Notable Blind Sportsmen: Thormanby Spins some Interesting Tales About Extraordinary Talent and Exploits of Some, Daily Racing Form, 1922-03-28


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, t I I I I i ! I j a I I i i | r i i . p 1 P _ I a I r i~ ■ J n p • ■ !j it " J j ■ • " " Ls f • e- ■ i- » IP i- a, a t re Id 1. « • 2-1 " »4 2 LS 31 ; : * 13 13 14 14 ,. 10 Iu 14 14 28 :;, 7 „ II U 11 ii .- " 4. *. ». . a* t 3 NOTABLE BLIND SPORTSMEN EX Thormanby Spins Some Interesting Tales About Ex- nj traordinary Talent and Exploits of Some. Of the many interesting articles from the pea of A . Thai aaeallj . covering a wide diversity of subjects, a there are perhaps none more entertaining than his : tales of notable epertaaaea who were blind, their cord !! this e-.traordinai v talen; and marvelous exploits of some , of them. Says Thormanby : of J*°" "I c.ncc beard the late Professor Pawcett, who. as WIU would a young man. bad the sight of both eye: destroyed force »orp by shots from his father-; gun. say that he knew certain parts of the River lichen so well that if 1|! deep* w.|s placed ia particular spots and told where he was . In- could throw a fly with unerring dexterity into tiJ. the a pool when- la- k-n-w a trout lay. And not only termed |n! that, but so quick was his ear that when a fish rose 1 down _ he could tell by the splash exactly where to throw f his tiy. in ;n" "1 have often seen him at Cambridge rowing in the Ancient Mariners Bight," xvitii brother Dons son . of aquatic tastes, and keeping atrehx and time with ... the best of them. I have seen bin akatlag, too. . . but tin n he always hail a companion to pilot him. " death "Probably most Yorkshire men are familiar with the name of John lletcalf, Btiad Jack of Kaarea- ""j disease, and borough." who is geaei ally cited as the most ex- Iraorihi.aiy B*ta*rr of a sightless sportsman on ."" record, lletcalf was attacked by aaaallpoz at the "J1 iiiHiiiry "" age of six. and eventually lost his eyesight. Yet be was an enthusiastic lover of coursing, steeple- ",1 been air chasing and hunting. Be rode wondi rfully straight !1!r to hounds, guided by his acute sense of hearing In " and the occasional warnings of a friend who kept j"1 been near him. P.ut his greatest feat in lie- saddle was Iow his memorable watch with aaathcr Yorkshire sports- no *• man. three miles on the flat, owners up. for S2.8M A side. Mctcalf. win. hail a small stud of hi- "" own at this time, rod" hi-, tea horse: betting J**1 roairs was 20 to 1 against him. haeaaae it era* thought h-v by the shape of the course, a circular one. would be ,1 l; ratal to his chance. They hail to ride three limes :iri carry iroiind the course to make the three miles. There V:l1 were posts at intervals, and at every one of these »at Metcalf Stationed a man with a bell. The sound ::lj:v of the bells guided him and enabled him to keep "In when the coiir-e. Ami the end of it xvas that he rode in le an easy winner. !" from the the "BLIND JACKS" EXPLOITS. ma is "Rut Plind Jack was also a remarkable runner. jaws . as the following anecdote will prove. It was the Week before the York spring meeting in 1742. when J the well-known Colonel Modish, being at the Dragon .. Hotel. Harrogate, met Oaptala Btaadiffe there, t. the whose groom was rather a celebrated runner. Met- Which ., calf, happening to be at Hit; Dragon tap, heard some talk Bbeat the grooms powers as a pedes- J"J! will trial, when he said he woud run him himself from lose "sl where they stood to Knaresbcroiigh Churchyard rate, if anyone would back him. This M"llish. who upon. " had often heard of Plinil Jack, offered to tlo. anil ." there and then hacked Metcalf for hB!."i against air "_ Captain Stancliffcs groom. The men soon got ~ A ready, the groom in running costume, but Metcalf : made no preparations. A tall, heavy-made man, *J be iriae _ with a slouching walk, it looked, even bail he not be-ii blind, as if the otitis were 100 to 1 against j1 tubes him. However, they were started, Iyes taking the . ! lead. No Eyes at t!ie Basse time hecptag close lie- lb* " "" hind. AH at eace Met-alf was seen to deviate to the light, and soon got into another dicection. to when most of the people, thinking it was alt over. "** ever, turned back. The groom kept on straight for the . bthtge over the Swale, while Metcalf had also made is |J for the river, into which he plunged, clothes anil the " all. an I. swimming across, reached the goal long done " before his eppOfbeat. The way he had taken xvas is IS three-quarters of a mile the nearer -m-. "Bat Jack Metcalf not only distinguished himself "" as a horseman anil a runner; he was also B capital " head at bowls. He managed in this way: A friend earls :." aad confederate was stationed close to the jack ami Vl" aaother arid way. Tiny kept ap a constant conver- ,r sation. ami from the sound of their voices he !,:l1 part, guessed tin- distance . His dexterity at cards, too. "s was vi nderful. But perhaps his most extraordinary 1,l: achievements was as a boxer. He was a man of T niagnificient physique, six feet two inches in height and very finely made. His want of sight, however. ;!u i!" alight well have be n thoaghl a fatal bar to his o1 ever attaining pugilistic laurels. Yet it was not -v by so. and among other feats with his fists he fairly thrashed in six hard-fought rctinds a man as big he as himself and reckoned the champion of the neigh- " this borhood. •" "Metcalf was a soldier, too. and served all through -* the campaign of 1745 against the Jacobite Proton- the ! der. played the fiddle he was a first-rate meal- -1 cian at the head of his company after the fashion taint ,!i of the Highland pipers. On his reiiirn from the :- wars he became a trader. In 17."il he started the first stage coach or stage wagon as they called "■ it then, between York and Knaivshorough, driving ,c" it himelf. twice a wick in summer and once in he lie winter. Kventually he became a contractor for r " road-making, aad it xvas in this capacity he made ! his fame and l.rtune. for his engiu-ering skill was : remarkable. Finally this wonderful blind sports- r!:l the man di.-ii at Bpefforth, near Wetherby. on April ho hut 27. 1810, in the ninety-fourth year of his ag--. _ "Jack Motciifs exploits, bowcict, were rivaled by — a aotaMe Scotsman named McOiivray. who. despite j,„ his blindness, was both a fust-rate joekoy and an :. ; excellent jadge t»f horses. When examining a horse n, you he waa guided entirely by feeling all over the ani- „■ mals frame, but so well did he know tic- good ;i, the points anil the bad ones in a hire* that he never in made a mistake. |i "Of his reaaarkabte gifts m this rcapul the M- ra lowing story is a proof. Mr. Blrale, an owner of eo ,„ race hi rses and a coach proprietor in the South of hj Scotland, picked up a fine bargain at Edinburgh on Hallow Pair, the great eqaiae mart of Sent land. ,,, U*y On his way home with hi* parchase he put ap at ,.„ the P.l.cksMicis inn, r. ia. kepi by McGflrraya the i, father. Mr. Birnie, while sitting at his dinner, gs asked Willie McGirrraj to go .-:ud examine his j, Brill purchase, at the same- time extolling the baadnoaai to D figure, the spirit and the docility of the animal, ftj In half aa hour or *o retong IfcGihrray returned. ,„ to and on being asked to give his opinion of the p purchase replied the horse was everything that th the ould be wished for. had he been able to see with jii»i u both eyes. Mow do yea know- be does not aee with bath eyes. the owner asked. I have passed tt Bay hand over and over the right side of his bead, tt waa the reply, and his eyelids never flinch: bat v bad when I da so on the other -jde they close instant- w ly. It was found that the horse was really blind - on the right side-, and It wa a Mind jockey who u- r diet ore red an haperfectleti which the purchaser, rj five i first-rate jadge, had failed to delect. •;, "As b Jockey UcQIlrraj a;:- gaided, when he rode •,. i race, by his knowledge of two cr three ran ;, coarse*, and as be never weal npon nakaowa ground be his lack of sight tlid not appear to be much of a i detriment. At least be won a* aaaaj races as most :-; Jockeys ia the north, with the exception of Toaraay ,,. whose relationship to the Dawsona at all times 1 - eared him goal saoaata. The Mind man naturally ,, ut treated Beach be Ma acute aeaee of bearing, which .... freqnentil informed hint when hi- opponents horse .„ had shot his bolt by the tune his pipes were playing. , i "McCilvray. in addition to his race riding, did a ;,, small trade in cattle ami In watches, of which he j, was act minted a rare good judge. N "A blind man was pointed oal to BBC when I was [„ in Lincolnshire In is." 9 as the hero of some extraor- ., dinar] feats of horsemanship . His name was Aii- ut ,, drears, and he was generally known as Blind :„ Tommy. On February Is ivr.0. he rode a blind „ n horse- from Stamford to Spalding twenty miles. eo Stirling from the olive Breach. Stamford, at s a. ,,. in., be arrived at the White Horse. Spalding, at ,, 12:30; aterted for his return Jouroei at 2:8* p. m.. .„ and reached Stamford at 7::at p. m.. the arheae or Jeaaatj being aceaanplishcd walnut ■ guide. i j ELIMD EIDES TI-IE BLIND. "P.ut i his real was far ,c.:psed by another which hi he achieved on March 12, ISBd, whea be rode a -i Mind borne from the Boyal Hotel. Peterbeeemgh, to bi the White Hart. Wisbech. He started from Peter- ;i borough at 10 a. in., wen! through Thomey and le reached Wisbech at I "» p. *».; hit Wisbech aeal :i da] a I 1 ;:o p. m., and arrived at Peterl»orou-h at in ii s p. in . accomplishing tin- whole distance as before In without a guide. six years utter, in Mas lt"- v this wonderful blind ma a rede a donkey from the in Hire ami Hounds at Wisbech through Thorn-y and at Thiirlby, in Lincolnshire, a distance of thirts miles, h all through the Ken country, with d. kes tin either side of he road, ci tweh.. bnar* withoat a guide, f Andrews was a r.n k sprint iiinner. too. and heal his k tin- well known prtrfrsHiolwll C.-oig.- Mix. in a b hundred yjrds rot- on the Thorpe ami Peterborough He tl road for a stake of 2S a able on August U, lt*M . at "In l .s inr old U ■ n-i. Mr. i . A. Wheejrr, wrajte ti to We ti vl thi i-i - In* -: at Stamford, to p — j,„ :. ; n, you „■ ;i, the in |i ra eo ,„ hj on ,,, U*y ,.„ the i, gs j, Brill to D ftj ,„ to p th the jii»i u tt tt v bad w - u- r rj five •;, •,. ;, be i :-; ,,. 1 ,, ut .... .„ , i ;,, j, N [„ ., ut ,, :„ „ n eo ,,. ,, .„ or i j hi -i bi ;i le :i in ii In v in at h f his k b He tl at ti p ini|iiire whether Andrews was still living, aanl in reply Mr. Lloyd wrote as follows; The paraaa refer t.« i arefl known here and all around this lelghburbood as "Blind Tommy. faa ask whether extraordinary stories of his riding feats are brae. I can assure you that they are tpiite autheii-lic and nernaaa in this office ami elsewhere can roach for their accaracy; 1 saw him on his journey Spalding, in 180*. Tommy is still alive and during the fair here on March -7. lstls. he went into a public house sad challenged the company to play two at dominoes, his pirtn.-;- being" a ticket oUo; r at the Midland Station here, who gave me information. Tommy ami liis pariner won the game. He- is really an extraordinary character: be fine! out any house or place he wants: he Beeaaa tincl the particular duet war by stamping his foo*. I may add that, about the time of his journey Spalding, a traveler who had lost his way was guided by Tommy with a lighted lantern nttlOQB country from Thurlby to a village almost a mjlu a half distant. "Lieutenant .lohn Iloliuau. the blind traveler, deserves m ration in this connection, for he was a keen upwifamaa with both rod and gun after he losi his sight, which he tlid at the age of twenty five. It is said that his hearing was so •xact anil acute- that when a covey of partridges a pheasant got up In- WOUM three times out of deara his bird. This is the only instance I know e-f a Mind man attemptMg to *h*ot. Lieutenant liolmaii traveled twice- rnand the world, ami published the narrative uf these- two expeditions, besides a graphic- account of his travels throagh Russia ami Siberia. All these- journeys wen- endl I tafeea after he had entirety last ids sight, it is related that en one occasion in- was attached by a lohn- bear, which he shot, although he had nothing his ear to guide his aim. Put this can only bo regard d as ,-, piece of sheer luck. The mere fact, however, of a blind man having tie- nerve to carry gun is r arkalile. And for a man wln . after losing his sight, to make- up his mind to travel, iu" lavs, renaenaber, when there wore no Cooks personally conducted tours, and none of tin- aaedera luxury and ease of traveling, is a proof of singular confidence in his sera newer* of getting about witli- th- ad Of eye-. Most if let all of his journeys wen- of tin- nature o exploration expedition* regions little- known, ami consequently In- had rough it in a fashion which mlghl well have teste-, i the powers and resources of a man with perfect sight. His skin as a ftaharmaa I do net take ■neb BCCOanl of. because it was not. like- Profes- Pawcetta tly-fiabing, bit his shooting leatn, niu-i roafess, Bseved me ra unbounded astouish- •llellt. "The late Mr. Kavaangh, tang a well-known mem-ber of i In- 11 use of I ommonx, tboagh not blind, suffered from physical disabilities which might have been thought men- fatal te tin- eajayaanael of sjiort thna the of eight. He had neither nrma nor legs. Vet he lllUlted and shot ald e!loe; ai.d in all these wc- an adept. He was [net ue. I on boreebnch a kind of basket arrangement, and gabled his hois-- partly with his teeth and partly by hooks attached to his stumps, which reached aoaae six In s from each shoulder. In shooting a wooden inn was attached to the left stump, which gave him a p st for his gun . "Sir William Maxwell of Moureitli. the owner of l-ilho da Put. i. winner of the St. I -ger of 1H1."., lost arm in the Peninsular war. yet. after that mis- hap, waa e,, r the- heel game shots ,.r his ,iay. had a gnu apechUla made- for him. and was another Instance of a pin-ky sportsmans determlaa-lion not to be deterred by physical disability from pursuing his favorite- agort,*

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