No sport?

Is nobody on this site interested in sport? (Well, I know Soutie and John Mackie are, but they need to be drawn out.) These are interesting times, but not a whisper here … it’s as bad as ‘the other place’.

First, did anyone watch Barcelona dismantle Arsenal on Tuesday? I’ve followed Arsenal since I was ten years old, but I’d have been disappointed had they knocked Barca out … the football that Xavi, Iniesta, Messi et al. play is so wonderful that I’d like to see them win every match. Man U v. Bayern was primitive in comparison.

It’s a pity Barca are up against Inter in the semis … it might have made a great final. No English clubs remain, whereas there were three in the semis last season … then it was presented as incontrovertible evidence that the Premiership is the greatest league in the world; now we see it was just part of the ebb and flow. Man U look a spent force, and the Ferguson era may finally be drawing to a close.

As for rugby, an exciting weekend is in prospect with the Heineken Cup quarter-finals. Leinster and Munster have tough ties, but at least they’re both at home. An entirely French/Irish semi-final line-up is not unlikely, in my opinion (only Northampton and Ospreys can prevent it, and they’re both playing away).

I’m looking forward to the weekend, starting with Leinster v. Clermont Auvergne tomorrow night. And looking forward to Barcelona v. Inter already.

Author: Brendano

I am a 54-year-old freelance editor living in rural Ireland with my wife, Pauline; our 21-year-old daughter, Susanna (when she’s not away at university); and two terriers. Our son, Sean, died suddenly on 17 October 2010, aged 19.

44 thoughts on “No sport?”

  1. Ferret, they still make life more colourful and interesting, and can provide great drama.

    But I know I’ll never convince a non-football fan from Newcastle. 🙂

  2. Morning, Levent … yes, here too. What an amazing player.

    I hope Argentina will do well in the World Cup. Spain v. Argentina in the final, perhaps.

  3. I thought not, Boadicea … never mind. 🙂

    Maybe I should do a sports ‘on this day’ … did you know that on this day in 1911 the first squash tournament was played (at the Harvard Club in New York City)? Did you want to?

    More interestingly, Kurt Cobain and Pablo Picasso both died on 8 April. I admit it, real life is more gripping than sport. 🙂

  4. Er – yes – ‘real life is more gripping than sport’
    Mind you, there are those who say that ‘real life’ does not include history 🙂

  5. Aussie, aussie, aussie – Oi, oi, oi!

    Cricket, Brendano.
    Forget the lesser games and concentrate on cricket, in all three forms. Now that’s sport. 😉

    There are several posts on cricket on DNMT. Admittedly only Soutie, John Mackie and Shermeen are cricket tragics like me, but you’re welcome to join us!

  6. Cricket has three forms, Bearsy? Oh God, it’s worse than I thought. 🙂

    I think it might be too late for me to find out anything about cricket, though I did attend (loosely speaking) a Kent v. Sussex match once. Nothing much seems to happen … I’m sure that’s a reflection on me, and not on cricket. 😉

  7. Or possibly just bow-ties, t. I know Ferret and Bearsy are quite keen on punning, but that’s not in the Olympics yet.

  8. Brendano, as you know, I enjoy rugby a great deal. I loved playing it when at school and for a brief period some years after I had left. But watching others can never arouse the same passion as playing it myself. The latter stages of the World Cup or the decider in a test series can be thrilling but I just don’t see how people can become so totally involved in the activity of others. As for football, I really cannot see the point of it as a spectator sport. 22 chaps aimlessly kicking a ball around for 90 minutes with a forlorn hope that at some point it may go into the opponent’s net. I am constantly amazed that anyone can become so passionate about so mindless an activity being carried out by other people who are unknown to them.

    I enjoy watching cricket, but again a lot depends on the state of the competition rather than the play itself. If I have no reason to be partisan I lose interest. I think skiing is one sport I enjoy watching where the competition is almost irrelevant.

    One thing I will say about sport, it is a healthy substitute for more physical aggression. Those who object to it, should recognise what the alternative would be.

  9. Hello Brendano; Le sport? Désolée, non, moi non plus.
    I once had to go and cover the Grand National for a certain newspaper in Liverpool, but was so bloody hopeless at anythig sport related that my brief was, ‘For God’s sake, just don’t report on anything to do with horses.’
    What the…?!
    Sorry, off topic but have you been zapped from Dark side?

  10. Sipu, the British middle classes suddenly became interested in football when Nick Hornby told them it was improvised theatre, and that led directly to its extremely high profile and associated wealth today. Hornby was right … at its best it is high-class human drama, much as traditional fans like The Bulletin (RIP) might scoff (Camus said he preferred football to the theatre). I take your points, but one may as well say that one would not go to see Hamlet unless one had a part in it, in my view.

    Having said all that, my wife complains bitterly if she has to watch football, but loves to watch rugby, and I agree that the latter is a far more exciting game when played well.

    Incidentally, you may be interested in this.

  11. Sorry, Brendano, I’m not interested in football even if Scotland is playing. I’m only interested in rugby if Scotland is playing. But Formula 1, snooker – do they count? Skiing, skating and some of the snowboarding events at the Winter Olympics I also enjoyed watching. And of course there’s the Grand National on Saturday.

  12. Hello Claire and Bravo. So, Claire, you were at the GN to provide some colour? I know very little about horses myself, although they are a big thing here and I’m always vaguely proud when Irish jockeys/horses/trainers do well, as they very often do.

    A neighbour of mine wrote a book about a racehorse, and ghostwrote a column for a leading jockey during Cheltenham.

    I asked MyT to delete my account a couple of weeks ago … I’d had enough of the attendant bullshit. Must admit that I still look in from time to time to see what’s happening, but there’s a much better class of blogger here. 🙂

  13. Sheona, it’s low of you to mention rugby and Scotland while the wounds are still raw. 🙂

  14. Thanks for that Brendano. I got an email from my alumni officer saying that there will be a memorial service at the school tomorrow. I am sure it will be well attended. I think I may write something about him and the school. For my own benefit, if not for anybody else’s. Incidentally Derek coached cricket, not at senior level, but still, not bad for an Irishman.

  15. Yup, I had to tramp around in the pissing rain, desperately trying to poduce enough drivel to fill one double page spread per day! It was a total nightmare, or as the photographer darkly put it, ‘the poisoned chalice.’
    But I can’t say I blame my bosses; I was always mixing up the reds/ the blues/the names of sporting celebrities and whatnot!

  16. Sipu … I’d be interested to read that.

    Claire! Poisoned Chalice was a runner in the 4.15 at Haydock! Honestly.

  17. Really?! There you go; what did I tell you! At least I didn’t get so drunk I fell asleep on the job just as all the horses fell down and died. That’s what happened the year before, apparently!

  18. My only experience of cricket involved a hospitality tent and all the free food and drink one could consume, with very little actual watching of cricket.

    That’s the way to ‘do’ sport. If there’s a big screen in one’s line of vision, so much the better.

  19. March Madness is over, Baseball teams are finishing up spring training, NASCAR season has started what more could one want. I think of a cricket as a noisy little insect.

  20. LW, US sport means as little to me as cricket does … I’m never quite sure which sport the Brownsville Boxcars (or whatever) play. To each his own. 🙂

  21. I admit it, and apologise, sports leaves me cold. Not that I don’t understand, good fun watching, especially when you played it yourself, and good entertainment as a win is a clear cut event.
    Living in Australia and not following sport is a criminal offence, they would hang you for it if they could. So I keep my eye out for snippets of information to bullshit my way through a friendly conversation.
    But the bottom line is, when I grew up we were into politics, demonstrations and being idealistic, trying to create a better world, whilst around here they were kicking a football around.
    But seeing the frustration of politics and the fun of sports, I often wonder if my life would be a bit more satisfied if I followed the later.

  22. Hello Rainer. Yes, sport is rather frivolous, relatively speaking. Still, there’s a place for frivolity, I think … as long as it’s not taken too seriously. 🙂

    I’m surprised they let you into Australia … I’d have thought there’d be some kind of entry quiz. 🙂

  23. Brendano :

    Hello Rainer. Yes, sport is rather frivolous, relatively speaking. Still, there’s a place for frivolity, I think … as long as it’s not taken too seriously. :-)

    I’m surprised they let you into Australia … I’d have thought there’d be some kind of entry quiz. :-)

    Brendano, there is. The answer is Shane Warne.

  24. I struggle with the ‘quote’ thingummy, Sipu.

    Thanks for the tip … will memorize for when I finally give up on this climate. 🙂

  25. Hi, Brendano.

    I refuse to be drawn out about as trivial and peripheral a non-subject as ‘sport’. It is clear from many of the remarks here that one would only ever comment on ‘sport’ if one was seriously lightweight and totally incapable of rubbing two neurons together sufficiently robustly to spark a synaptic response of any measurable strength.

    I thought that Barcelona in general and Messi in particular were magnificent. It’s a joy to watch the game played at that level. Felt sorry for the Gooners (almost). I hope Arsene gets to hang on in there a wee while longer. He has been a great manager for Arsenal and I still believe that he has a truly great team in him before his final curtain.

    Moving on, baseball season is starting and I really do believe that this could be the year that the Mets do it. Mind, I think that every year and they consistently prove me wrong. The Pack for the Superbowl of course. New Jersey Devils for the Stanley Cup and basketball is not a sport.

    Cheltenham to stay up in Div II, Raith Rovers to beat the Arabs in the Cup semi – that one hurts because Mum was an East Fifer and hated the Kirkcaldy scum with passionate fervour, even before GB was a fan.

    England for the Ashes. England for the football World Cup. England for the Wooden Spoon in the Six Nations and and an early exit in the true World Cup in 2011.

    Many long years ago, I had a ticket for the Scottish National Opera production of ‘Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg’ (umlaut on the ‘u’ if anybody’s bothered). Kicked off at 5.30 pm on a Saturday. Not a problem except that I also was going to the Hearts v East Stirling thriller at Tynecastle that afternoon. 0-0 and terminally tedious with ten minutes to go. I am ashamed to admit that I cracked. Shot out into Gorgie Road, bought a ‘Pink News’ for the half-time scores and grabbed a taxi. In my seat at DMvN with 30 seconds to spare, still wearing my Hearts scarf. Mind-blowing music.

    Interval came. Tap on my shoulder. Turned round and there was a man faultlessly and flawlessly attired in full evening dress,

    ‘Can I have have a look at your ‘Pink’? Just want to check the half-times.

    Aye, thon ‘sport’ is seriously over-rated. Can’t see why we bother myself.

    hmb is waiting for approval? The world truly is in a state of chassis, in my opinion, if that is the case.

  26. HMB is indeed waiting for approval but that it normal on this site, John. Everyone’s first comment is held for moderation, and thereafter, once approved they are welcome.

  27. Wha Hey HMB,

    Brilliant news, can’t wait until Soutie or Bearsy tick the approve box.

    Bear with it HMB, its an anti spam/troll thing we all had to go through. Welcome, very welcome indeed.

  28. Hi, Ara.

    I do know that, you know. Just thought I’d comment.

    No smiley thing and feeling a wee tad humphy. Don’t worry – I’ll probably get over it.

  29. Oops, John, I’m sure you will. Silly me, and sorry you are feeling humphy. I’m not in the best of moods actually, but I’ll no doubt get over it. I usually do, and so do you.

  30. Brendano – football yes, cricket no. Barcelona were/are a joy. I’m looking forward to the Spurs Arsenal game and hoping that Sol Campbell will play and that Defoe will score 6. Wenger looks like an elongated frog who has just excaped from a spin dryer. (Well now you know who I like and dislike!) I am not a rugger fan but will watch the 6 nations games on the goggle-box. Still watch Rugby leage occasionally and can still instantly recall the commentating voice of Eddie Waring “up and under”. Talking of commentators I dreadfully miss Peter O’Sullivan and of course the Hawick lad Bill McLaren.

  31. Morning Brendano

    I’m reminded of ‘an Englishman in New York.’

    I watch Super 14 you watch Heineken
    We have Tri-Nations you have 6 Nations

    I do enjoy cricket, the IPL is on at the moment, every game live, the worlds best players (with the exception of Pakistan, a pity) in 8 squads going hammer and tong every single day.

    Incidentally, the IPL was formed 4 years ago (this is the third season) with each of the teams financiers putting up a US$ 100 million!, the league is to be expanded to ten teams next year, Sahara (computers) are one of the backers, the cost US$ 370 million, such has been the success of the tournament.

    Football, yes I follow it and I’m an admirer of Man Utd, I watch mostly weekday games that don’t clash with our televised rugby and of course the big clashes, Man Utd v Chelsea was perfectly slotted between the rugby over the weekend.

    I’m afraid that most here don’t understand the refusal to use technology in football, nearly every other sport uses it, the Drogba offside goal spoiled the match for me (I won’t mention Thierry Henry)

    I do not accept the ‘free flowing, fast paced’ argument, they take upwards of a minute to get 2 substitutes onto the field and as for the time it takes to take a free kick or corner………?

    We will no doubt have more in common come June, that’s assuming of course that the world cup hasn’t been relocated to London, Paris, New York or any other crime free part of the planet 😉

  32. Many thanks for some interesting comments.

    John, I agree with you about Barcelona (I tend to refer to them as ‘Barca’, as my son does … hope this doesn’t sound pretentious/stupid). As for Wenger, he has produced fantastically entertaining Arsenal sides but I think he has flaws … for an intelligent man he can be extremely childish. He wastes energy on spats with other coaches and on criticizing referees when he should recognize what everyone else can see about Arsenal … that they need a predatory striker, a tough guy in midfield, etc. Earlier in the season I thought they could win the Champions League … Barca (oops) gave them a reality check.

    Nice opera story. As for England winning the World Cup … please! You know how unbearable they get. 😉

    Can’t say much about East Fife/Raith Rovers, though I always had a sneaking regard for Motherwell as some of my mother’s family supported them … I even went to a match against Partick once, as I may have mentioned. And I did once have a penpal from Arbroath. At the risk of seeming shallow, I have to say that my penpal from the Black Forest was much better looking.

    PapaG, I knew you were a Spurs fan. Didn’t you once say that you were at the last match of the 70/71 season at White Hart Lane, when Arsenal won 2-0 to clinch the league? That was my first season following Arsenal. 🙂 Nice to see you on this site, by the way … I hope your wife and Kojo are well.

    Soutie, I used to say that technology should be used in football to disallow offide goals etc. … The Bulletin used to disagree, saying that referees had always made bad decisions and one just had to get on with it … part of the game. I always deferred to him as a proper fan who went to matches. It’s a shame that his beloved West Ham are struggling … I hope they’ll stay up.

    Drogba’s goal was offside but I thought Machedo handled in scoring … TB might have said that these things even out. Half a minute is supposed to be added for a substitution, which is why there is generally more added time at the end of the second half than the first. In general I like watching Premiership and Champions League football, I must say. But I just can’t understand why Sting likes his toast done on one side … now that’s crazy. 🙂

    I’m looking forward to the World Cup. Apparently Argentina play a ‘long ball’ game under Maradona, which seems a pity.

  33. Leinster 29, Clermont Auvergne 28 … great win for Leinster; far too close for comfort … CA missed good drop goal chance with last kick. Sweet relief.

    Toulouse or Stade Francais v. Leinster in semis.

  34. Good morning Brendano – going back to that Spurs Arsenal match which clinched teh championship for the gunners. The result was 1-0 to the Arsenal! And the goal scored by Ray Kennedy. I think the programme notes had said there had never been a 0 – 0 draw between the sides, well not at White Hart Lane. We got there early, me and my two pals who were both Arsenal supporters. But the street were packed with crowds and the queues to the turnstiles were seemingly endless. One bright spark adn a few others began to from a queue from an opposite direction, hundreds rushed to join the line (thinking out-of-the-box). The police quickly sussed what was going on and quickly terminated that queue – only allowing the first 50 or so in, cutting the line immediately behind me! My two friends danced on the pitch after the final whistle blew. I stood there on the grass, numbed. Years later, I was with one of those friends at a bar in Glasgow, quite a rough joint, watching Liverpool and Arsenal on TV. Arsenal needed to win 2- 0 to win the championship. You know it – they did it, and I for one had chosen that night to oppose Liverpool and the golden boy, Kenny Dalglish. It seemed imnpossible for any team to win at Liverpool and Liverpool needed only a draw. This was their undoing. Arsenal won
    0-2 and my friend bought whiskies on the house, tray after tray of the stuff coming over the bar. George Graham and Wenger completely different types. Yes Wenger can talk about football as art, much in the same way as Ossie Ardiles or Pele call it the ‘beautiful game’. But at a deeper level it is about passions adn team spirit, something that can transport a side into giant killing results – just look at Fulham, and again at the FA cup upsets.

    Talking about passions, there was a clip on TV last night about Ballesteros, how he used to fire himself up on the course and how much the crowds loved him. I think it was his birthday yesterday – there was a short tribute to him.

  35. Thanks for that, PG … very interesting. Sorry I got the score wrong. I was thrilled, as a 10-year-old, when I read the result in the morning paper. I didn’t get to Highbury or White Hart Lane till 1979 … the era of Liam Brady & Co.

    I remember the later match … I watched it in the Selkirk Arms, Tooting. As you say, it seemed impossible for Arsenal to get the result they needed. But Michael Campbell (wasn’t it?) scored that late goal, and the Arsenal fans went mad.

    I was an Arsenal fan but I had a lot of time for that Liverpool team, which played great football. I think there were four Irish internationals in it, which would sway me a bit. 🙂

    Ballesteros did have some special quality … he was hugely popular here. My father, not particularly a golf fan, admired him greatly. You’re right about passion and team spirit … that was what carried Leinster through last night. As Mick Cleary writes in the Telegraph, ‘The mark of champions is to come through adversity and Leinster certainly managed that after taking an early pummelling. It was switchback stuff.’

  36. Munster 33, Northampton 19 … yet another wonderful European day for Munster.

    So, two France v. Ireland semifinals, Biarritz having beaten Ospreys earlier.

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