Then Brandon Stokley snagged the ball on the play that would soon be dubbed the Immaculate Deflection and pulled his astonishing did-you-see-that Maddenball maneuver. Donny Moore, an EA designer who was sitting to Madden’s left, leaped to his feet. “That’s what happens in the game!” he screamed, ecstatic.
Other examples include Jonah Lomu playing a lot of Jonah Lomu Rugby, Shane Warne’s addiction to Leisure Suit Larry, and the NRL playing roster’s re-enactment of Grand Theft Auto most Sunday nights.
“What’s that mate? Bangladesh? Yep, it’s a strip club, we were headed there for Dirk’s stag, but I got into a fight in KFC and spent the night in a cell. Nicked all their bog roll, though.
“What? Cricket? Bangladesh? It’s a country? Key the Falcon, never heard of it. They any good? Useless? Yip. If the Black Caps can beat em they must be as handy as four Swiss army knives in your arse.
“I’ll tell you the problem with Cricket – Cricketers are farkin soft. You’re meant to spend summer in The Sounds drinking piss with a broken arm, not getting grass stains out of your trousers. I bet those Cricket shit heels haven’t even been on a Jet-Ski.
“I mean the AUSSIES are good at Cricket. Aussies. We gave them Robbie Farkin Deans and they can’t even get a decent Rugby team together. That’s about as wrong as taking your missus to the trots. We could sort the Black Caps out with Robbie, a bottle of Coruba and a locked room.
“Have I watched any of the games? I’d rather try and shave my back. Julie Seymour could be wandering around in her undies at fine leg, and I’d only flick over during the ads.
“We done? Good.
“…anyway, I farkin wish I hadn’t drawn Stephen Brett on me Drizabone in Vivid…”
Later in his career, he attempted to write a stadium chant (along the lines of creepy Gary Glitter’s Rock and Roll (Part Two)) for the LA Dodgers, who, like Harry, were originally from Brooklyn.
01 Yo Dodger Blue (L.A. Loves You) – Harry Nilsson (MP3, 6MB)
Assist of the decade, apparently – it IS a bit good
If you have kids, sick tomato is a great way to keep them entertained in the school holidays – you’ll treasure these special moments. Bored teenagers working in fast food outlets also enjoy super sick tomato
Cycling is serious business, team, especially if you aspire to be a 4 foot rake-like Euro cyclist racing up 45% gradients – check out all these rules
Moneyball is about a new approach to baseball, hiring Harvard statistics nerds to scout talent, going deep inside the stats to find the most effective players. Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane, portrayed as an obsessive perfectionist lead the A’s to the play offs several times early in the noughties with a fraction on the budget of most teams. Using number crunching to scout meant the A’s recruited players who were fat, old or just had weird technique who, crucially, got the job done – on paper.
Michael Lewis is one of the smartest writers around, and he brings this world of number crunching and hours alone with Excel to life. This book caused a storm in Baseball with theories that flew in the face of what ‘traditional baseball guys’ valued. It would be fascinating to see this approach applied to Cricket, another sport that lends itself to statistical obsession.
Michael Lewis article on Moneyball in Basketball (NY Times).
Mostly, there’s too much Cricket in Cricket books – if we wanted to read a match report, we’d dial up CricInfo, you know. JRod skillfully runs through each test session by session, but throws in just enough jokes, offensive language and base innuendo to make it compelling reading.
On the NPower promotional girls: “Guys trying to pick up promotional girls is about the saddest thing you can see, like Hotel Rwanda followed by a news report on buring puppies.”
On ‘Random’ Rudi Koertzen: “Sometimes I think he gives himself extra time by raising his finger slowly just so he can surprise himself.”
For me, the book’s peak is around the Lord’s test, from the scene from the press box, to almost killing Richie Benaud using Swine Flu, to a hilarious conversation between Rudi Koertzen and Billy Bowden (Are you sure, or do we need to go upstairs, Billy? There are no stairs here, Rudi.), to the most sublime writing about mass vomit since Stand By Me.
It’s also the story of HIS Ashes, his first in England as a writer; what the series means to him, his impending wedding and going to the Oval with his family – this backstory makes the book richer, without getting all Nick Hornby about it.
It’s well documented that JRod’s mission to turn himself into a Proper Cricket Writer from a standing start impresses the fuck out of me – WFBJ is a big step up from his first book. Buy a copy now, so you can bore your kids about him when he’s editing Wisden or sticking his keys in a pitch on the telly. Highly recommended.
The Black Caps’ coaching-set up isn’t that clear – new coach Mark Greatbach gets to advise on team selection, while Dan has final say, and while Dan’s in charge on the field, Mark helps out with batting and gives interviews, but only if Dan’s not around… it’s more complicated than Tony Greig using his hotel swipe card after a hard evening’s awards ceremony.
In order to poll the Cricket public’s understanding, sportreview.net.nz presents a pop quiz, using 1977’s Star Wars as a model for a modern international Cricket coaching.
Is the Black Caps’ coaching set up more like:
Option A: C3PO and R2D2
C3PO is the kind of droid that emails Health & Safety to see if he’s allowed to use the Millenium Falcon’s toilet – you can trust his advice, but you really want to be wearing your ipod if you’re sat beside him waiting to bat.
R2 has a working relationship with C3PO, but he’s definitely his own droid. He thinks fast and gets results, and that’s what gets him loaded into an X-Wing to help blow up the fucking Death Star.
Option B: Ben ‘Obi Wan’ Kenobi and Luke Skywalker
Luke looks up to Ben, but concerns remain he might pick up bad habits from Han Solo, journeyman pro from the Corellia country scene.
Ben’s been pretty handy with a bat over the years, and has been on all the big tours. What he lacks in footwork these days, he makes up in mind games and getting in his opponent’s head. Superb facial hair. He’s keen to do some mentoring with the up and comers.
Option C: Darth Vader and Admiral Motti
Mark: Don’t try to frighten us with your sorcerous ways, Lord Vettori. Your sad devotion to backing away and cutting may have worked against a popgun Pakistan attack, but is it clairvoyance enough against the Australi….
Mark: *choking noises*
Dan: I find your lack of faith disturbing.
Share your answer in the comments.