Thursday, 11 April 2013

Reclaiming Sport – The Top 50


On one hand it was Abraham Lincoln who once said, “Better to remain silent and thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt”….

On the other, I think it was Homer Simpson who suggested, “How could you?! Haven’t you learned anything from that guy who gives those sermons at church? Captain Whatshisname? We live in a society of laws! Why do you think I took you to all those Police Academy movies? For fun? Well, I didn’t hear anybody laughing, did you? Except at that guy who made sound effects. Makes sound effects and laughs. Where was I? Oh yeah! Stay out of my booze”.

Both these quotes remind me of an athlete or coach talking from time to time. And how amazing that Lincoln could see that far into the future so as to warn Fullbacks from Canberra about their tweeting protocol?

But I digress. Thankyou to anyone who skimmed over the first five things great about sport. Some mixed comment on the Haka (sorry Tui) and some interesting suggestions as to what other people did and loved around their sporting youths that should be told. I can’t even count to 50 let alone think of a list that has 50 ideas and explanations, so any suggestions more than welcome.

So let’s keep going and see if we can’t get to our 10th reason by the end of the read.

50 Reasons That Make Sport Great:

No. 6: ANZAC Day – I know things are not well at Essendon at present and we should not ignore that in any way. But as for ANZAC Day, sure the AFL Grand Final is the ultimate prize in Aussie Rules….but when the Pies play the Dons amid the honouring and acknowledgement of those who have served Australia throughout the world on the most difficult of stages, there is something spine tingling about this event. 100,000 fans, split 50/50, in silence to respect the haunting last post before the deafening roar anticipating a great clash between two tribes. A 35yr old friend, in his own right a terrific sportsman, doesn’t know it but his face lights up like a 4yr old on Xmas morning when you ask what he’ll be doing for ANZAC Day. He’s told me of the day the Bombers came from nowhere (I think it was 2009) to snatch victory away from Collingwood eight times at last count – and he tells it like the first time, every time. I’m sure Pies fans do the same. A great event on the Australian sporting calendar. Let’s hope it’s peptide free.


No. 7: Selling a Dummy – From Under 7’s, to Wednesday night Social Touch Football, to State of Origin is there a better moment during any match than pretending to throw the ball but not and have this new space open up in front of you. It matters not that you don’t have the pace to get through the aforementioned space, what matters is you have made the space through your crafty brain and slight of hand. It’s the equivalent of having the tennis ball in your hand, with the dog in front of you begging for the throw so it can go fetch. You fake the throw and the dog flies off to where he/she thought it may have gone and there is a moment you feel vastly superior to the dog. The dummy is exactly the same. Right up until you get crunched from the side, or head on by the fullback, or, in my case tearing your hamstring attempting to accelerate through the newly created gap. For that split second you are the smartest person on the field.

No. 8: Great Team Names – What can I say, I like the names a lot of teams play under at all levels of sport. I completely get supporting your team and enjoying a great team name. How much fun is it to say who you play for and who you’re playing against this week….? The Dragons, Pies, Eels, Demons, Panthers, Bookworms, Dolphins vs. the Rebels, Suns, Lions, Saints, Buffalos, Redbacks, Tigers. And then there's my favourite 3: The Columbia FIGHTING KOALAS, The Hiroshima CARP & The Cairo SYRUPMAKERS. I can hear the ground announcer now, “Come on Cairo, let’s hear it for your SSSYYYRRRUPMAKERS!


No. 9: The Poetry of Roger Federer – Granted I don’t have lot of adjectives in my vocabulary. Even if I did have a plethora (noun not adjective unfortunately) of them I think I’d still fall short of the mark to describe watching Federer in action. He’s no longer the best in the world from a ranking’s point of view but a lot of people still go out of their way to watch him play. The game was seeing end of the Sampras era to which I was saying, thank god! My favourite battles were those of Agassi vs. Rafter whose contrasting styles saw such raw and riveting contests – check out their Australian and Wimbledon semi-final battles if you have time. Then along comes the man from Switzerland upsetting Sampras in the round of 16 at Wimbledon in 2001. Hitting one hand off both wings, deft touch, power, spin, gliding over the court, some of the best shots of all time. Just great to watch.

No. 10: Learning Something New – It happens at all levels of sport and is surely one of the reasons we keep turning up? The joy on a kids face when they learn how to drop punt, how to pace their 800m run, catch something for the first time (I’m still waiting for this moment, should be good though). There’s a fast bowler I know, loved everything about him from the moment we met. Big, strong, raw, country boy who was his own man. He bowled big inswingers to the right hander and his bowling coach (one of the best) wanted him to be able to bowl an outswinger to get “nicks at the ‘Gabba”. They tried everything, angle of run up, position at the crease, angle of wrist at ball release, fingers on the seam, velocity of arm speed….but they just couldn’t get it to go. So accepting this they reverted back to just letting him bowl his way and work with that. Then one morning of a match the big quick started bowling outswingers, getting nicks, beating the bat and keeping batsmen’s feet on the crease as they weren’t completely sure. When he came off we were all dying to know what he did….”I just turned the ball around” In the happiest voice you’d hear. A 26yr old with a new trick – how good is that.

So there’s another 5 reasons to go out and kick the footy, shoot the basketball and roll the arm over when you get a spare 10 minutes.



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