Jocks n nerds

If you should so desire, you can listen to me on Sean Callahan’s Sports Geek podcast, talking blackcaps.co.nz, our social media stuff and wot’s coming up for the world cup.

There’s a more fulsome run down over at richardirvine.com.

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Jocks n nerds

Great CWC15 moments – an early contender

Walking the fan trail to BLACKCAPS v Sri Lanka, New Zealand Cricket GM Selection Bruce Edgar spots this young up and comer hitting them nicely, stops and hands him his card.

“I usually play in back yards.”

“What back yards? I’ll be watching.”2015-02-14 10.11.16

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Great CWC15 moments – an early contender

Don’t like sport? Get better jokes

Super Bowl isn’t just about American Football, nachos and TV ads. It’s also the biggest day of the year for otherwise sensible folk to make their best ‘I don’t understand sport’ jokes on Twitter.

The Super Bowl, which happens on a plain old Monday at the office for us in New Zealand seems to be the, ah, Super Bowl of this kind of thing. The combination of the timing, the bizzaro nature of American Football at the best of times, combined with a good proportion of the world being really into it gets Twitter comedians excited to use their best material on this day.

The classic format is basically cramming as many sporting terms as you know into a tweet in an ultra-irony-fest-ista. Or just making something up. For heaven’s sake, you wouldn’t want anyone to actually think you know / care about this shit. It goes like this:

“Wow, a sports guy just body slammed the basketball one into the stumps lol”

“Touchdown! Or a try! I don’t know!”

“The Tampa Bay Sailors are so wasting the Milwaukee Cunninghams !”

Etc. It goes on. And on.

Look, perplexing stuff happens on Twitter all the time, as anyone who follows a proportion of the parliamentary press gallery knows. And the plethora of awards shows at this time of year? I have no idea.

American Football is not my favourite sport, and I like a good troll as much as anyone, but  this line of humour in moribund. All the jokes have been done, team.

So how about we raise the bar? I challenge the non-sport interested to do something funnier and more original with this material. Or even watch a bit to see what’s going on.

Look, sport can be wonderful – look how happy this guy is.

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Don’t like sport? Get better jokes

Links on Friday

So much to enjoy here. The Beige. Richie commentating. Hadlee’s restrained chat. Botham having no idea what’s going on, but appearing pretty comfortable with it. Hadlee eventually getting bored with swinging it all around Botham’s bat and setting him up like a Vegas card counter. A typically un-sunsmart 80s crowd. The duck. Just watch.

The Guardian’s 50 favourite sport photographs of 2014.
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Colorado Rapids / Fulham fan runs batshit Twitter campaign to get promotion / relegation into Major League Soccer. A former political operative, his strategy seems to be exhausting everyone on the internet into submission. No-one get any ideas.

Nike explains how they make their athlete’s signature shoes. And there’s this awesome John McEnroe pic.
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Links on Friday

sportreview.net.nz’s year in shonky mobile phone photos

Here’s a charge around the boundary of what I got up to in 2014, sport-wise. It mainly contains cricket and you can click the pictures to make them bigger if you so desire.

2014-02-01 13.23.12
Above and below – Whangarei’s Cobham Oval is a fine, fine ground, complete with its own ‘little Lord’s’ pavilion. Go visit if you can.

2014-02-03 16.41.14

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28K at Eden Park for BLACKCAPS v India – how good is this World Cup going to be?

2014-03-25 12.48.11
I got to go to the World T20 in Bangladesh and played a round at the Chittagong Country Club – there were actual snakes in the grass.

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In Dhaka airport, I found my spiritual home.

2014-03-19 16.38.19
Fatullah. Hotter than you can possibly imagine.

2014-03-23 16.48.16
Chittagong’s Hotel Agrabad serves ‘afternoon snacks’ in guest’s rooms. By god I could use this service in the office.

2014-03-22 17.59.31
Roll Taylor. He took it well.

2014-06-27 19.34.03
We visited the Forsyth Barr Stadium on the annual boy’s weekend. Recommended.

2014-01-24 08.46.07
Souvenir balls, which players get to keep after five wicket bags etc – these are verified by scorers then passed on to the players.

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New Zealander gets hands on Cricket World Cup. *Twilight Zone music*

2014-10-24 12.32.07
This is what happens when a cricket ball gets smacked into the media box and you try and take a photo of the ensuing chaos and you don’t realise your phone is stuck on panorama. I think I captured the moment.

2015-01-11-15.23.15
I liked what Harvey Norman did with their TVs here.

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Fine ropey cricket memorabilia found in Mount Maunganui second hand book shop.

2014-12-08 17.08.58
Bruce Edgar doing lawn bowls. Geddit? I thought it was cool.

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Me, post-match at the above lawn bowls event. Photo credit: @richardboock

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sportreview.net.nz’s year in shonky mobile phone photos

sportreview.net.nz 2014, um, review

As has been pointed out, this blog’s tenth year has not been an especially productive if you measure these things in terms of *posting* on the blog. Let’s up the word count with a mazy dribble through 2014.

Football
That was a Great world cup. Not only did we get pretty football and amazing goals, but it all seemed to be played in front of big, noisy crowds (not that noisy) in decent spirit, apart from the biting and that. It’s a shame FIFA lets us down again and again as an organisation, but somehow, they’re still running this game.

Game of the tournament was Brazil v Germany, for wonderful goals and the other-worldliness of it all, it was like seeing the fall of Rome in two 45 minutes halves. Goal of the tournament was the little Aussie battler Tim Cahill’s, what a strike. Performance of the tournament was any time Miguel Herrera was on the camera.

I don’t want to talk about Tottenham. Expecting a Tottenham manager with mixed results in the first season to be there for any length of time is like expecting loyalty from a domestic house cat. I’ve been hurt too many times before.

Oh, and this was the greatest thing to happen on the field in 2014:

Rugby
New Zealand is in the middle of another, yinnow, very special era. We’re kind of getting used to them. But are we happy? I have to say I didn’t watch as much rugby as in recent years, mainly kept it to the big Tests v South Africa and the Ockers and catching some of my Chiefs in the super rugby (I am extremely confident that next year is going to be our year again). Malaise? Laziness? I don’t know. There is nothing wrong with the game the national team is playing, we have more depth than seems fair to other nations, and are expertly coached.

Maybe it’s because you can’t hold a conversation about rugby in this country without WHAT ABOUT THE WORLD CUP hovering over you like a grim reaper. Enjoying rugby outside world cups seems pointless. Can we have more proper tours with three test series and matches against provinces please? Taking the game to the Chicago did not do it for me.

Maybe I should just relax and enjoy it. We really are spoiled in this country.

2014-06-27 19.34.03

I got down to Dunedin to see the Chiefs crap out to the Highlanders with a bunch of (fellow) idiots from Hamilton. This is a world class stadium that had a lot of atmosphere when half full, it must be amazing when packed. You’re so close you think someone is going to put liniment on you.

Cricket
How bonkers was 2014? From Corey Anderson knocking up a world’s fastest ODI ton on new year’s day to the prospect of the BLACKCAPS reaching all kinds of records and just quietly having the most successful-ever Test calendar year ever, it’s been one we’ll remember for a long time. Highlights:

Being at Eden Park for the ODI v India with 28,000 people, thanks to Auckland’s Indian community, who were amazing. Great taste of what a packed cricket stadium feels like ahead of the Big Tournament next year.

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The Test win at Eden Park, with Brendon McCullum’s double ton and an absolute rip snorter from Neil Wagner to get us over the line. Eden Park can feel AMAZING with a few thousand in too.

Seeing half of Wellington come in on that murky Tuesday morning to cheer the skipper on to 302. Privilege to be there.

2014-02-14 15.07.28

Just quietly, while the grassy banks of Seddon Park are still home for me, I am coming around to the charms of the Basin big time as New Zealand’s best Test ground. From the old-school main stand to the lovingly-and-expertly run museum (check out that book sale) to the fact so many of NZ’s most passionate cricket fans are Wellingtonians who are loud on the Twitter and turn up to see their teams. My head has been turned. See you on the third.

Again, I’d never expected to go to Bangladesh in my life, let alone twice, but that happened. It’s not for everyone, and living the sheltered life with the team meant you don’t really see the real city, but I loved it. That Chittagong storm was something to see with chest-rattling thunder and blinding lightning moving slowly and inevitably through the muggy night air to the ground before the rainstorm came. Biblical stuff.
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Winning a rare away Test series in the West Indies by coming back from a loss in the second and being deep in the crap in the third was remarkable, many players cite that series win as their highlight of the year.

The third Test v Pakistan in Sharjah will be remembered for the way the team paid tribute to Phil Hughes and then performed one of the most remarkable turnarounds you’ll ever see. You kind of want to wax lyrical but it doesn’t seem appropriate. It was nuts and made me very proud.

Elsewhere, the cricket from Australia has been compelling, with Mitch and his moustache, and this series against India shaping up nicely. And the tributes to Phil Hughes were moving and appropriate. This clip from his 50-over double hundred for Australia A shows you what an outrageous batsman he was, have a look at what we’ve lost:

The internet and that
I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to be able to sit at work and do*ahem* work on one screen and have SKY Go and Tweetbot going on the other. I watched a lot of the football world cup like this, as well as some of the West Indies Test series, the Ashes and the current Australia v India series.

I loved #putoutyourbats, ’twas a very cricket way to pay tribute to Phil Hughes.

The Alternative Commentary Collective was funny and brilliant, and an example of using the internet to do new things, of which I approve. Will be great to see them back this year.

Watching sport with Twitter is kind of cool but kind of weird, you miss a lot when you’re trying to keep up with the conversation. That said, out of my cold, dead hands, etc. What’s the answer team?

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sportreview.net.nz 2014, um, review

Hell of a year

Baz

Brendon McCullum:

“We decided that we couldn’t win every game, but what we could do is change the way we played and the attitude towards us and the attitude within the group… Players changed, players’ personalities and behaviours started to change.

“We wanted to be known as a team that no matter what situation we were in, we were going to make it bloody tough for the opposition to beat us. That might beat us, and if they outplay us that’s fine, but we’re going to make it hard.

“We’re going to play an attacking style of cricket; in the field we’re going to chase the ball to the boundary as hard as we can; you’re going to see a team that works incredibly hard off the field; and you’re going to see a team that’s respectful and even-keeled in their emotions. You see that now with the way Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor celebrate hundreds compared to other teams around the world. Very rarely do we get into confrontations on the field. We want to be known as a team that respects the game, works hard and plays attacking and innovative cricket.”

Recommended reading.

Also this from Mike Selvey.

Also.

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Hell of a year

Links on Friday

Like many New Zealanders of a certain age, my memories of the Benson and Hedges Series are nothing but golden. The moustaches, the Beige, us having a great team and doing pretty well, all enjoyed at fantastic viewing times during long, humid summer nights on the couch. Even The Underarm, it warms the cockles of my heart how angry we all were (are?) together. Russell Jackson looks back:

We should always remember the Benson and Hedges World Series Cup – fondly glorifying it, misremembering how slow the net run rates actually were, perennially overrating some of the ropey touring sides who made up the numbers against Australia and the West Indies and convincing the generations below us that it was cricket nirvana because occasionally, it truly was.

This is the great man Dimitar Berbatov with a ‘did I leave the oven on’ touch, before immediately ordering those not fit to be on the same pitch as him about. Read the full list of first touches you can only dream of.

sportreview.net.nz wholeheartedly endorses skipping stones as a legitimate sport.

Neville

Manchester United’s Gary Neville asked Manchester City fan and dad rocker wag Noel Gallagher to sign what looks to be a very nice guitar. Hilarity ensues.

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Links on Friday

#putyourbatsout

2014-11-29-13.08.23

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#putyourbatsout

Phil Hughes

I don’t have very much to add to the many, many words that have been and will be written about what’s occurred to this fine man and cricketer. His teammates, who seem like just another bunch of young guys rather than hardened international cricketers all of a sudden, are obviously really, really hurting.

A player dying on the field in a first class match on a decent pitch wearing the same modern equipment everyone uses is literally a freak. I’ve watched international players work up serious speed in the nets, but I’d have thought getting hit would have been more  ‘really fucking painful’ than ‘fatal’, as everyone does.

It brings home that you need to extremely mentally tough to play at the higher levels where the bowling is fast – but after all, cricket is literally playing, it’s a game. Cricket’s about summer, competing and enjoying yourself, no-one’s meant to die doing it.

I’d recommend the following:

Cricket Australia’s video tribute (CA are doing fine work in extremely tough circumstances, FWIW).

@rustyjacko‘s fine obituary in the Guardian

Greg Baum in The Age

Jim Maxwell announces the news on Australian radio

Gideon Haigh reacts on the radio and in The Australian

Jarrod Kimber’s reaction

Scoreboard

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Phil Hughes