They said it couldn’t be done, they said it would be a mile to far – they said it was just good to see them get this far. What they didn’t say however was that the Sharks would be in the SupeRugby final this weekend against the Chiefs. With travel being such a big element of success and failure in the Southern Hemisphere’s greatest regional rugby showpiece, the Sharks have literally gone to the ends of the earth and back to chase an unlikely title.
But as they reach the final hurdle, yet another trip back down under in the space of a week, they are calling in some extra special help as the stakes are raised once more. That special help is none other than Gary Player – the world’s most traveled athlete™.
Shark’s coaching staff made the call to Marc Player, head of Black Knight International, seeking the experience and guidance of the 9 time Major winner, 9 time Senior Major winner and winner of 165 tournaments worldwide, saying that their team needed that extra push to get them over this final travel hurdle. Subtly disguised as Pat Lambie’s legal travel guardian, Player accompanied the team on their long flight back to the Australiasialand, something that he has personally done 38752 times.
Of course Gary Player (or Mr Player as his friend’s call him) is not just there because he has racked up more miles than a SAA pilot, but more because he has traveled great distances and won on the other side. Growing up poor and mostly alone as his mother passed away when he was 8, his dad was working in the mines and his brother was off at the great war, the challenge of travel has not phased Player in the past. Something he can now pass on to the Sharks team who ultimately see the change in time zones as a bigger challenge than the Chiefs themselves.
Shark’s coach John Plumtree refused to comment on the inclusion of Mr Player in the touring party. Naturally he was keeping mum so as not to attract any unnecessary attention from SANZAR who may find fault in this sort of outside assistance. Voices from within the squad however suggest that the experience of Mr Player was paying off right from the start as he patrolled the business class cabin offering useful information as to what should be consumed and when by the players. Vegetarian dishes were enjoyed by all, including the Beast who was later bust talking up an air-hostess though in an attempt to secure a cajun chicken kebab once the cabin lights had been dimmed. But it wasn’t just the nutritional consumption that was moderated, even their choice of inflight entertainment came under the spotlight of the Black Knight also known as Golf’s World Ambassador. Pat Lambie was forbidden to watch the new Batman Dark Knight movie, he was instead given a limited edition Black Knight iPad with highlights of the 1974 Open Championship pre-loaded.
That by the way was Mr Player’s third Open title which, like Ernie Els, he won at Royal Lytham & St Annes, just without the use of a belly putter…
Upon arrival down under, a special airport conference room was prepared for the players to each have a one on one with The Player. Here he started off by asking them if they have ‘anything to declare’, by this he meant doubts or concerns. Gary Player has of course never choked in his whole life and was quick to address the mental state of the Sharks individuals before moving onto to the more expected physical side of things. Extra time was spent with the kickers who Mr Player felt had a little extra pressure on them than the rest. Freddie Michalak was quoted as saying his personal session here was the most inspirational thing he had heard in English since Bismarck told them all to ‘Kick the Bulls in their #*&#s’ last year at Loftus, another do or die match that they had to win that time to gain entry into the playoffs. They were all then given Mr Player’s best seller ‘Don’t Choke’ and transported to the team hotel.
For the rest of the week Mr Player is expected to take a more sidelined approach with the players allowing them to go about their business as usual. He will however lead the morning workouts which will be rounded off with an insightful look into genetics which is intended to illustrate to the team just exactly what they are capable of as top flight sportsmen.
TheBounce wishes the Sharks nothing but the best this weekend as they look to win the SupeRugby title. And in the capable hands of Mr Player I’m sure the Chiefs will have their hands full come game day!
This is a parody piece, please do not take it too seriously. The Sharks could naturally never afford to secure the services of Mr Player even if they wanted to.