Dear South Africa,

Only a handful of times in a man's life moments turn blurry. In those moments we live so intensely in the present that we're unable to simultaneously turn them into a 'story'. In hindsight we look back and find it difficult to describe what exactly happened or what was so special, yet we can still very strongly recall a feeling.

Jarvis Cup, the most prestigious interprovincial squash tournament in the world, turns solo artists into team players. It does so through one simple but unrecognized method in the world of professional sport: partying together. The day after the night before we perhaps felt less healthy, but certainly more connected with each other. We were no longer pieces on a chess board, but buddies who would die for one another. A confident "I got you covered" after a teammates' loss, even when the odds are very much against you, and then pulling through, was the most beautiful example.   


A team's effervescent chemistry is difficult to create, but partying together certainly facilitates it. The day after a night out, game day, hangover and all, I wondered what would be more important in pursuit of victory. Physically feeling that little better, or mentally having the strongest will to not let your buddies down?


We always talk how in professional sport it's all mental, yet we mostly talk about training, nutrition, and recovery. We talk about technique, strategy, and discipline. We talk about anything but having a good time together. 


Jarvis Cup displays this wonderful combination of some good partying at night, and real dogfight sport the next day. At first I might not have taken this combination seriously, and sport scientists might still not, but we would be blind if we overlooked the benefit of simply having a ball together.


Thanks to my team mates from Kwazulu Natal for an epic week! Stevie Coppinger, for following through on the legendary "I got you covered" line, and practice on the straight faced shot, which didn't taste unlike kerosine. Thanks to Gary Wheadon for safely driving us to the bar with a burst tire on the highway, while 11 people were jammed in the car (3 in the front, 6 on the back seat, 2 in the trunk). Thanks to Smartie (y or ie?), Andrew Martin, for (mis)spelling out every difficult word to me, and teaching me 'effervescent'. 


And, last but not least, a big thank you to Adrian Hansen, Ledgy, our captain, for your energy, humor, and for showing us that a firm grip on the racket is not necessarily necessary to win the Cup!