My name is Andrew Clarke I was born and raised in a small farming community in Gallonboy, Kingscourt, Co Cavan Ireland. As a young child I had an interest in forging and therefore trained as a blacksmith. After a number of years I became self-employed and have been for the past thirty-five years. Although I became self-employed I always made time for sport. I participated in many sports including racquetball and handball but tug of war was the one that truly stood out to me.
Over my forty years of competing in tug of war I competed in many levels and my passion grew deeper for the sport. When I retired from this sport I truly missed it so I decided to coach and train our local team. Over the seven years of training this team I always thought about how I could bring this sport into the future as it had so many benefits to its participants including awareness of the importance of proper foods and diet, discipline and its capability of creating a top level of fitness amongst the athletes. Other aspects of the sport I felt strongly about was that no matter what gender, young or old they can participate.
Questions I would ask myself over these several years were “how can I enhance training technique, prevent injuries, facilitate the sport and reduce factors like weigh in time, team registration and foul play”. For a long time I felt that my goal was impossible to achieve, until one morning whilst travelling to work with only my conscious to listen to it struck me that I had the answers the my questions all along, with excitement I woke my son who was sleeping in the lorry beside me to tell him my idea to which he replied dad you never stop talking about this tug of war machine and fell back to sleep. As I travelled further down the road I pulled in to a restaurant to get breakfast before we began the day’s work. While waiting on the breakfast my son asked me what was I talking about previous that morning, I proceeded to tell him but he couldn’t understand what I was trying to explain so I then demonstrated to him using a salt and pepper shaker what my idea was.
To think back and realise that this machine has developed from the demonstration of the salt and pepper shaker to what it is now is astonishing. This development has reached and gone beyond my expectation and continues to develop even further.