How things change. Popular one day; pariah the next:
I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart. I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves. I am not without faults and I am far short of perfect. I am dealing with my behavior and personal failings behind closed doors with my family. Those feelings should be shared by us alone.
You gots to read the comments, if you gots about a month to spare. Almost 10,000 posted in one day. A sample:
Woodman: Man is your Christmas gonna suck.
Best of Sweden: Elin should go and bang Fat Phil Michelson.
Gus Dog 86: Don't buy Nike clubs. Tiger isn't perfect. I knew these clubs sucked. It couldn't have been my swing.
Mos Deep: TIGER!!!! YOur the MAN. Got a stable of girls you just boosted your street credit. Finally you showin the black in ya. Keep that stable full playa. You got the magic stick bro.
An "enforcer" smashes the opposition's best player; a lunatic hand-balls a goal; a striker takes a dive to win a penalty; a defender commits a "professional foul"; a batsman refuses to walk when he knows he's out; a bowler and fieldsmen appeal when they know a batsman is not out; a fielder claims a catch he knows has bounced; a full-back grabs a full-forward's jumper; a full-forward whacks a full-back in the balls; Terry Henry hand-balls against Ireland; same shit, different bucket.
The Crawford Report is in so it's time for assiduous, comprehensive and considered debate on the future of Olympic Sport funding.
Since the governments give loads of lolly to miners and car makers and scientists and Indonesians and universities and homemakers and battlers and authors, they should also give it to runners and throwers and peddlers and paddlers and archers and water-poloers and tae-kwan-doers and ice-faller-overers and, role-modellers, blah, blah, blah.
If you aren't good enough, quick enough, coordinated enough to play a proper sport - cricket, Aussie Rules, rugby league, Association Soccer Football, maybe rugby union and tennis - then get stuffed.
"If it hasn't got a ball, it's not a sport."
~~ Tony T.
"There is no way Tiger will miss the cut. You heard it from The Bogle."
~~ Brett Ogle, SEN
Tiger is unlikely to miss the cut in the Masters. But what if he did? John Brumby would have egg on his face; especially after his monster introduction at yesterday's press conference so tightly tied him to the event. The public would be short half Tiger's appearance fee of $3,000.000. And there would be one almighty rumpus.
It's not surprising those behind the Masters, the golfing fraternity and the media are adamant Tiger will do the business. Even if a large percentage of the claims are made with breath bated and fingers crossed.
Mark Allen, SEN's golf guru, is one of the few dissenting voices. He is convinced Tiger won't win because his game is not suited to the Kingston Heath layout.
Back in promotion-land:
"There's no doubt Tiger will be in the red shirt, in the last group, on the last day."
~~ Tim, the golf reporter on SEN
We will hold him to that, and remind him that in sport there's no such thing as a sure thing.
I suppose a simple "hello" was out of the question:
TARA BROWN: When you're the best sportsman in the world, the scrutiny is unrelenting. Even when you're just out practising your game, there are always countless camera lenses and thousands of eyes trained on Tiger Woods's every move. Mostly it's in awe - how can one man make the complicated, and often unfair, ways of golf look so simple? Tiger Woods rarely agrees to interviews. He's so famous he doesn't have to. At first he's quite serious, business-like, but when it appears there's no mistaking that trademark smile. In trying to explain golf, in 1916 the New York Tribune wrote, "Golf is in part a game, but only in part. It is also in part a religion, a fever, a vice, a mirage, a frenzy, a fear, an abscess, a joy, a thrill, a pest, a disease, an uplift, a brooding, a melancholy, a dream of yesterday and a hope for tomorrow."
TIGER WOODS: Damn. (LAUGHS)
By the way, Tiger's in Australia.
Tara's bombastic intro reminded me of The Kids are Alright and an interview Pete Townshend did on German TV:
Interviewer: "There is an element in the storyline, the image in the mirror, the pinball, and the sensibility in general - 'See me, feel me, touch me, heal me.' - which reflect a certain sense, the phenomenon of the youth subculture. There is narcissism; there is a kind of new sensibility; there is a strong tendency for playing; and no more putting it into aggressive forms of counter-action."
Foxtel is taking the piss:
Channel 500: Vancouver 2010 Preview
Tiffany Cherry & Matt Shirvington walk through our
sensational coverage of the upcoming Vancouver Olympic
Winter Games which starts February 13th 2010. The only
place to see the games in full is on FOXTEL and AUSTAR.
That's right: Channel 500. Foxtel has introduced a 24 hour advertisement for two weeks of Winter Olympics.
What was the ref doing?
Two deliberate trips; a punch in the back; a dangerous kick; a scything tackle; sitting on an opponent; extreme hair pulling; a smack in the face; a smack to the back of the head.
The penalty? A yellow card for arguing.
(Thanks for the football link, Brownie.)
The only reason the ATP believed Andre Agassi's farcical excuse for snorting gack - "I say that recently I drank accidentally from one of Slim’s spiked sodas, unwittingly ingesting his drugs" - is because they wanted to believe it. Better to let him off than have tennis soiled by having their top player disgraced by a drug scandal:
Andre Agassi makes the sensational confession today that he lied to the tennis authorities to escape a ban for taking hard drugs.
Agassi recounts sitting at home with his assistant, referred to only as Slim, and being introduced to the drug. “Slim is stressed too ... He says, You want to get high with me? On what? Gack. What the hell’s gack? Crystal meth. Why do they call it gack? Because that’s the sound you make when you’re high ... Make you feel like Superman, dude.
“As if they’re coming out of someone else’s mouth, I hear these words: You know what? F*** it. Yeah. Let’s get high.
Is there another decade to rival the Nineties for gutless administrators?
Thanks to Pete Tweet comes this excellent article on the lashings of lolly lavished on our Aussie times three Olympic campaigns:
AUSTRALIA’s athletes set off for the Olympic Games in Canada in July 1976 in what were, even for the 1970s, horrible uniforms, but with high hopes. We had done well in Munich four years earlier, winning eight gold and seventeen medals overall, placing us sixth on the medal tally.
It took David Schwarz another three years to kick his gambling addiction after the horror story below, and doubtless there were many other similar nightmares. But at least he finally did kick it, and more power to him.
VICTORIA Derby day 2002 could have been a defining moment in the life of former AFL star David Schwarz. Unfortunately it wasn't.
Schwarz had just retired after a remarkable 173-game career for Melbourne and was intent on becoming a professional punter.
While many footballers consider Derby day a social occasion, Schwarz was very much caught up in the gambling side of the afternoon.
As he stood in the betting ring and watched Choisir race away to win the L'Oreal Plate he was feeling very content. He had just had $25,000 each-way on Choisir at 5-1.
But his joy was shortlived. Protests by the third and second placegetters were upheld, leaving Schwarz $50,000 out of pocket because, as there were only seven starters, there was no dividend for third place.
Mentioned Richard Hinds over here at what could, maybe, almost, possibly be the oldest cricket blog in the known world.
Hinds is always worth the read. Here he tackles the tennis commentary:
It is the common refusal or inability of ex-athlete commentators to openly criticise, or even point out the obvious faults and mistakes of present-day players, coaches or officials that continues to stifle local sports broadcasting — particularly infuriating when it is due to mutual management deals, friendships, continuing involvement in the sport or some other conflicting interest.
Here he visits Olympic funding:
Is the common media interpretation of Coates' warnings about reduced funding — that Australia's reputation as a sporting nation would be diminished if we fell down the Olympic ladder — the myopic view of those in the thrall of the Olympic movement? These are, after all, a collection of mostly minor sports in which Australians have little emotional investment, and almost no practical involvement, for all but 16 days every four years.
Regarding the second article: I'm surprised Peter Bruckner hasn't already popped up somewhere to defend the Olympic ideal.
Fair enough. That Aussie punter Ben Graham is playing in today's Superbowl is reasonably noteworthy in the overall sporting scheme of things, especially given the circuitous way he got there. Even if the Cardinal's offense has The Greatest Day in its travelled history - down Route 66 don't ya know - and Graham only ever gets to hold for the kicker, he will have had a bigger night that Dinara Safina, probably Serena Williams, and certainly the tennis spectators.
But let's not get carried away.
Both Saturday papers in Melbourne had the beater out exaggerating Graham's importance to the Cardinal cause. The Age went with Graham set to shackle speedster, while the Herald Sun went one, and maybe ten orders of magnitude greater with Ben looms as lethal weapon.
It's well known that the Strayan media rarely miss a chance to exaggerate Straya's standing in the world. There is barely an Aussie achievement that is not hailed as "the greatest" or "WBP". On the flip side, there's that patronising tone American sports folk have of saying things like "Really, I didn't know they played football in Australia." This is usually accompanied by mentions of a quirky sense of humour, strange accents and kangaroos.
But surely, somehow, somewhere between Australia's grasping perception of itself as one of the big guys and America's blithe unawareness that there actually are other guys, there's a middle ground where lurk sensible, rational sports folk.
The fact is, if Ben Graham turns out to be Arizona's lethal weapon simply by kicking the ball out of bounds to curtail Santonio Holmes run-backs two things will have happened: one, no one else scored; and two, all the other players went home.
Ain't gonna happen.
What is going to happen is this: Arizona are going to get spanked.
The Cardinals are only in the Superbowl courtesy of Philadelphia's Donovan McNabb's generosity of spirit. Unfairly, but just as unavoidably, the names Andres Escobar and Hanse Cronje bounced around inside my brainbox when McNabb missed 132 open passes (that's a lot of misses when you consider he only attempted 75 passes) in the NFC championship game. Had McNabb not had an absolute shocker, the Eagles would have won comfortably.
Pittsburg will not be so generous. When - not if - the soft Cards secondary give the Pittsburg offence room to move, Big Ben Roethlisberger will pick them apart. Conversely, the Pittsburg defensive line will cover James and Hightower, while their secondary are not going to give Fitzgerald and Boldin anything like the room they got against Philly.
Of course, I could be wrong.
OK, SO you've got your centre-court ticket and, full of the joys of living, you sidle into Rod Laver Arena ready for a great day of international tennis action. The beer and food prices aren't about to get you down, and, for now, you're also ignoring the stifling heat and the fact that you've drawn that "blockbuster" match between Chris Guccione and David Nalbandian. "Nice to be supporting the local bloke," you think to yourself as a you arrive at your seats to find a seething mob in front of you. Yes, it's the so-called Fanatics Pty Ltd, or a version thereof. All bedecked in the same yellow T-shirts, all in the same hats, all singing the same chants, oh, and … all day. It's not that this phenomenon is unique to tennis, it's just that: 1. It's hard to imagine why anyone would get so worked up about a tennis match, and 2. There's just no escape from this sort of lunacy at a tennis stadium. Still, for every fanatic clad in the standard issue garb, there's always going to be one or two funny lines among the dross. The guy holding up this sign (pictured) has shown not only wit, but wisdom well beyond his seating position among the clones.
If you don't want to frolic with the Moronics, you could always get stuck into the two-buck chuck with Leaping Larry:
HOW FAR THE CHERRY?
ACCORDING to a media release for what now apparently glories in the name "Jacob's Creek's Summer of Tennis", at the Australian Open we can expect that:
"Each day, a group of supporters will be given Jacob's Creek black and white gear to wear, and chants to sing to support their Jacob's Creek Honorary Aussie, the 'against the odds' player, who will face a higher-seeded opponent."
This presents one major potential logistical problem. After witnessing this considerable entertainment extravaganza, we may need to build a bigger country to hold all the vomit.
Just hogging a headline.
Gold Coast teenager Bernard Tomic has won his first round match at the Australian Open defeating Potito Starace of Italy in four sets 7-6 (7-5) 1-6 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (8-6).
Don't want to say I told you so:
Prediction: You think the Arms Race was big. Now that English sport is scooping pots of money from a national lottery scheme and kicking arse at these games, it's surely only a matter of time before we do the same. Medalotto, anyone?
So I won't:
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says he is considering using a UK-style national lottery to fund Australia's Olympic sports.
... there's any maybes about it:
"Maybe once mainstream sports have filled their quotas with male performers, then it's... you can't get the critical mass of elite male athletes to get a winning male combination at the Olympics. You end up with the kids who couldn't play footy, rugby, cricket or soccer."
~~ Gideon Haigh, Offsiders
The underdog no longer. Forget the rowing, riding, boating, and all the other sitting down sports at which Team-GBH are excelling, the best part of watching the Poms inaction... oops, in action, will be watching their watchers, especially their press:
British reporters circled the latest in a long line of English gold medallist, the 400m champion Christine Ohuruogu. "We're giving your lot a flogging," chirped one of the English journalists. The type who, until recently, disparaged Australia's triumphalism as the uncouth bragging of nation whose self-esteem was too heavily invested in sport.
Now, as that smokescreen used to disguise decades of comparative failure by British athletes clears, the English will become acquainted with the sometimes bittersweet feeling of first-world sporting status. They will have great pride in their lottery-funded overachievers and return serve to their Australian tormentors.
But they will also squirm at the jingoism of their own version of the chest-beating Fanatics; find their own expectations can make medals that, years ago, would have been heralded as stellar feats, seem like abject failures.
"Sally McLellan has put Australian track and field back on the map!"
~~ SEN News.
Think it was Matt Thompson. You know, the bloke who, like, speaks like a teenage girl. When Andrew Maher called Sally the Silver Princess, I knew it was time to change the station.