Last year we were drenched at Summit College as one after another highveld storm rolled over the school, dumping loads of rain. Today, perfect. Hot and sunny and clear the whole afternoon. I don’t yet know the number of participants from today but I would like to extend a warm welcome to Jeppe Boys who joined us today for their first OSL event. Welcome!
The ‘answers’ are on your map! It tells you exactly where to go. Just read it! When you read a book, you read each word and it makes up a sentence and sentences make paragraphs and paragraphs make chapters and the whole lot together makes a story. You don’t sit with the book on your lap looking all around you, hoping that the story will jump out at you…
And so it is with orienteering – you have to read at the map – really, really read it. The colours and symbols and distances… these are the words and sentences and paragraphs that make up the story of where to go.
I’m A-ok with people heading out with friends for their first event but thereafter I encourage participants to go out on their own. There are a bunch of reasons for this:
- When you’re with a friend chances are very good that you’ll get hopelessly lost. Either one person makes decisions or both make bad decisions and they tend to follow other [equally lost] people. The results are never very good.
- One person will probably make most of the decisions and so the other person never learns to read a map.
We stagger the starts and try to separate people from the same school for this reason. But runners set off and then wait just past the start for their friends. I caught a few today and I tried to encourage them to try on their own.
My words to them went something like this:
“Please try this on your own. I want you to make decisions about where the controls are and to find them… And then when you get to the finish I want you to feel the satisfaction of having completed the course on your own and of building the confidence to be able to get yourself from one point to another on your own. I want you to say, ‘Yay! I did it!’.”
My example included this scenario: “What happens if you go hiking with a friend and they are injured and you have to take the map and go for help – on your own?”. I so want all of our orienteering participants to develop the confidence and ability to do this.
Only later I thought that this so perfectly extends to driving. Sure, there are GPS devices but how often have GPSs taken people places where they really don’t want to go (single women driving through Hillbrow at midnight). Personally, I loathe GPSs because we blindly follow them without actually knowing where we are and we become too scared to not follow them because we have no confidence to make our own decisions. Knowing where you are, observing your surroundings, being able to manually over-ride the GPS to choose a better and more efficient route – and having the confidence to do so… And just being able to get to a friend’s house without getting lost. These are the skills you’re gaining at orienteering. And you won’t always have a friend in the car with you.
I did say to the students I caught that even though they may think I’m a crazy woman now, I hope that in 10 or 15 years time they’ll think of me when a situation arises and that they’ll remember what I said to them today (and maybe be thankful that I made them try to do this on their own).
RESULTS FROM SUMMIT COLLEGE
We’ll post full results in the next day or two on the OSL page on the orienteering website. For now, here’s the top 3 in each category (well done to the few people who spotted my errors – school allocations – in last week’s results!).
1) Kirsten Chambers (Fourways), 2) Ruth Avierinos (Cornwall), 3) Emma van Nierop (Fourways)
1) Christie Courtnage (Trinity), 2) Cian Oldknow (Fourways), 3) Kirsten Kruger (Charter)
1) Andries Swart (Helpmekaar), 2) Darren Horwitz (Fourways), 3) Jaya Curtis (St Davids)
1) Timothy Chambers (Fourways), 2) Peter Carides (St Davids), 3) Louw van den Heever (Helpmekaar)
PHOTOS FROM HERONBRIDGE
Photos have been posted on the OSL Facebook page.
The next OSL event is at Delta Park on Monday, 24 February. A beautiful, open, green park in the heart of Johannesburg. Quite different to navigating on school properties.