The Recognition Minute
Awards for South Africans July 21 2017, 0 Comments
May I state the obvious? We live in interesting times. As always!
The history of South Africa has given us lots to talk about. The wildness of the terrain has yielded so much to see. Diverse people live together in this colourful nation.
As South Africans, we have shown great resourcefulness in finding solutions to problems over the decades, even centuries. So, a little about our heritage of success, for which we could be forgiven for awarding ourselves a medal. No, make that a huge, silver trophy!
3 December 1967, on the tip of our African continent, Dr Chris Barnard performed the world’s first heart transplant. It was uncharted territory. A domain unexplored in humans. It was very risky since once he had removed the patients failing heart, there was no turning back. Either the recipient would never wake up or they would wake up with a functioning heart. If the heart did beat and give life, how well and for how long? There was no precedent. No one knew.
Louis Washkansky did wake up and Dr Barnard became the first ever to succeed in transplanting a human heart into another person. Kudos, trophies, medals and plenty of certificates all round. Barnard became an international celebrity and performed another ten heart transplants, one of the patients surviving for 23 years.
Another Doctor, Dr Selig Percy Amoils created a new method of cataract surgery, using his cryoprobe. He developed this method at Baragwanath Hospital and was awarded the Queen’s Award for Technological Innovation in 1975. His invention gave back sight to many, who could now enjoy their successes in the light. This put South Africa on the world’s stage of medical advancement again. His invention has since been on display in the Kensington Museum in London.
Another exceptional advancement in medical technology was the CAT scan. This was developed in Cape Town by physicist Allan Cormack and his associate Godfrey Hounsfield. It required medical and mathematical skill and innovation in order to achieve their goal: a scanner that could scan the whole body and translate the data into meaningful images. These scans were clearer than static X-Ray plates and took the medical world a leap forward in diagnostic ability.
Their work also deserved an enormous trophy and was recognized through a Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine.
A CAT scanner is used routinely today in the diagnosis and management of many medical conditions and allows for much better and more specific treatment.
One more South African medical invention: The Smartlock safety syringe.
The Smartlock syringe automatically retracts the needle into a sheath and locks it in place as the needle is withdrawn the patient. Therefore, no needle caps to place over used needles or a specific ‘sharps’ disposal container. This meant safety for all concerned.
Interesting times indeed. May our people continue earning awards for South Africa, whether in science or culture, sport or engineering.
In our next blog post, I will feature some other, world-renowned inventions by South Africans who deserve the gold medal of innovation and the trophy of success!
Never Too Young for a Medal or Too Old for a Trophy March 10 2017, 0 Comments
There are some sports that are clearly not for the young of age. Running over hurdles, weight lifting and possibly gymnastics need some height and some power and height but hockey is different. Start whenever you want to!
If you are young and you want to play, find a stick your size and begin. If you are at varsity, choose a stick and boots that fit and play. Now, this is where it gets interesting. If you are a veteran, young or old, it is never too late. Just start to play.
Starting something new is challenging at times but before you decide that the challenge may be beyond you, think first of the benefits. One does not have to be a hockey star or living legend, earning all the trophies and weighted down with gold medals. Nor does one need risk becoming a late legend with no trophies and medals left for the mantelpiece.
There are many reason to play hockey, such as social, health and some good networking, too.
Hockey can be a strenuous game, so start out slow, at your own pace. Be prepared to leave the shore or familiarity (and the couch, also often too familiar) and begin.
For those young players who dream of winning in their varsity years, it is advisable to start no later than during the first year of high school. Even better would be to start during their first years of junior school, between ages four and seven. To become familiar with the game and develop the skills takes a little time. Starting early may give one the edge but nevertheless, it is always the right time to start. It is also good to become known among the hockey fraternity if you want to be noticed for selection for regional or provincial teams.
Learning is a process, so the sooner one starts, the better. Even a toddler can begin by being involved in the sporting activities and watching the game, for just a few minutes every week to develop interest in the game. If Mom, Dad or older sibling play hockey, even better. Parents who know just a little about the game can start teaching their children in the back yard!
One way of encouraging hockey is for kids to attend camps. This allows them to try out a stick, hit some balls and learn a few tricks from enthusiasts in an unpressured environment while having great fun. Playing around with a sport as well as playing the sport is how it all starts, which is why football and rugby seem to come so naturally to many kids in SA, and sometimes cricket and tennis as well. It also why people may wait until later in life before playing hockey!
So remember, if road-running medals are not your thing, squash trophies are a piece of old tacky, you can always play for a hockey award. And if medals and trophies are for someone else, then I say again, just start. It’s a fantastic, racy sport that will keep you fit for as long as you can run upright and hold a stick.
One day, when you throw in the stick, don’t throw in the towel because hockey would be so much less without you. Become a spectator.
Trophies help add spirit to any game. All trophies can be customised for the occasion. http://www.prestigeawards.co.za/products/hockey-player-female-miniature-award
Resin trophies are molded according to a three-dimensional design then cast. The resin is given and antique gold look, which brings with it a sense of tradition. http://www.prestigeawards.co.za/products/hockey-goal-resin-trophy
Aluminium trophies can be mounted on a smart wooden base. These trophies were designed by Prestige Awards and are unique in their class. These trophies are also customisable to reflect the name of the club, school or event. We would love to discuss with you and ideas that you have for different designs and bring them to life in our factory. http://www.prestigeawards.co.za/products/hockey-m-ring-floating-trophy-t0425
No Trophy Without a Stick March 08 2017, 0 Comments
It is said that the hockey stick is the most important piece of equipment used in the game. Well, put another way, a game of hockey without sticks just isn’t hockey.
The stick is no ordinary branch from a tree. It undergoes a lot of punishment in the hands of the player, which means careful crafting from the right materials is essential.
Sticks can be made from a variety of materials, traditionally from hard wood such as ash. As technology developed, other materials with equally strong, flexible properties were used. These include composites such fiberglass, graphite, carbon and Kevlar. Kevlar is a trade name for a very durable, spun fibre, used originally as a replacement for steel in racing car tyres.
Right-handed players may have an advantage when it comes to hockey since only right-handed sticks are manufactured.
The stick becomes a natural extension of the player, who skillfully maneuvers it to either gently coax the plastic ball in a dribble, or send it scooting as a 100km/h towards the goal. Length and weight vary and can be chosen to suite each player’s needs. The weight of a hockey stick ranges between about 500gm and 750gm.
Composite materials may have some advantages over wood in strength and flexibility of design. Wood is also water absorbent and should be kept dry. However, water can be attracted from both the field and the players, which is why the grip is importantly made of water-proof materials, such as suede, secured with plastic tape.
A stick is always a potential weapon. In a fast-moving game like hockey, sticks can get in the way of players, either to trip or injure. A referee is always on the look out for rough play as competitive teams strive for their trophies and medals.
The trophies at Prestige Awards are also not all alike. Some are cast from resins, with fine detail and colouring. Trophy cups could be made from metals, such a nickel, silver or pewter. Certain designs also lend themselves to aluminium, a nice, slick option, representing the speed of play. Shields are traditionally made of wood with brass or silver plaques that display winners' names. Trophies in the form of mini-statuettes of male and female players are available in plastic, coated in gleaming gold and are ideal as memorabilia for each player in the team.
Trophies help add spirit to any game and can all be suitably customised for the occasion. http://www.prestigeawards.co.za/products/hockey-player-female-miniature-award
Resin trophies are molded according to a three-dimensional design then cast. The resin is given an antique gold look, which brings with it a sense of tradition. http://www.prestigeawards.co.za/products/hockey-goal-resin-trophy
Aluminium cut-out trophies can be mounted on a smart wooden base. These trophies were designed by Prestige Awards and are unique in their class. We would love to help you with your unique design, to bring it to life for your event. http://www.prestigeawards.co.za/products/hockey-m-ring-floating-trophy-t0425