is off piste for the week

No this week. Reading list ’til next time:

The No-Stats All-Star – Michael Lewis, NYT

Lance Armstrong Rides Again – Douglas Brinkley, Vanity Fair

The pain of pedal power – Simon Scardifield, The Times

‘Happiness was defined by the moment when you slotted a Subbuteo football past your best friend’s goalkeeper’ – Extracts of Graham Taylor and David Baddiel’s Subbuteo reminiscences, The Guardian

Sex, drugs and shoulder pads – The unbelievable story of the implosion of the Dallas Cowboys – Jeff Pearlman, The Observer

Non sport: Playing The Beatles Backwards: The Ultimate Countdown – Jamsbio

Links on Friday

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when Graeme Smith came out bat in Sydney with his broken arm, but Neil McKenzie isn’t impresesed by such heroics. In fairness, it seems Smith has some form in this area. tribute to nerds who upload their xbox moves to the Internet: here’s an amazing goal, a ball / face coming together, a player DYING (complete with loving replays), and a double slide tackle. I need to get my PlayStation out again.

This video is called ‘The worst football tackle ever?’ Yes. Yes, it is.

Think you know comedy? You haven’t been to comedy school.

* It’s been a cracking first week of the Stalkipedia, team, with stalks  on Chris and Lance  Cairns, Damien Martin, Frank Bunce, Jimmy Floyd Hasslebaink, Richie Richardson and Trevor Chappell added. Check out Farley’s encounter with Frank Bunce, it’s awesome – get in there.

Stalkipedia is go!

Ever met a famous sportsperson? Got a funny story about it or a photo?’s new project is Stalkipedia – a community chronicle of sporting stalking.

I want your stories and your photos – the more stalks we capture, the more fun it’ll be.

You get BIG bonus points for a photo! That’s me on the right with Glen Osbourne – no great story, he was most accommodating to have his photo taken with someone that drunk. Most interesting thing – CHECK OUT THE SIZE OF HIS HAND!

All the details are over on the Stalkipedia page.  Anyway, here’s a proper story to start off – the time I met Colin Meads.

Target: Colin Meads.
Stalker: Richard,
When: 2002
Where: Muddy Farmer pub, downtown Auckland. The loo, to be precise
Details: I was having a few quiets late one Friday night, when I spied an array of then-All Black coaches and administrators regularly wobbling past our table. John Mitchell. Jock Hobbs. Colin Meads. The Hurricanes had played the Blues that night at Eden Park, and those guys were getting stuck in.

I kind of forgot all about them until I went for a slash and came around the corner into the urinals and nearly bounced off this man-mountain coming the other way. I looked up and saw the most tremendous eyebrows. I can’t stress this point enough – as someone often accused of being well brow-endowed, I was impressed. Colin makes Graham Henry look like Kate Moss. The brows belonged to non other than Colin Meads, the man, the legend, etc. He was bloody huge. I had to say something.

Me – “Can I shake your hand?”

Colin Meads – “OK”

*shakes hand*

Me – “Having a big night?”

Colin Meads – “Big night… *significant pause* ….ah ha. Biiiiiiiig night.”

And that’s it. I doubt he’d remember me. On reflection, I’d have preferred to meet our greatest in somewhere other than a pub toilet. Still, you have to seize the day, right?

Update: the first stalk is in! Mark encountered foul-tempered ex-Chelsea striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink in Cardiff. Read all about it on Stalkipedia.

Googling shit up with Garth George

Today, NZ Herald go-to curmudgeon Garth George rails against John Key’s proposed national cycleway. Sandwiched between heart-rending tales of being forced to ride a bike to school and smug reference to his “warm, dry, powerful motor car” are six quotes about cycling.

I tweeted that Garth probably had wiki quote open while thundering out his column. I was wrong.

But I *did* find five of the six quotes Garth padded his bluster out with on Quotegarden’s cycling page, which is the first result when you type ‘cycling quote’ into Google.

So, I present the following table just so we’re clear where Garth got his material for today’s column from:

Garth George quotes from Google’s first hit on ‘cycling quote’

The bicycle is a curious vehicle. Its passenger is its engine. – John Howard

You never have the wind with you – either it is against you or you’re having a good day. – Daniel Behrman

It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle. – Ernest Hemingway

Cycle tracks will abound in Utopia. – H.G. Wells

Get a bicycle. You will not regret it – if you live. – Mark Twain

Garth George quotes from somewhere else

If all feeling for grace and beauty were not extinguished in the mass of mankind at the actual moment, such a method of locomotion as cycling could never have found acceptance; no man or woman with the slightest aesthetic sense could assume the ludicrous position necessary for it. – Maria Louise Rame

The professionally pissed off Garth George

So, apologies to Garth for thinking he was a wikiquote man instead of a first-result-on-Google  kind of guy.