| Tavita |
ANOTHER New Year’s getting under way. History shows that years ending in “fifteen” have made quite a difference in sport.
In 1915, Babe Ruth scored his first home run in baseball. The Western Allies scored a resounding draw against the highly under-rated Eastern Turks in the Opening Test of the World Unlimited Overs Series in front of a packed crowd of wandering observers in Gallipoli. In 1815, in the Champions League Final, against the predictions of all pundits at the time, the highly fancied Revolutionary Frogs, managed by the long-serving Nappo Bonyparts, were stunned in injury time by an English squad of unpaid midfielders on loan from all over the place, coached by the part-time Duke of Wellington.
In 1415 John 1 of Portugal won the Trans-Mediterranean Catamaran Champs, defeating the Ceuta Sentinels in straight sets, thus opening the Arabian world to medieval Europe, which led to the Age of Discovery with Portuguese explorers sailing across the whole world and Jose Mourinho taking over Stamford Bridge. And, even earlier than that, in 1115, the Jin super heavyweight Wushu Team, signed on several top Song stara and knocked out the then top-ranked Liao Dynasty and brought in massive changes to the whole administration of international ping pong.
So, no doubt about it, 2015 offers the prospects of exciting developments in the world of sport.
LPTL is increasingly likely to be the name of the game. The institution in late 2014 of a whole new form of the sport may well gain enormous momentum. The abandonment of boring old four hour five setters with twenty-odd bounces before each serve and ten minutes of bananas, orange juice and physios between sets in favour of multi-gendered, two-minute whackaroos between whoever’s got time to turn up was probably inevitable. So were the exciting whackeroonish names like Singapore Slammers and Manila Maveriks.
We can confidently expect to see the Moscow Manglers on court pretty soon, featuring Billie Jean King in triples with Roger the Dodger and Raffa the Rippa against McAndy and his Mother and Vladimir Putin working the Hawkeye. Against Maria and the Screaming Slavs.
The sport’s been going through a disastrous couple of seasons. Some blame on it on the late Ms Woods. Other point the finger at the early Mr Woods. Whatever the reason, Tiger’s rapidly expanding bald spot and increasingly wayward chips and slashes have caused a greatly diminished number of clicks on to the Golf Channel. This is, of course, extremely irresponsible of both Mr and Mrs Woods. They appear to be determined to value their personal privacy far more than the desperate needs of honest decent golf watchers who currently haven’t a clue who’s playing …or why.
The solution for the rapidly retreating number of golf watchers, to say nothing of the growing number of nervous sponsors, appears obvious to some of us. Tiger’s won 14 majors in the old days. So give him a 14-shot start , in every tournament. On his current form, this may not guarantee him striding down the 72nd fairway in his awesome red shirt, sinking a 53-footer on the last and falling into the arms of Mrs Woods to the rapturous cheers of his bank manager.
But it may ensure he makes a cut or two.
The recent alarm triggered by news of Mohamed Ali’s hospitalisation was but the latest disastrous news for Fight Game Watchers. Whosit versus Whatsit for the Medium Light-Super Half-Welterweight InterContinental Title isn’t proving much of a humdinger of a good night’s watching these days. Nor are the Thug-in-a Cage Human Dogfight equivalents. Nor the Kickabout Champs and Knee the Groin Eliminators. And not even the prospect of the WWE Women’s World Scratching Champ ending with the seams of her costume falling apart is really much of an attraction.
Some channels have so clearly recognised this that they’re featuring black and white classics of the “old days”. Hence the gasps of dismay when we heard the news about Ali.
There are plenty of challenges for 2015. Football’s all tip-tap and diving, then passing back to the keeper, orchestrated by pundits. F1’s merely machines going round and Moto-GP seems heading that way. Rugby’s all bash. Running all hash. FIFA’s FEE-Fi-Fo. And this year could see more and more.
Unless, of course, there’s a sponsor around who could persuade Roger and Raffa; Screaming Maria; Mr and Mrs Woods; the latest contender for the Medium Light-Super Welterweight Intercontinental title; the reigning WWE Women’s World Scratching Champ; half a dozen football pundits; a Mercedes and a couple of Hondas; the All Black front row; a Jamaican relay team; and Sepp Blatter to team up together. In a cage on the top of Mount Everest.
A fantastic new unreality show…… The 2015 Olympix!