Subscribe to our Newsletter

click to dowload our latest edition



Why question motives?




Pictured above: Martin Goodman on his swim to Robben Island in which he and Theodore Yach raised R87 000 for charity.

 I’m not about to rehash the whole trial, but the recent psychological discussions resulted in my calling an old friend who is a clinical psychologist and spent quite a lot of time working at Tara in Johannesburg.

He was giving me examples of the ego trips that top sportsmen tend to go through and how many of them enjoy being the centre of attraction and will do anything to stay in the spotlight. He followed that up with quite a curious question.

“Why do you think amateur sportsmen do things for charity? They know their sporting exploits are unlikely to gain them any attention but if they raise money for charity, people like you will put their name in the newspaper.”

I was quite horrified by his statement. I have seen many people raise money by running, cycling, swimming and I have never doubted their motives. “Surely we shouldn’t be so cynical,” I replied. “By advertising their intentions in the media beforehand we draw attention to what they intend doing and that helps them raise more money.”

He smiled. “That is true when you are told beforehand but how many people only tell you after the event and let you know how much money they have raised?”

The irony of our discussion on Monday was that I am sitting with two stories of people who have raised quite a tidy sum for charity – very deserving organisations – and I find it very hard to be disparaging about their achievements.

The first is about two swimmers in Cape Town who raised R87 000 for charity. Cold water ultra-swimmers Theodore Yach and Martin Goodman did so by completing a 22km swim from Llandudno to Robben Island last month.

I don’t know that much about Martin Goodman but Theodore Yach has had more swims to Robben Island than most of us have had breakfasts. One almost gets the impression that he can just turn to his wife one morning and say: “Hey love, the weather’s great. Think I’ll splash over to Robben Island this morning.”

His exploits as a cold water swimmer are legendary and he has risked his life on many occasions in conditions most of us would consider absurd.

After the failure of two previous attempts, the pair altered the route to exclude Hout Bay because of constant rough sea conditions. They completed the new route in seven hours.

Half of an R80 000 donation from two confidential donors will go to Glenbridge Special School in Diep River, where 119 pupils, many of whom suffer from Down Syndrome or autism, are schooled.

The remaining money will be donated to Sea Point Shul’s Normie Fund, charity, dedicated to a member of the Marais Road Shul, Norman Isaacson, who died last year. Various sporting attempts are being done to raise funds for a new hall in Norman’s name.

The second feat for charity was by two King David grade 10 pupils, Gabriel Herbert and Benjamin Breger who cycled the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Momentum Cycle Tour 2014 for Hatzolah.

I find it very difficult to imagine these two youngsters, whether by accident or design, opted to raise money for Hatzolah for publicity.  

Psychiatrists may have a different understanding of human behaviour than the rest of us, but at the end of the day, my belief is that if charities do benefit from a sportsman’s endeavours, who really cares what their motives might be?

This is one case in which everybody wins!      

Continue Reading
1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. theodore yach

    Jun 4, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    ‘Hi Jack. maybe that fellow at Tara should actually be an inmate? That is twisted logic if ever I have seen…. Thanks for a good article , though. Theodore’

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *