Try telling Vice-Chancellor Brian Cantor that it’s the taking part that counts. His teammate YUSU President Tim Ngwena might be all about keeping it cool, but Cantor’s a man who hasn’t got to the top by losing.
Following Alex Lacy’s wholly abysmal performance last year, where his bizarre concept of competition perhaps formed part of the admissions test to his current job as a gym instructor at an asylum, Ngwena and Cantor were the pre-event underdogs.
Listening to the chat on the sidelines during the farcical search for a croquet set, it appeared that their competitors, the effusive LUSU President Michael Payne and the steely-eyed Prof. Paul Wellings, were the competitive type. Wellings was well-fancied to leave the York pair stuck in the rough. “Your guy looks laid back,” observed one of the watching Lancaster pro-vice-chancellors with distaste.
Suitably, as Wellings padded up and down the pitch with all the brashness of a man who had surely slipped in a few clandestine practice sessions, the York pair got off to a shambolic start. With both Lancaster players passing through the third peg, Ngwena’s sixth shot had just navigated the first. But canny Cantor had a plan.
“It’s very tactical,” mused one of the 10-strong group of watching dignitaries, and with that in mind, Cantor wasn’t about to let laid-back Tim sail him down shit creek like Lacy had done.
With the blitzkreig approach that only comes from decades in the cut-throat materials industry, Cantor bished, bashed and boshed his way past Payne and his floppy hair, and when the smug Wellings’ ball touched the winning post with a peg still to navigate, Cantor threw a dive that Ronaldo would have been proud.
Using a disqualification rule in an exhibition sport might be seen as a tad excessive, but Cantor was adamant. As Payne’s 20 or so LUSU fans watched in astonishment, Wellings – miles ahead at this point – was forced to forfeit.
But as the climax approached, Payne had found a way back in. He had a four-foot shot for victory. Brian gave him the eye. Payne bottled it. And with Tim merely a bemused spectator, Cantor cool as a cucumber, rolled his ball 15 feet to victory. Job done.