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SPORTS AND GAMES

Henry Bodman reminds me that to pass first year Physical Education we had to complete the dreaded ropes course. Dave ‘Kurt’ Argent, arriving for his first event late in term in a late attempt to qualify for a mark, was offended when Les Peterkin asked who he was. It got worse because, having been advised, Les responded “Keh?” The Great Ropemeister had never in his life seen this man before.

Without asking, some bright spark nominated Justine Finter for javelin at the inter-collegiate sports. “I was told the reason for the choice was, being born a Papuan, I would be a natural spear thrower! Indeed! I had no experience with the javelin, even at high school. On competition night I had to learn fast by observing the other girls. My first two attempts sailed through the air making good distance but, alas, not piercing the ground. By a fluke my last attempt resulted in a fourth place against the NSW champion. Thanks for having such blind faith in my natural ability.”

Dave Argent reckons it is highly likely Richard Ellis Jones is a descendant of William Webb Ellis who, as a 16-year old at Rugby school in 1823, picked up a soccer ball and ran with it: thus, as the myth goes, inventing the sport played in heaven. But I surmise that rich genetic inheritance may have been washed out of Dick the day he picked up the ball in the Footbrawl Match to be frozen to the spot in abject terror as a posse of giant forwards hove down on him.

“I vaguely recollect the footbrawl match,” says Richard Jones, “and accept your assertion that I froze as a huge pack of 2nd year forwards bore down on me during the course of the game. But I do not remember Henry MacD coathangering my eventual 1965 Moresby donga mate, Allyn Hicks, to save a looming 2nd year try.” Richard also reminds us that, back in “those balmy 60s days, Friday night footy in Moresby was a real hit long before the Australian Football League and National Rugby League took to the idea”.

Jeff Chapman’s recollection of the Great Footbrawl Match played against 2nd Year is somewhat hazy –he ended up with concussion when Mrs Murphy’s little boy Val landed on his head. “I felt a little bit how's your father for the rest of the day and took Friday off. A week or so later, on the morning of the second day of the exams, I fainted and came to in a doctor's waiting room loudly telling Jean Newcomb all about enzymes, peristalsis and other biological things. I remember the doctor shining a torch into my eyes and woke up in hospital. I had 16 or so exams to do during the holidays!”

Jeff Chapman has answered some hard questions posed by Henry Bodman about the Footbrawl Match. “You asked who was the tactician and how did we nullify the opposition's moves. I think the answers are 'no one' and 'we didn't' respectively”.

‘Dubbo’ Dave Kesby recalls “a lady on our course whose first name was Robena. Ben Uhlmann and I had an afternoon soiree with her and Marie Burns in our first week there. I think she was repeating first year - and she eventually got pregnant to a soldier who was based down there. I hope that this is not all a bloody mad dream - but I just thought of it the other night. Woke up and there she was” Can anyone out there help Dubbo solve this 40-year old dilemma?

Marie Burns has provided a clue to ‘Dubbo’ Kesby’s Great Robena Mystery. “Does Robena Fulton ring a bell?” Marie asks. “My main memories of Robena are at a freezing Balmoral Baths where some of us were struggling to get the Bronze Medal. Robena already had hers - and spent the morning swanning round on the diving board. Put Ben to shame!” Whatever can this mean?

Marie Burns mentioned Robena Fulton swanning around on the diving board, putting Grahame ‘Ben’ Uhlmann to shame and I asked what this meant. I was forgetting Ben’s peacock display at Balmoral baths as he flexed and strutted the board in an ultimately futile attempt to emulate Mr Universe.

Ian McLean writes from Toronto, Canada, where son Andrew has just graduated in engineering. “Athletics aside, you're overlooking ASOPA’s swimming prowess. We creamed the other colleges in the medley relay. The other ponces were all dressed up in track suits and medals and the ASOPA bunch just turned up in their speedos with a towel wrapped around the waist laplap style. I believe the girls did fairly well too, certainly there was a lot of cheering when they disrobed before the races.” In case you’ve forgotten, Ian swam backstroke. And, as I recall, Colin Huggins was a freestyle demon.

Val Rivers recalls turning out for the successful ASOPA Greens hockey team. “They needed to fill a gap. ‘Be goal keeper,’ they said, ‘The other team isn’t as good as ours and you won’t have to do a thing. Just be down at that end.’ And so it was. ASOPA won. I never saw the ball”.

Jeff Chapman reminds us of the CEO v PO rugby game at Georges Heights oval in our 2nd year. It was umpired by kiap Terry O'Donnell, who abandoned the game when he sent off Dave Argent but Kurt refused to go.

When Richard Jones was writing for the South Pacific Post not only did he report on rugby league with the appellation ‘Dick Jones’ and boxing under the byline ‘KO’ but netball as ‘Nancy’.

Jeff Chapman referred to Dave Argent being sent off in a rugby league encounter at Georges Heights – and refusing to go thus causing the Patrol Officer referee to withdraw his services. Kurt disputes this version, saying he and co-miscreant, Phil Ralph, did retire –returning to the field after they believed they’d done their penance. This ad hoc invention of the sin bin preceded by 20 years the ARL’s own innovation.

Jeff Chapman recalls Rugby Union as the ASOPA Administration's game of choice. “I happily played a fairly social version of it in the ASOPA Seconds, trying to hide and keep out of trouble in a team that didn't do too well”.

Henry Bodman ran with the Bougainville Hash-House Harriers “through the jungle and up waterfalls back to Arawa where very fit and lithe bodies undid all the good work with the coldest beer in town. The majority were still at it at sunrise”.

For those appointed to a Primary A School, Kurt Argent salutes you. “I was at the Primary A at Namatanai, New Ireland. Didn't have a due and lasted about 3 months. Kids were all Chinese whose parents taught us the game of 5 card stud poker. Very grateful to them too.”