I’m not sure if there has every been a formal farewell written for any departing kankas. If not, this will be a first.
Robbie and Judy arrived in Ankara just about the same time I did: in August of 2004. And it wasn’t long after that Kircaldy Kanka Martyn discovered Ankaragucu. I’ll quote Martyn’s post of April 19,2006 to explain how Robbie got involved.
We beat Gaziantepspor 2-1 in the next match with a last minute goal. I tried the maraton in that game. My friend Robbie went. It was his first game as he is an American born into baseball. He was hooked too. We both went together after that.
We sometimes went to the maraton, sometimes the kale. Then we went hunting for Ankaragucu tops. We couldn't find them anywhere. I was wearing a Fife Flyers Ice Hockey scarf. The Kirkcaldy based Scottish champions play in yellow and blue. In Sakarya, by the fountain without water, I saw some Gecekondu lads with scarfs on. I went to ask where to buy a top. I spoke no Turkish and before I knew it had exchanged my new Flyers' scarf for an old dirty Ankaragucu rag. I was then directed to a shop. Harun's shop. We bought tops there. Mine was number 7 Iskoc, and Rab's was Kral Maymun. Harun took our picture and we were front page news on the Anti-x web-site.
The two of them did their best to entice other members of the teaching staff to come along, and a number of us did. Eventually, Kirkaldy Kanka and his wife Sinead had to leave Ankara (much to the chagrin of those of us who knew them). But Robbie and Judy did a great job of taking the baton and carrying it forward.
Enticing people to go to the matches was a practice that Robbie and Judy continued for the rest of their time in Ankara. They made it a point to invite new teachers to matches each academic year and the groups they managed to bring out to the stadium were truly impressive numbering somewhere in the range of 20-30. And while few of these people had the fortitude to become regulars, many of those in the Kanka group today (launched by Eski Kanka Jim) went to their first matches in the company of the mountaineering couple.
(one of the groups they brought along Judy can be seen sitting in the lower left hand corner eating sunflower seeds)
I should mention that the two mountaineering kankas earned their kanka names by scaling some truly impressive peaks. And never did they do so without bringing the Ankaragucu standard along with them. I lost track of exactly how many mountains they claimed in the name of Ankaragucu.
Not to let them go off without a celebration. We had a farewell bash during Ankaragucu’s first match of this Gucu’s centennial year. A great time was had by all, and the fact that we came away with a 2-2 tie with Diyarbakirspor did not dampen our spirits a bit.