Sunday, March 4, 2012
Adventure racing: salute to George Forder
My friend George Forder is dead, killed in a car crash. Back at uni George arrived when we just getting the mountain club organised - a club that ended up having the second biggest membership of any at Rhodes. I remember four of them showing up on the first trip of the year to Morgans Bay, sea cliff climbing - George, Andy, and two girls - George with a laugh like a harpoon through chenille... "This is Caz (Carol) and this is Fred." He never let any minor detail like forgetting a crucial name stop him for a microsecond. The poor lass was Fred thence forth... through years of trips into the nether regions of chaos in the mountains and sea cliffs, fueled by gluwein and optimism. And George was there in sliver underwear... or tights or whatever could provoke a good laugh at his insanity and crazy panache (yes I suppose it wasn't a crowd that was exactly worried by macho image. We DID stuff, didn't need to strut it.) After 'varsity we drifted separate ways and it wasn't until my kids got into post-matric at Treverton that they got involved in adventure racing - and we ran into George again. George had found the sport that really suited him - and his character. As a combination between orienteering and - depending on the race - just about anything else, from shooting to abseiling or mountain biking or kayaking, with a major teamwork element, it's a lot of fun and it separates the real from the talkers, the way any extreme sport does (but with variation and team work aspects), and is damned brilliant for kids (it's fun, it's not for the usual winners at the ordinary sports, the team work and variation knock them back, and teaches lifeskills like nothing else). I'd give long odds that 1)if things go wrong you'd never do better than to have a 'graduate' of these sports at your side, or probably in front of you, keeping cool and working it out 2)that there are few serious addicts to drugs or alcohol among people who are involved in these. Drugs are woosies who can't handle adrenalin, as we said. 3) for the SES and the army, or just having a population that can handle natural disasters as best as possible, it's hard to find anything better. I suggested doing some here on Flinders only to find that no-one had ever heard of them. I was informed that they wouldn't allow it in Oz (wrong) and that the insurance issue was just too much to even think about. Well, I know what my friend George would have said. It's not polite. And there was a man who did dozens of things that 'nanny' would have had kittens about most weekends... killed doing something as legal and approved as possible. When we met up again, we said we must get together for one of our own brand of adventures soon. Never quite did - life and work and emigration took us in different directions. If there's a lesson there, it's do it now. Go well into that beyond, you mad bugger. And to those who knew him, to his family and kids - it's absolutely tragic, but by God there was a man who LIVED, who got up and made things happen that had a vast effect on loads of kids. I'm glad that he was a friend. We'll not see his like again in a hurry.