The 24th of February was an anticipated day for all Oakhillians; it was the first day of the short half term break and for the four Waterpolo teams, it meant the beginning of a weekend that would certainly be remembered. Shortly after Oakhill´s nineteenth birthday celebration, forty-one excited students and four dedicated teachers departed off to the Mother City, for Oakhill’s first ever Waterpolo Tour. The accompanying staff included: Ms Rijpstra, Mr Claassen, Mr Langman and Mr Raynor.
The tour kicked off with a long yet entertaining seven and a half hour bus trip, followed by supper at Panarottis and the check in to our temporary homes, the N1 Road Lodge. After the excitement had faded off, and fatigue was setting in, it was time to go to bed to get the needed sleep for day two´s activities.
Luckily, day two started with a late rising time of 7.30, followed by breakfast in the lobby. Then it was off to the day´s first activity; the Topless Bus trip through Cape Town City Centre and its surrounds. Of cause it was the bus that was supposed to be topless, however a group of us took the subject literally and ended up swimming topless in some of South Africa´s fresher waters!
Prior to that, the trip took us to South Africa´s oldest building, The Castle of Good Hope built by the Dutch between 1666 and 1679. Cannon fire, amazing art and dangerous dungeons were only some of the things that we experienced there.
The bus then took us through Cape Town´s party capital, Long Street, up and past the cable cars and down the meandering course to Camps Bay. Here many enjoyed refreshments, whilst others chose another form of refreshing – a dip in 10degree water. The trip continued up the coast past the mansions of Clifton, the Green Point Soccer stadium and straight to McDonalds where we enjoyed a quick lunch.
After a filling meal it was time to head back to the Road Lodge in order to prepare for our first Waterpolo game against Somerset College. Arriving at Somerset College´s beautiful grounds and Olympic size Waterpolo pool was intimidating on its own, and after all four teams had played their respected games, one thing could be said; we had learnt a lot!
Despite our losses, the staff kept Oakhill spirits high by awarding a Man of the Match for each age group. That was not all; each staff had thought of clever and special awards to give to standouts of the day, these were not necessarily awarded for performance. Mr Claassen´s Biggest Dummy award went to Olivia Gardy and Rhys van den Handel, Mr Raynor´s award went to Gabi Orzechowski, who collected her prize via the famous Baywatch Run. Ms Rijpstra´s award going to the person who spent the most time under water and this went to Adam Oosthuizen and Inge van Standen, whilst Mr Langman´s Biggest Perve award went to Paul Wallington for checking out the opposition´s coach. Much laughter followed as the award winners showed off their new costumes at The Waterfront. After the team dinner and some shopping it was time to head back to the Road Lodge for much needed sleep.
Day three kicked off with an early six o’clock rising followed by fresh croissants, orange juice and muffins in the lobby. This would provide the energy required to play against Mr Langman´s ex-students at Bridge House College. All of our teams showed off great improvement from the previous day´s learning experience, to our surprise guests, Mr Kidwell and his family. The results included a win by the under sixteen girls’ team and a hard-fought draw by the under fifteen boys’ team, whilst the first teams suffered yet another defeat, however improvement was clearly visible.
After friendly conversations with some of his ex-pupils, Mr Langman awarded the Biggest Perve award to Chelsea McMillan, for pinching our surprise guest´s butt. She would also receive the Mr Raynor´s award for attempting to pinch a second staff member´s butt. Once again award winners would show off their hilarious costumes until we returned back home that evening. This included a shopping trip to Canall Walk and the highly anticipated live Super15 Rugby encounter at Newlands Rugby Stadium. This encounter would display a rugby experience of a lifetime between the Lions and the Stormers, a first for many.
Taking up an entire block, all forty-five of us in our white Waterpolo tee-shirts screaming for the home side, the DHL Stormers. Although a weak start was shown by the supported team, spirits were still high. These were raised even more on the thirty-second minute when the entire Oakhill Waterpolo team got about ten seconds of fame on international television. Oakhill spirits seemed to have boosted the Stormers´ performance as they narrowly defeated the Lions 19 to 16. All pumped up, we walked the stretch to the bus and headed back to the Road Lodge. With all the adrenalin pumping through our veins, we slowly settled into bed and drifted off into deep sleep.
Day four started with laughs and splashes, as some of the team members ganged up against Mr Raynor, using syringes as their weapons to have the poor staff member end up sopping wet. Taking the joke we, we were soon off to our last game of the Waterpolo tour, against Herzilia. The under fifteen girls gave the opposition a good run for their money, narrowly losing 4 to 5. This was echoed by the girls´ first team who also narrowly lost although playing with new tactics, receiving their fouls and passing the ball around well. As for the two boy’s teams, the opposition proved too strong and we found ourselves being outplayed. Despite these defeats, spirits never sank, as we prepared for the long trip home.
Arriving close to eight o´clock that night, we were all exhausted, after a tour that seemed so short, yet meant so much. A sincere thanks to all the people who were involved, all of your efforts are highly appreciated.