Sunday, 28 April 2013

Old notions in Modern Sport

Sporting Exile V

Sometimes intelligent and well spoken, sometimes....not so much. The modern day athlete.

Hearing from a Primary School Teacher the other day, she told me of some Professional Athletes who came to encourage students in years 1, 2 & 3 to read books by, yep, reading out loud to the class. By the time the third of her Year 1 students looked up at her to correct another mispronunciation of the book aimed at 1st to 3rd year reading levels she decided it was time for some Q&A of the athletes instead.

“Do you enjoy going to schools to meet the children?” One of her class asked.

“Definitely, yeah. It’s one of the funnest things we do.” Came the response. That's lunch Year 1.

She wanted to take the Athletes aside and give them a speaking and reading lesson. My argument was at least they turned up on time and in their sporting team’s clothing. Small victories.

So what has sport put forward this time:

31. The Team Song – I can’t remember all of the games I’ve been a part of. The good, bad and completely embarrassing but I have vivid memories of the great song renditions lead by some very amusing and enthusiastic people. Also great to sing the team lyrics when the team you support has another victory….or in the case of the Melbourne Demon fans, practice them. Sorry Dan.

32. Team Clown – Everyone’s got one and if you don’t then it’s highly recommended you hire one. Stats don’t show how effective this person can be, especially when things aren’t always going your way. A day in the cricketing version of hell (Valley’s Cricket Ground in Ashgrove, Brisbane at 38 degrees, and 90% humidity in the middle of January) was looking long. Our clown volunteered to run around the wicket block after every delivery of a six ball over and be back in place for the next ball. Sure he was cooked but totally worth it.

33. Great Strategies – When Duncan Armstrong rides the Matt Biondi stroke wave to create a draft that saw him over power Biondi for the gold in the 200m at Seoul the story of how the win was planned just blew me, and most definitely Laurie Lawrence away, “Stuff the silver, we came for the gold!”. Pat Cash breaking down the Ivan Lendl forehand in the 1987 Wimbledon Final, The UQ Med XV deciding to not drop the ball in a distinct game plan change for a sub districts semi-final are some of the best. Would love to hear some of your favourites?

34. Duets – Lennon & McCartney, Simon & Garfunkel, Abbott & Costello, Jerry Seinfeld & Larry David,  Kylie & Jason from Neighbours. Every industry has its great combinations. Sport lends itself to some terrifically entertaining duos: The Williams’ Sisters and the Woodies on the tennis court. Horan & Little for the Wallabies, Kenny & Sterling for the Eels, Lillee & Thompson opening the bowling for Australia, Lexcen & Bond for Australia II.  When great combo’s come together it’s something you never forget.
Dynamic Duos

35. Girls Playing with Boys – Something uplifting when in junior (and senior when it occurs) when the girls get to play with and against the boys. Equality on the sporting field in terms of payment and viewership (unfortunately) doesn’t remain in many cases as they mature but the girls more than hold their own when they line up against the boys in junior tennis, league, AFL, cricket, basketball – you name it. And it’s just great to watch.

36. Admitting Your Opponent Was Better on the Day – Yes, I know. It’s an old fashioned notion but it still happens and when it does it warms my aging heart. Is it just me or are some of the best at the moment the big four on the Men’s Tennis Circuit – Nadal, Federer, Murray & Djokovic?

Sure something may have gone wrong for you, not gone your way or even something that wasn’t called by a referee or umpire. But when you give credit to your opponent for their victory you also do yourself the same.

37. Sporting Poetry – No, not the latest jingo, rhyming beat your chest stuff. I’m talking the classics. The likes of Henry Lawson and for your reading pleasure, Banjo Paterson, “BRING me a quart of colonial beer, And some doughy damper to make good cheer, I must make a heavy dinner; Heavily dine and heavily sup, Of indigestible things fill up, Next month they run the Melbourne Cup, And I have to dream the winner.” Apologies if that's a bit too Tom Waterhouse.

38. Roy and HG – When seasoned broadcaster HG Nelson and retired athlete turned expert commentator ‘Rampaging’ Roy Slaven get going on any topic is there anything better….I think not. I miss them doing This Sporting Life.
 Anyone who listened as these two called the Greco-Roman wrestling during the Sydney Olympics with moves including “The Battered Sav”, “flat bag” and “hello boys” and didn’t laugh….well no one can help you I’m afraid.
"Do you listen to Roy & HG?"

39. Your Health – Again it’s an old fashioned notion but there is supporting evidence everywhere that being active helps you both mentally and physically. What better reason do you want?

40. Knowing useless and or useful statistics – Who owns the following…..99.94 runs per innings, 18 golfing majors, 17 for the men and 24 for the women, 6 NBA MVP’s (I hope I’ve got this one right…) and 426 AFL games played? And they’re just some of the big ones. Stats in sport keep going and going and going. So much so that if you do it properly there’s little time for number 39. So it’s win/win really.

Thanks Sport.

Talk soon.



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