Archive for April 2011
I ran a marathon once. This is what I learnt:
1. The immediate pre-race preparations are vital. The difficulty lies in achieving the delicate balance between taking on board the requisite fuel and not turning your stomach into a disused cement mixer. Eat as early as possible on the day and then evacuate yourself at your leisure in your own lavatory. You’ll then avoid the sensory degradation of the oncourse portaloos. There are things I saw and smelt in the toilets in Barcelona that will pollute my eyes and nostrils forever. If you are overcome after you’ve arrived in the starting area, be warned that loo roll may be sparse. I had to use two facewipes. Miraculously it worked. It was the anal hygiene equivalent of the loaves and fishes.
2. Don’t be afraid to change your race strategy. My tactic was to start slowly and gradually build up pace throughout the duration. My execution of the first part of the gameplan was magnificent. I started slowly. But then maintained the same speed before slowing even further before the end. It wasn’t so much running a marathon. More mincing one.
3. Being last out of 15,000 is funny at least. And you won’t get overtaken from there. Don’t fret if Rupert the Bear/plump women in bras/a man pushing a piano whizz past you. You’ll overtake your rivals later when proceedings resemble less of a foot-race and more a slow-moving queue of sweaty desperation.
4. Make the most of the end. It’s the only bit you’ll enjoy. Get shitfaced on Powerade, molest a steward, prance around in one of those tinfoil pashminas they give you. If you’ve got the energy.
5. Wear your medal. Everywhere. At work. In the shower. In bed. Wear it until an unsightly welt appears on your neck. You’ve earned it.
We all like songs about golf tournaments and here’s a particularly timely one, even though it appears to be about a course called Argasta National and somewhere called Amen’s Corner.
Technology can discombobulate. There were real concerns that the passengers of the early steam train journeys would be so unnerved by the motion that their heads would explode. When the Lumiere brothers showed the first moving images in a Parisian cinema the audience were so terrified they stampeded out onto the street.
I wonder if the elders at Sky Sports considered these dangers when they decided not only to premiere their 3-D Masters coverage but also to roll out the powerful sexual entity that is Colin Montgomerie. Not literally roll out, although that would be an operation rendered facile by the epic undulations on the Augusta course. It’s these vast green slopes that Montgomerie seems completely fixated on and are of course only revealed in their proper glory in the 3-D format.
Montgomerie himself has a mesmeric quality. It’s mainly his chops, which have the same elastic potential as a Creature Comforts tortoise. It’s also what comes out of his mouth: the strange burbles, whispery coughs, the giggles at nothing, and the odd mid-sentence boggle in which the same word will be repeated three or four times like a skipping CD. It’s like he’s become lost in his own huge jowls. 3-D jowls. There’s a head-exploding thought.
County cricket is back on Friday. Sky Sports News marked the onset of the new season by broadcasting a depressing report about the moribund state of the domestic game last night. It appears that its increasingly arcane framework is failing to support the counties.
If you were uneducated in the recent geopolitical nature of the United Kingdom you could watch the item and be forgiven for thinking that the country had undergone some hyperintensive devolution, and each county had become an autonomous state, ferociously protective of its independence.
‘We rather stick pins in our eyes” said the chief executive of Derbyshire when the possibility of merging with Yorkshire was proposed to him, displaying the typically progressive attitude that ensured years of onfield success and rude economic health for his county. It used be one man and his dog that would turn up at Derby, but now the dog doesn’t even bother. Soon they won’t be able afford pins. Or eyes.
Dominic Cork scoffed at the suggestion of Gloucestershire and Somerset forming some alliance and the respective supporters visiting each other’s grounds, as if Bristol and Taunton were two far-flung outposts divided by some war-ravaged wasteland. Cork has always been the voice of reason.
The article emphasized that many of the problems facing the game are caused by the disparity in what each county wants for the future. But surely they all want one thing. The survival of cricket. In any form.
It’s been a better World Cup than four years ago. Nobody has died this time. Nobody has been wrongly accused of murder. Nobody has been wrongly accused of being murdered.
The cricket has been marginally better. Hardly the grandest boast. The ICC could have squeezed more entertainment out of a month of me mindlessly twatting a tennis ball against a garage wall than what transpired in the Caribbean. To be fair wall-twatting kept me amused for hours on end as a child, if not getting the neighbours flocking over to watch the action. That wall proved to be a tough but respected opponent but also became a cherished friend. Perhaps my only friend.
The greatest distinction between the two tournaments lies in that ring of people gathered around the edge of the pitch. They make noises. Wave a flag or two. Get a bit shirty if they can’t get a ticket. They care.
It definitely adds a little something to the atmosphere when the referee has to toss the coin again because no-one heard the call over the crowd.