NOT SO SPORTY, DUDES

 

 Or

I FIND YOUR CONVERSATION HIGHLY INTERESTING AND INFORMATIVE, OTHER THAN THE WORDS

 *  Tonight while watching Seven’s coverage of the Collingwood v West Coast semi final, it was with no small amount of face-pulling and “Inspector Dreyfus in the Pink Panther movies” type facial twitching that I heard Brian Taylor remark of one of the Eagles players that he had taken a couple of marks of the “presented-up” variety.

For those of you who are also occasionally confused by such outbreaks of modern sporting science, I’m fairly sure that this means the guy went for the mark, then he took it. Now you know.

 I don’t know what else “presented-up” could mean, unless, maybe when you’re on holiday, the teen waiter bringing you your scrambled eggs for breakfast trips over a bad join in the carpet and the eggs take to the ceiling.

 

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*  Expressions which, if somehow snap-frozen, collected in tanks and then jettisoned from the face of the planet, could only improve the language in general and the cause of football analysis in particular:

 “reward for effort”, any combination of “risk and reward”, any reference to “structure” not intended to mean a grandstand, reactive, reactionary, reactor-phofoofnik (this may be next year’s version), any use of the expression “in the context of this game” when appended to a description of absolutely anything that might occur during the game, particularly ‘important things’, as in “this could be a very important mark in the context of this game” or “that was a very important goal in the context of this game”.

 

Honestly, what else if NOT in “the context of this game”. What – it’s an important free kick in the context of Norse mythology? An important goal in the context of Tina Arena’s last album?

 

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* At the point where all the expert analysts in a football game have to tell you is that one side “needs to take chances”, you may note any or all of the following phenomena:

 

(1)  That football team is quite possibly already cactus “in the context of that game”

 (2)  In most cases, this kind of lame-brained generalisation tells you nothing about a football match

 (3)  It feels like you’ve already heard every special comments guy in the booth, at the ground and possibly on the planet say that already several times over, and now they’re just basically “running laps” on you

 (4)  They’ve run out of anything else to say about the match, had nothing to say about the match in the first place and are quite possibly focussed on how quickly they can get the first beer into them after the game.

 

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* Another Hall of Fame moment. Was watching the typical brilliantly produced “24/7” preview documentary (well, barely disguised promo, but these are really well and beguilingly done these days) on Main Event channel for the Chavez-Martinez middleweight title fight. (Sat 15th US time).

 Legendary fighter Julio Cesar Chavez Sr has been studying the tapes of Sergio Martinez and is seized with sudden inspiration as to how his son can beat him. When Chavez Jr finally wakes up and staggers down to the war room (he seems to have an old school rock’n’roll approach to habitual late-rising), his pa immediately starts dancing around tossing off air combination punches and showing him his foolproof method for beating Martinez.

 You kind of had to be watching closely, but if you look sharp, you’ll see the cigarette between the knuckles on one hand, as Senior is throwing the combos. Quite a look, in the modern sporting context.

 The smoke (well, a number of close relatives of the first one) are rather more visible in a lot of other shots and locales featuring Pops Chavez, including while Junior is training close by.

 

We’ve been lacking for this kind of tobacco and sport combination since a few decades back when they stopped all those eastern European national coaches and assistants puffing away like an industrial development during World Cup matches.

 

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*  Great moments in promotion, Pt 9,857. Main Event TV flings the graphics to the four winds and electrifies the voice-over guy’s chair for its promo – running pretty much around the clock – for the Saul “Canelo” Alvarez v Jose “Josesito” Lopez “WBC Welterweight” title fight scheduled for Sunday our time, and Saturday theirs.

 

I’d seen Alvarez fight two/three times, but not Lopez that I remembered. It was when I was trying to look up his record that I found I couldn’t find either of them among the ranked welterweights on BoxRec.com, which seemed slightly unusual for a couple of guys about to fight for a major title in that division.

 Anyway, as it turns out, they’re junior middleweights, or what others call light middleweights, and the WBC refers to as super welterweights. (Actually, going by its own website, the preferred styling there is “superwelterweight”, not that I can particularly imagine any other third party in the media following the WBC’s example.)

 It’s the 154lb division in between welterweight (147lb) and middleweight (160lb). So, at risk of over-underscoring the point (I just wanted to see if you could use ‘over-underscoring’ in a sentence without the English language exploding), junior middle is not the same weight division as welter.

 You’d think someone at a channel that deals with boxing as one of its major ongoing products (and the only three regular ones are boxing, MMA and pro wrestling, unless you count the Sydney gay Mardi Gras once a year) might know something like that.

 Actually, you kind of wonder how an error like that could make it into the copy, through the recording session where there must have been at least a sound engineer and the voice-over talent present, through however many passes it took for the director and/or other folks to stitch it all together, not to mention that presumably there’s at least one business suit that’s nominally meant to be monitoring this stuff, and then how it might have rolled around on air about 857 times and still no-one managed to pick it up.

 

Being honest enough to admit I’m old enough to have lived through “different eras”, I have to say it strikes me that when it comes to basic information and getting it right, our buttocks are right now plonked firmly in the bucket seat of the easiest time ever for achieving exactly that.

 

You blip over to Wikipeniac and usually that about does it, but if it comes up with some stuff that looks like a pimply 15 year old German hacker might have tickled it up a little – like it says Robin Hood had five legs, sold used cheese and invented water ballet – then it might take all of about two minutes to have a plonk around Gooble or whatever your preferred Smersh engine is, and find either multiple confirmation, or at least multiple contradictions that jibe between themselves. (eg in the case of the five-legged cheese-pusher Robin Hood description).

 

The latter might not exactly qualify as classical journalism’s double-sourcing, but it ought to keep your head free of confinement in a dunce cap most of the time.

 

 *  This is why it’s kind of hard to understand why a “boxing enthusiast” in News Ltd’s “Daily Telegraph” wrote a story within the last week or so about Australian boxer, (and dual world middleweight champion – holder of WBA and IBF belts), Daniel Geale, suggesting, roughly speaking, that he might be a candidate to fight the winner of the middleweight title fight between Sergio Martinez and Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.

 

The story added that this would create interest, as in such a scenario, boxing would have its first undisputed middleweight world champion since Marvelous Marvin Hagler.

 

Again, this was an error avoidable by a very little interwebbing around during a donut break. Hagler was around in the mid-1980s, indeed a very long time ago. He did hold all the major titles and was regarded, generally speaking as the undisputed champ.

 

(Generally, the major titles are regarded as being the WBC, WBA and IBF versions, although on occasion the consensus “real world champ” might occasionally be the WBO belt holder. As a reasonably reliable rule of thumb, other organisation’s “world titles” outside of these four sanctioning bodies, lean towards the minor league in terms of perception.)

 

However, in the rather generous amount of interim since then, a couple of things happened that put the kibosh on the Telegraph writer’s rather hit-and-hope theory that Hagler was the last unified middleweight champ – one of them was the early 2000’s and the other was called Bernard Hopkins.

 

Just after the new millennium clocked on, they held a kind of tournament of the various major claimants to the world middleweight championship. Hopkins, the IBF champ to start with, won the WBC and WBA portions (later he briefly also landed the WBO sliver of the title, I think from the de la Hoya fight, but he was already recognised as unified champ before that, and would have been had he never won it).

 

A decade or so back doesn’t seem such a long time ago that a boxing aficionado wouldn’t remember a relatively rare occurrence, such as big-time boxing unifying the various shards of a particular division’s world title. Nor Bernard Hopkins, who seems well worth not forgetting as arguably one of the more achieved all-time practitioners in one of boxing’s most blessed divisions for talent.

 

Not to mention that subsequent to that, a touch heavier, as his youthful attributes in terms of speed and reaction maybe faded a little but his wiliness emphatically did not, he appeared in some of boxing’s most prominent matches and won most of them, fundamentally by driving his opponents bughouse-crazy.

 

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3 thoughts on “NOT SO SPORTY, DUDES

  1. the newspaper business needs to ‘start taking their chances’. It seems the more freely information is available the less premium is placed on getting it right in print. I guess that comes with reduced numbers of specialized journalists & editors & the increased workloads/demands on those remaining. But I’m only guessing.

  2. If there was one minute to go and a team was leading by ten goals, then a goal to either side wouldn’t be very ‘important in the context of the game’. But I do find BT’s hyperbole annoying.

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