Wow. A sports column of my very own...
I sincerely hope that Egon's loyal readership won't miss him too much, and I'm sure that both of you will enjoy my column every bit as much.
I have, of course, been a music journalist in the past, and thought I'd kick off this new and exciting foray into the world of journalism by
connecting my old column and my new column1. So here are my top five sporting songs:
World in Motion - Englandneworder. Undisputedly the best
football anthem ever (John Barnes notwithstanding), written by one of
the great bands of the 1980s. OK, so New Order weren't exactly on prime
form, but compared to the likes of Back Home, Three Lions or the
Anfield (C)Rap, I know which one I'd be listening to.
Soul Limbo - Booker T and the MGs. Every single song output
by Booker T was pure poetry. Soul Limbo isn't the best by a mile, but
is universally (well, Great Britishly, at least) evocative of long lazy
afternoons watching Test Match Cricket without the benefit of stump
cameras, Red Zones and Snickometers.
World Cup Crescendo - Alistair McGowan. McGowan is always on
top form when impersonating football celebrities. This hilarious
offspring of Rory Bremners 'N-N-N-N-Nineteen Not Out' takes the samba
rhythms that were popular at the time (1998, the mercifully brief era
of Ricky Martin), and puts over McGowan's full range of pundits and
presenters, including Mark Lawrenson playing the 'A-ger-ger bells'.
Snooker Loopy - Chas n' Dave. OK, perhaps it's not the most
musically adroit of the list. But it's a giggle, innit?
All I Want For Christmas Is A Dukla Prague Away Kit - Half Man
Half Biscuit. About Subbuteo addiction, a childhood craze that
repeatedly failed to grab me. A high-quality silly song from the
masters of silly songwriting.
OK, what about some real sport? Well... Arsenal have won the Premier
League, Plymouth have won the 2nd. Congratulations to all and sundry, and all that remains to be seen now is whether the Arse will go the season unbeaten. My money says they will, although my history of football betting on h2g2 is far from unblemished, sadly. Some chap called Thierry Henry won the PFA Player of the Year. Don't know much about him, really.
Take your cue, please
Where the bloody hell have all the interesting snooker players gone?
Jimmy went out in the first round, as did Davis and Parrott. Mark
Williams was showing glimpses of having a sense of humour last year,
but he's been knocked out as well. Paul 'my missus gives me oral
encouragement' Hunter lost in the final frame to dour Welshman, Matthew
Stevens. Down-to-the-wire matches are evidently the form for
second-round matches, with Anthony Hamilton and Stephen Hendry
indulging as well. Of the players who are actually discernable from
each other, there's only Ronnie left, and he always seems to be stoned
during post-match interviews. This World Snooker Championship is not
exactly the most exciting I have seen.
Fasten your Buttons
Congrats to our Jenson, who pushed Michael the German Cobbler all the
way in the San Marino Grand Prix, and finished in a well-deserved
second. The BAR team are looking thoroughly impressive this year, and
deserve to finish second behind Ferrari in the Constructors'
Ow, my leg, says a Man U Player
Roy Keane signs up for the Ireland team and then suffers a mysterious
injury. Why does this not leave me reeling with shock?
Zimbabwe in Turmoil
After the mass walkout of Zimbabwe first-team cricketers, their
second-string XI went down to a record low One Day International score
of 35. I can't believe that any team are considering playing Zimbabwe,
not through any particular political motives, but because the actions
of their team are making a mockery of the world game. In the sunnier
climes of the Carribbean, England continue to be frustrated by the rain
in their efforts to beat the West Indies. The first ODI reflected well
on Chris Read as a wicketkeeper-batsman, and he would remain my One Day
choice, although Geraint Jones' frugality means he should remain in the
Test squad. And it's well past time to pension of Marcus Trescothick,
sadly. He's proved he can no longer bat against real pace, which will
hurt in the Ashes.
Several A/K/A Random's 'sporting blues'
Hello, AmSports fans, and I trust you all have recovered from your h2g2 birthday celebrations - or are extending the festivities over the weekend? Surveying the vast array of topics for this week - the young baseball season, basketball and hockey playoffs, plus the annual pro football draft - this diligent Post reporter has, as usual, discovered an item of note from the lands up north I had not been previously aware
A little, exclusive event called the North Pole Marathon.
That's right, 42 KM across the Arctic Ocean ice in snowshoes, and Russian guards with shotguns to cheer the racers on and keep the throngs of polar bear spectators at bay. The winner was one Sean Burch, age 33 of Virginia, USA with a time of three hours, 43 minutes and 17 seconds in the sub-freezing cold and Arctic winds. Fifteen icers anted up the $8,500 entry fee and were flown from Norway in a Russian transport plane to the course on the top of the world. A week after the
event, safely at home, the winner explained that he had 'no interest' in running a road-race marathon, but there was something about slogging around the North Pole that appealed to him.
No casualties were reported.
Of course, the major AmSport news was the big-money pro football draft, where 26 of the top collegians become instant millionaires, and 255 earned a chance to try out for the pro ranks. In the draft, the team's order of selection is determined by how lousy they were last year, with the San Diego Chargers losing their way to the top pick. Eli Manning of Mississippi (son of former NFL great Archie and little brother of current All-Pro quarterback Peyton) was the selection and, since his family had expressed disdain for joining the Chargers, they promptly traded him to the New York Giants for the second-best QB in the draft and the Giants' first round pick next year.
Six of the coveted first-round draftees hail from the University of Miami in Florida, and 14 players from the beloved Ohio State Buckeyes were selected in the draft's seven rounds. By far the most tongue-twisting draftee was Adimchinobe Echemandu, a running back from California, taken in the final round by the beloved Cleveland Browns. A native of Nigeria, Echemandu earned a bachelor of arts in sociology
at Cal and is persuing his Masters' degree, but will gladly postpone his studies to try and make the pro ranks.
There was a solemn note in the mutli-million dollar nationally-televised orgy of excess, however with the mention of former Pro Bowl player Pat Tillman's death in Afghanistan, while serving with the Army Rangers. Tillman quit football, leaving behind a $3.5 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals to enlist, and soon qualified for the elite
Rangers' unit, which was ambushed on patrol along the Afghani border.
So that's the AmSports week that was. Upcoming this weekend is the historic running of the Kentucky Derby for thouroughbred horses, the first leg of the Triple Crown of American horse racing. Some 100,000 fans will jam the infield for raceday, with the beverage du jour called a 'mint julep' which is basically bourbon, ice and a sprig of mint, consumed in mass quantities. Of course, the horses themselves are
tested for steroids and other drugs, but there is no such testing for the owners, trainers and fans.
This is Several, a/k/a random, reporting that the trees outside the window in the belfry are beginning to bud, a welcome bit of green in the foreground of grey skies and blue-grey Lake Erie, over and out.
Well, that's all from my first Post sporting column. I hope you've enjoyed it!