zealand… sorry for you, you either missed the game or you arose at this ungodly hour.

In our residence it was quite common for a student to ‘forget’ to study for that final paper, but religiously rise for a rugby match on TV. Being at Rhodes, there were a handful of Natalians in our res. We could also count on the support of the East London guys who identified with the Sharks. P.E. guys on the other hand were generally weird metalheads that hated sport with a passion and wore T-shirts that said ‘Slayer’ and ‘Marilyn Manson’. But the Zim guys were always keen for a game of rugby, irrespective of who was playing.

One of the brethren took it upon himself to bring his kettle down (he’d smuggled it into res behind the warden’s back). The kettle boiled furiously while Darren and Naas talked their usual kak. I can’t describe it sufficiently except to say that coffee at four in the morning in a cold, dark res room is the equivalent of getting room service at a five star hotel – from Angelina Jolie. But few things in life feel worse than going through all this effort, the sleep deprivation and hypothermia, only to see your team lose. And if that was the case, then you were in a bad mood for the rest of the day, and what a long day it turned out to be.

Now excuse if I sound all metaphysical and fuzzy, but waking up at 4am really was good for the soul. No, really. I’m telling you those grannies are onto something. For starters you had more hours in a day. And you came to appreciate things like sunrises, something we do too little of nowadays. Somehow camaraderie actually meant something at this hour. And of course, there were the memories you took away.

One of the most vivid memories I have of a ‘pre-dawnie’ is waking up on a Free State farm in winter to watch a Springbok-New Zealand game. We were in a barn, nogal. As far as I recall we got our asses kicked. Gaffie Du Toit and Dave van Hoeslin were our halfbacks for goodness sakes!
It’s only a game, they say. But it must be the adventure streak in all of us that makes getting up ridiculously early for it so rewarding.



29 Comments

  • Someone has to balance all the facts and news with some good ol’ bullsh**
    :smile:

  • Comment 1, posted at 04.03.09 17:34:40 by CapeShark Reply
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    The Great Couch SharkSuper Rugby player
     
  • awesome piece. If it helps, I’ll be up at 4 on Saturday to watch the Sharks

  • Comment 2, posted at 04.03.09 22:41:14 by robdylan Reply
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  • Yeah baby, game time is 11:30 p.m. for me, an early night then. :lol: Much better than the 3 am start times for me. I don’t know what I am going to do with myself being asleep by 3 a.m. on a Friday night.

  • Comment 3, posted at 04.03.09 22:52:58 by Dancing Bear Reply
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  • So, I don’t want to hear any whinging from you lot about 4 a.m. starts, Would rather wake up at 4 a.m. than have to stay up until 5 a.m. because of a 3 a.m. start time. :grin:

  • Comment 4, posted at 04.03.09 22:54:11 by Dancing Bear Reply
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  • An afternoon game in SA is broadcast at 2am here. However I remember a few years ago at Lake Tekapo I hadn’t woken up early (lot and lots of snow around)I went into the Hotel Dining Room for brekkie and they were showing a delayed broadcast of a Bok/AB game and as luck would have it the Boks scored so I shouted YAH. All these AB supporters turned around and started offering me a seat to sit on. It was only later that I learned the Boks had been thumped by a record margin so luckily I hadn’t accepted any of those invitations. Insidently the Skiing was great however(first time ever)

  • Comment 5, posted at 04.03.09 23:15:17 by Dynamite Reply

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  • We got a foot of snow here on Sunday and Monday, and the worst part is no time to go skiing. :lol: Apparently snow is not the problem, but I need to drive a few hours just to find a stupid hill. :grin:

  • Comment 6, posted at 04.03.09 23:27:27 by Dancing Bear Reply
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  • just woke up at 4am, to go to work, not good for the soul.

    ai, i remember in my first year waking up to go watch the sharks-blues final in a packed pub, better we don’t talk about that game though, still sore about it.

  • Comment 7, posted at 05.03.09 04:19:15 by knersboy Reply

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  • @knersboy (Comment 7) :

    was that when your choking run started??? :mrgreen: :twisted:

  • Comment 8, posted at 05.03.09 06:54:32 by wpw Reply
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  • im gonna get up at 06:00, im not watching anymore cheetah games. Ive actually never gotten up early for anything lol, but 6am being my normal wake up time, no problemo

  • Comment 9, posted at 05.03.09 07:05:40 by jarsonx Reply
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  • @wpw (Comment 8) : indeed. man that game was frustrating. i remember the blues lineout was horrid, they lost almost all their own ball. but for some reason we didn’t decide to kick for field position enough.

    man, i have watched every super 14 final that the sharks have played in in stellenbosch. i reckon it is a jinx, don’t live there anymore so we better make the final this year.

  • Comment 10, posted at 05.03.09 07:26:21 by knersboy Reply

    knersboyVodacom Cup player
     
  • The most interesting early morning sessions I remember were the ones for the 1992 Cricket World Cup.

    The early Super games were pretty cool too – but I was at varsity for a lot of those by then – I used to usually only get home by game time anyway. :mrgreen:

    Happy days…

  • Comment 11, posted at 05.03.09 08:33:01 by Big Fish Reply
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  • This is one of the better pieces i have read in a very long time.
    Shot CapeShark, good work boykie….next time make it a bit longer.

  • Comment 12, posted at 05.03.09 08:36:24 by Claytie Reply
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  • @jarsonx (Comment 9) : Im doing a 15km run at 6:15 on Saturday morning :neutral:

  • Comment 13, posted at 05.03.09 08:38:38 by Claytie Reply
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  • I remember getting up at some crazy hours to watch Super 10 games too

  • Comment 14, posted at 05.03.09 08:41:57 by robdylan Reply
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  • @knersboy (Comment 7) :
    I remember that game – only difference is that we didnt go to sleep till well after the game.

  • Comment 15, posted at 05.03.09 08:44:47 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • @Big Fish (Comment 11) :

    You were what 8 years old back then!!! :twisted:

  • Comment 16, posted at 05.03.09 09:03:54 by wpw Reply
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  • @wpw (Comment 16) :
    Much thinner. :oops:

  • Comment 17, posted at 05.03.09 09:49:46 by Big Fish Reply
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  • Jeez… you guys must have been swots… we’d have stayed out till 3.30am then rushed home for the games…

    In fact some of us still do…

  • Comment 18, posted at 05.03.09 10:19:15 by bryce_in_oz Reply

    bryce_in_ozCurrie Cup player
     
  • I don’t remember much.

  • Comment 19, posted at 05.03.09 10:20:08 by McLovin Reply

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  • @jarsonx (Comment 9) : same here.
    my LMS life hinges on the Cheetahs game but I thought it better for my overall health not to watch more Cheetahs in play (not to mention disturbance of my sleep pattern :mrgreen:

  • Comment 20, posted at 05.03.09 10:29:30 by rekinek Reply
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  • @wpw (Comment 16) :
    I meant for S12 – late 90′s, early 2000′s.

    @bryce_in_oz (Comment 18) :
    I take it you are talking about your grandkids? :twisted:

  • Comment 21, posted at 05.03.09 10:37:49 by Big Fish Reply
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  • @rekinek (Comment 20) : I doubt the Canes will lose

  • Comment 22, posted at 05.03.09 10:44:13 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 22) : me too, that’s why I picked them :lol:
    after my dreadful run on SB & LMS last week I decided to play safe.

  • Comment 23, posted at 05.03.09 10:57:40 by rekinek Reply
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  • my Fantasy League is going from bad to worse. It seems players I add to my squad all get injured.

  • Comment 24, posted at 05.03.09 11:04:08 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 24) : i am still getting to grips with FL. Initially I chose all the sharks possible, including those who are not even in the squad, plus double jannie and some Aussie hooker I’ve never heard of(too much clicking :roll:
    I think next year I will get competitive :lol: :lol:

  • Comment 25, posted at 05.03.09 11:10:59 by rekinek Reply
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  • Nice piece CapeShark!! Nostalgie op sy beste!! (Was Laurika nou??) :wink:

    I rememeber these….and even being sport crazy – the early morning get up for a World Title Boxing match! Spinks and Coetzee (I was still at school then, but i am sure some of these okes on here have not even heard of these okes! ) :mrgreen:

  • Comment 26, posted at 05.03.09 12:01:43 by Ice (you can leave your hat on!) Reply
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  • @Ice (you can leave your hat on!) (Comment 26) :

    You are obviously a person with “life experience”. :wink:

  • Comment 27, posted at 05.03.09 12:04:03 by Big Fish Reply
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  • @Big Fish (Comment 27) :

    I am indeed, Sir Fish.. :wink:

  • Comment 28, posted at 05.03.09 12:30:13 by Ice (you can leave your hat on!) Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 24) :

    Same here, I’m thinking of removing all the Sharks players from my FL…just to keep them off the injury list. :neutral:

  • Comment 29, posted at 06.03.09 08:47:15 by blackshark Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!Super Rugby player
     

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