A sports buff’s trip down memory lane

Rodney Brown, from Westridge, says his book, Not Out, pays tribute to many unsung heroes.

A character in a recent community sports fundraising show depicted Rodney Brown, 47, from Westridge, as the comical uncle Scara, an all-knowing sports fan.

While uncle Scara’s sporting knowledge is the stuff urban legends are made of, Brown is also a bit of a sports fundi in his own right and has written a book detailing his cricketing journey.

His self-published autobiography entitled Not Out, will be launched at Newlands, tomorrow, Thursday December 10.

Many might know him as a once promising soccer player who had made a bit of a name for himself in both amateur and semi-pro circles, following spells with various clubs in Mitchell’s Plain and elsewhere.

He said he was also among a group of players that helped Colin Gie set up FC Fortune on behalf of former SA international and Manchester United midfielder, Quinton Fortune.

Brown, a facility manager for the City of Cape Town and a former SA Navy physical instructor, is a massive fan of the English game, especially his beloved Everton FC.

He also represents a group of Toffees as chairman of the Cape Town chapter of Everton Supporters Club. In 2017, he helped organise a two-week supporters’ tour to Goodison Park So why a book about cricket and not soccer?

“Well, I thought about it,” says Brown, “and as much as I love soccer, I figured there’s enough football books to go around. Not much has been written about club cricket at amateur level, except for former Western Cape Cricket Association CEO Professor Andre Odendaal’s book on the history of black cricket in South Africa and Mogamad Allie’s More Than A Game.

Not Out is Brown’s third venture into the realm of writing books as he’d already published a love story set on the Cape Flats and a children’s book.

However, this may well be his most ambitious stab at writing a book, considering he has a regular day job and serves on the boards of various non-profit organisations, including Hanna’s Place of Safety, in Westridge, as well Millenium Fundraising, an organisation that helps to raise funds for community sports clubs.

He also serves on the executive of Central Athletic Club’s running committee and is secretary of Glamorgan Cricket Club.

But wearing multiple hats does not wear him down and the lockdown has, in some ways, he says, been a blessing in disguise as it gave him the opportunity to knuckle down in front of his computer.

“Covid taught us a little bit about resilience and the importance of honouring those who passed on and those who are still around,” he said.

Although the book is his autobiography, Brown is quick to point out that it is really everyone’s story.

“It was important for me to tackle this project as there have been quite a few cricketers, sports people, officials and umpires who have influenced me in some way, who have passed on over the last couple of years.

“I felt I needed to celebrate and honour them and allow their legacy to live on in this book,” he said.

“So even though the book is about me as an amateur club cricketer, it’s also about celebrating everybody who’s crossed my path over the last 35 years, he said.

“Nobody really tells our story.”

Many a time people forget about sports people who have gone on.

“Many a time we forget about those who actually make up a squad of players. In football we know only 11 can take to the field, but it’s also about the guys sitting on the bench. It’s important that we celebrate those roles as well because ultimately, they are part of the bigger picture.”