Childhood Extreme Sport In A Major Metropolitan Area # 1

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Due to the sensitive contents of this hub, a cautionary note.

This sport was carried out by totally unprepared kids with little fear and most probably a fair amount of insanity.

The basic safety regulations where totally ignored, it was carried out without supervision, also the emergency medical teams were not even on the scene.

When queried after these stunts, we questioned the participants and asked about there injuries, and primary first aid. A grubby handkerchief a quick addition of some saliva appeared dapped on the wound and then wrapped around the bloody hand.

SO DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME _ IF YOU ARE IN YOUR SANE MIND

A greater part of my childhood and early adulthood was spent in this area


Yes as a child I grew up in the flat lands, this is where at the age from 3 I lived there, however from 6 years old through to about 12, this was not only my stomping ground, it was the arena for our version of what is now called Extreme Sports. Hillbrow has changed over the years, but those memories of that era and erea still echo in my mind, surfacing at the oddest of times.

My association with Hillbrow last 18 years, from a 3 year old toddler to an adult aged 22.

show route and directions
A markernugget street doornfontien -
doornfontien, Johannesburg, South Africa
[get directions]

B markernugget street and hadfield road johannesburg -
Nugget St, Johannesburg 2001, South Africa
[get directions]

It may be fun to take a virtual trip around the areas of Hillbrow, Hillbrow is the final area of the metropolitan areas within the 5 or is it 10km area surrounding Johannesburg City center that is combating Urban decay,

A lot of the street and buildings are still in the shambolic state that they where in, however after doing a a virtual stroll around some of my hangouts,

Cleanliness and order is starting to show, to all concerned, the people, the police and the municipalities endevours, a big thank you and good luck in your endevours.

What Extreme Sports Where Available in The 50's

To start off with, if you take a virtual stroll down the above map and move the little guy down to where Nugget and Hadfield Road meet, on the left you will see a grass embankment.

Nugget Hill starts at that point, and is a one way street, which takes one up from Doornfontien to Hillbrow, so called becauseit was built up on the top of an outcrop of kopjie. This hill was one of the steepest hills around, what made it a landmark was its incline. It was a one way street heading uphill, the hill itself was not all that frequently used by many drivers, as the risk of the car stalling was great.

On the one side was the bare rock face of the cutting, now on the other side of the road was an embankment with two terraces. The upper terrace had a park and playground, then a sharpish descent, to the lower embankment, approximately midway down, which was quite broad and we often played soccer and cricket on it, tame sports. From this terrace, the slope descended down to Hadfield road, which was an extremely busy road throughout the day from early morning through to late evening.

So that is the general layout. Have a stroll down and see what I mean.


EXTREME SPORT # 1

We were a group of kids that range in age from 7 being the youngest, to 11 being the eldest, mainly consisting of elder brothers with us youngsters, who played an active part in the activities. On our way there we would pass a green grocer to scrounge a whole bundle of cardboard boxes.

Now armed with these boxes we would scramble up the slope to the fence at the top of the embankment, there we would flatten the box, climb aboard , as for kick off, get someone to give you a shove.

A note on how to use the cardboard glider,you sat on the cardboard, folded back the front end enough to create an "L" shape, this was your where your hands would grip, this was not a steering wheel, to steer one used your own body weight, shift your balance from one side or the other. This very rudimentary, but this did actually work.

The object was to see, first of all whether we could reach the first level, and then of course how far across the plateau we would travel, All supposing that is if we could even get down to the level without falling off.

The latter of course was quite often which end up with you rolling uncontrollably down the slope. That on or would end with a couple of bruises scratches, worst of all was the wounded pride especially when you fell off within the first couple of feet after leaving the starting point.

A quick note before continuing, under that green grass, it was not just sand but small outcrops of rocks, and odd clumps of nettles!

Although we went down the slope at fair sped, the incline was at least about forty to fifty degree, which meant we travelled, rolled and tumbled down this rough terrain at quite speed. We only suffered a bit of minor scratches and bruises, a couple of minor sprains, which was what we normally picked up playing soccer, or rugby on the quiet roads around us.

The Day the Record was Broken.

It was an earlier start one morning, it had rained the night before, the grass was slightly damp, I had managed to find a sheet of cardboard, this was deluxe cardboard. Not Only was it bigger, enough for two boards, it was a lot thicker and it had a waxy kind of surface.

We charged up the upper embankment, I found my favourite jump off spot, my brother (I am not sure) took the other half of the cardboard. On the count of 3 we launched ourself off.

Whether it was the the damp grass, the waxed under surface or one of those great runs, in no time at all we hit the plateau, zoomed across the four or five yards, then proceeded to zoom down the second slope.

This was even a faster ride, hit the pavement on Hadfield road, the paving stones flashed by in a blink of an eye. I landed in the road bits of cardboard sating flying as speed across firstly, to the centre of the road, the traffic with hooters going the queal of brakes flashed past in my peripheral vision. Past the halfway mark, the traffic coming down from left ground to a halt with a cacophony of sound assaulting my eardrums,I hit the pavement and ended up in a bundle on the pavement huddled against a building wall, elbows scraped my jersey shredded, my knee throbbing and one hand bleeding.I realized what disruption I had caused, so descression being the better part of valour made a hasty exit. Ran into a nearby building jumped into the lift and made my hasty escape form the motorists.

Aftermath, no cars where damaged I think quite a few of drivers of the cars hit the many cafe and T rooms, to steady there nerves and regain their composure,

I was the top of the leader board, as my brother had bailed somewhere down the second slope,always blamed "engine failure".

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Comments 9 comments

sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 5 years ago from South Africa

Ah I remember it well. I bailed on the pavement before the road.I may be stupid but not brave! I think there were one or two fender benders but I don't recall, as I was making my own exit over the bottling factory wall, into to an alley and on to Saratoga avenue, brakes screeching and hooters blaring!


Just_Rodney profile image

Just_Rodney 5 years ago from Johannesberg South Africa, The Gold Mine City Author

I was not being brave! I held on for fear of losing momentum and ending up under the wheels of the truck which I had only managed to skim past.

You must admit that was one of those adrenalin rushes that you do not often experience.

Thanks for the comment.


Candie V profile image

Candie V 5 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

The adventures that turn a mom's hair prematurely gray (if we ever even know the complete truth!!!) Now look at you two.. so responsible and polished.. incredible! LOL!


Just_Rodney profile image

Just_Rodney 5 years ago from Johannesberg South Africa, The Gold Mine City Author

Candie V, well that is how life actually is, is it not! I have a couple of other "Extreme Sports" that I may post, however as they mostly all involve hills, morning traffic, homemade "vehicles" and some sort of risk to limb. Well maybe next year!

Thanks for the comment.


Candie V profile image

Candie V 5 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

... and you lived to tell the tales! I'll be waiting for the next installment of the Extreme Sporting Chef!


Just_Rodney profile image

Just_Rodney 5 years ago from Johannesberg South Africa, The Gold Mine City Author

Not only lived but left with my all my marbles and abilities. Will be back!


Candie V profile image

Candie V 5 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

Got any extra marbles for me? I seem to be short an aggie or two!


Just_Rodney profile image

Just_Rodney 5 years ago from Johannesberg South Africa, The Gold Mine City Author

The last marbles where seen flying around the heads of some "hoods", that had invaded our holiday bivwac, built on a Rocky slope of a hillock.

It was a dawn raid, carried out with cub scout prescision.


Candie V profile image

Candie V 5 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

I sit transfixed... and then..?

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