Monday, August 31, 2009

A Farewell to Moutaineering Kanka and Kankie (Robby and Judy)

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.

(Robbie in the Atlas Mountains)

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.

All those in the Kanka group would like to wish Mountaineering Kanka and Kankie a most excellent adventure in Africa and Bali not to mention a speedy return to cheer on Ankaragucu once again. We’ll miss you guys.


  1. Many thanks to Eski Kanka who, with much help from Carlo, finally got this post up with the photographs.

  2. Yes, thanks go to Flying Dutchman Kanka Carlo for making this post possible.

    We have been trying for a few weeks now to post Battle Damaged Kanka Damon's excellent summary of the Mountaineering Kankas time in Ankara but we have had a few probs with posting the photos. Having Carlo in our midst is a bit of a plus at times like these !!

    So, apologies to all for the delay in posting the very important occasion of their Farewell Party in The Platin Bar on the 8th of August 2009.

    This was a special night and a really fantastic send-off for 'the famous two'. They carried on from Kirkcaldy Kanka's work in encouraging new kankas into the group and they will be pleased to know that Connect Kanka Steve and Phillie Kanka Jamie are carrying on their great work !

    On a personal note, I have always been amazed by their sheer enthusiasm and loyalty to Ankaragucu and (if you forgive my racism) this was an unusual sight for me to see from 'Yanks' who were first and foremost Baseball fanatiks !!

    Their enthusiasm has obviously rubbed off on Connect and Phillie who are now full-on Ankaragucu fanatiks, and although I'm a Red Sox fan, I can't ever put myself into their league for such loyal support for another sport, ie, footie !

    Going back to the Farewell Party, it was also significant that Maniac Kanka was there since it was HE who really put us all together way back in Kirkaldy Kanka Martyn's time.

    Defo a night to remember, but the photos don't show that the Arm Wresting Contest was won by Damon (easily !!) and the Popcorn Firing Contest was won by ..... yours truly (I don't want any arguments on this !!). The popcorn contest will be explained at a later date, but it should be said that the locals in Platin were extremely amused .... to put it mildly !!

    On behalf of all the kankas who can't comment, we wish you both an enjoyable and safe journey up Africa and into the Far East. We await your return here and I can assure you both that your welcome back party will be even more fun than your farewell party !!

    In the meantime, keep reading the Blog and look forward to receiving more photos of world famous mountains conquered in the name of ......... ANKARAGUCU !!

    All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

  3. Connect Kanka Steve1:33 am

    Great post! These kankas will be missed.

  4. Mountaineering Kanka2:30 pm

    Thanks guys very much. We're very lucky to have had such a great experience with all of you. Promise though that we will be back to support the sari lacivert, and that we will be keeping tabs on everything from afar. I fully expect Connect and Philly Kanka to drag as many new CSIs to the game as possible this weekend. If you dally, the students will have them supporting an Istanbul team before you can blink. Get them now!!!

    Love to you guys and to AnkaraGucu!!!

  5. Connect Kanka Steve3:08 pm

    I was told that on the bus to Safranbolu, one of the Turkish teachers accompaning the group expressed support for one of the Istanbul teams, and she was promptly accosted with questions like "Why don't you support a team from your city?!" Thus far Philly Kanka and I have been doing our job.

  6. Well done you guys. Kirkcaldy Kanka and Moutaineering Kanka will be mighty proud of you both if you can continue this great tradition.

    I'll be interested to see how many of your new 'interns' turn up for the Ankaragucu v Gencler match on weekend of 19/20 September !!