AMIDST the routine doom and gloom it is worth remembering the achievements of South African sport. Often it seems that the scandals — the arms deal, Land Bank, Kebble and Selebi, Aids, the ANC’s pathetic response fo the suffering in Zimbabwe, the crime rate — distract attention from progress in the sporting arena. Obviously, it does not help that Norman Arendse and Ray Mali continually make asses of themselves. All the more reason to recognise achievements. As far as cricket is concerned, South Africa have played with plenty of gumption in the first Test in India. Only optimistic players can succeed in that vibrant and exhausting country. Matthew Hayden can easily be mistaken for a bonehead, possibly even a boofhead (inexplicably, Australia’s main contribution to the development of the English language is in insults and words for “argument”). But in his struggling days, he paid his own way to India, to improve his technique against spin. And on his first official visit he noticed a group of fellows laughing and discovered that they were members of a Laughing Club that met every day at dawn. When touring India, the Australians abide by a mantra. To lose patience is to lose the battle.