A love for the game

2016-10-04 06:00
Henry Schouw (80) is a true sport Stallwart and still offers his time to the development of sport.  PHOTO: Samantha lee

Henry Schouw (80) is a true sport Stallwart and still offers his time to the development of sport. PHOTO: Samantha lee

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He has spent nearly seven decades giving of himself to sport, and now even at 80-years-old he shows no sign of slowing down.

Henry Schouw from Strandfontein has been raking up accolades for his dedication and love for rugby and softball.

His journey through sport started as a young man growing up in Kalk Bay.

When he was nine-years-old he played rugby with a junior team, although there was no junior league. “We played on the beach and we were the ‘practice bags’ for the senior team. At the time there wasn’t any fields so we played on the beach,” says Schouw.

In the ’40s, Schouw says rugby was the only sport they could play in the area.

“In Kalk Bay there was only a swimming club and rugby clubs,” he says. He started playing club in the ’50s and represented City and Suburban Rugby Union.

His career then progressed as he was honoured as an South African Rugby Union (SARU) or SA Cup referee and became a life member of the City and Suburban Rugby Union.

The warm and humble man rushes off on several occasions during the interview to proudly retrieve memerobilia, newspaper clippings, gifts, apparel and accolades.

He has refreed in some tough matches and is the owner of several awards for dedication through the years, proudly on display in his home. His accolades are too many to mention, but some of the most notable is a plaque in the rugby hall of fame, presentations from the first minister of sport Steve Tshwete and appreciation awards from the Western Province Rugby Union of which he is a life member.

He and another companion are the founders of the Strandfontein Rugby Club and their wives were also the founders of the Strandfontein Softball Club.

“My entire family was interested in sport,” he says.

He is the youngest living sibling with his sisters and brother aged between 83 and 99.

His last rugby match was also not too long ago. “I played rugby with the golden oldies until the age of 76,” says Schouw.

He and his brother (80 at the time) were the oldest members of the team who travelled to Australia to represent SA for the Golden Oldies against the Aussie team a few years back.

And he says he will still go back to play if the team were reinstated.

He also still watches his children on the rugby fields on Saturdays.

He is also no stranger to the administration of the game, having coached high schools and primary schools, including coaching the Strandfontein Primary team for 10 years. He also coached Primrose Rugby club, Trendsetters Softball Club, Maties Rugby Academy and WP Softball teams among others during his coaching career.

He was one of the founding members of the Strandfontein Sports Council Board, after his wife saw the lack of transport for local children to play sport outside the area.

“Human life is important to me,” says Schouw. “I wanted to keep the children off the streets and they always had to move out to play sport.”

His late wife had found children on the streets and formed clubs to play softball and when they needed a winter sport, Schouw was quick to propose rugby.

The group flourished and often the founding members transported them to the games on their pensions or what little donations they could find.

His love for the sport is evident and he is willing to give so much more of himself to see the sport continue to flourish.

“I don’t think I will ever retire.”

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