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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Links on Friday

Footballers. They’re generally into Page Three models, Essex nightclubs and flash motors. Innit. But, it turns out that plucky title-challengers-Liverpool are sheltering the EPL’s only hipster footballer Daniel Sturridge, the “Kanye West of the Northwest”. It’s a fair call, and Vice asks valid questions about why footballers are so uncool generally (remember when George Benson was every player’s fav musician in Roy Of The Rovers questionnaires?), but I say Sturridge is number two hipster – doesn’t get more street than Andy Carroll off his tits at a festival wearing a flouro vest, does it?

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Further ‘Scottish football managers are generally angry’ news:

Baseball fandom get the New York Times data journalism treatment. Interesting, nerdy stuff – but it seems sportreview.net.nz-favoured Oakland Athletics have  no fans. Kind of like sportreview. Ahem.

American Football team logos designed as proper football logos. Some of these are awesome.

Ten years of sportreview.net.nz: Etc

This week marks the ten year anniversary of this blog making the internet worse. Cue a series of unprecedented navel gazing posts – thanks for reading, team.  Ten years: Banners / NEWSDESK / Cartoons / Links on Friday

Thanks for bearing with the ten year posts team, I know it’s been a hard slog. And thanks again for reading. It’s always a thrill to know that a few people enjoy reading the site and get a laugh out of it. As always, the aim of the site is:

I love sport, and I love New Zealand. We Kiwis support our sports people admirably, but take it all a bit seriously. I just want to inject a little humour. Relax, it won’t hurt a bit.

Also thanks to the other sports bloggers, who are a little thinner on the ground now as say five or six years ago (Twitter has a lot to answer for here). The likes of Graeme , JRod, the Beige Brigade (one of the finest fan-lead organisations in the world)’s Paul Ford, Hadyn (the Dropkicks!), Duncan Grieve‘s lamented DeadBall and all the others I’ve missed. It was a lot of fun being part of a group of (mostly) guys who gave a lot of fucks about sport, on the field, but also about the issues around it, the creep of commercialisation and where where the sporting organisations were taking their sports.

The site has evolved over the years from a pretty straight links-blog-with-a-little-comment to the cartoons, to the links on Friday, to the satire, to the ‘analytical‘ stuff to what it is now. Yes, I know the site is not updated as frequently as its heyday, and that pragmatically, with my job, I’m not as actively annoying.  Hopefully that’s balanced out a little, where possible, with some behind-the-scences stuff from the BLACKCAPS. Here’s when I went to Bangladesh and, um, here’s that other time I went to Bangladesh. Ahem.

Some of the posts I’ve enjoyed writing the most are from my own sporting experiences – as someone that spent most of my OE trying to visit sports events, the sportreview.net.nz top 12 stadiums post was a great place to record all that (top three are Waikato Stadium, Eden Park and White Hart Lane, spoiler fans). There’s also my two attempts to cover myself in glory and lager at the 1999 Cricket World Cup in Cardiff as the BLACKCAPS beat the Aussies, and the All Blacks v Italy pool match in Huddersfield that ended with an un-sanctioned meet and greet with the team in a Leeds nightclub, also in ’99. You may also enjoy this write up of playing cricket in a friendly fixture / piss up in Wexford, Ireland.

1999, what a year! Making friends with Glen Osbourne in Huddersfield.

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1999, what a year! Celebrating wasting the Ockers in Cardiff.
Some other stuff that you may enjoy are the sportreview podcast – start with this French test preview. Try also Sport’s top five Fight Club duos and the Top ten tragic moments in New Zealand Sport.

I’m still taking Stalkipedia entries, you know.

I enjoyed the site the most during the 2011 Rugby World Cup, the one we bloody won. Reminisce on the semi-final,  the final, Stephen Donald’s recall and those bloody jerseys.

If you’re having a look through the site, start with the Greatest Hits.

I think that’s about it. I think the site can be summed up best by ‘caring about sport’ and ‘having fun’, and I trust that if you’ve found your way here you do one, or the other, or both.  Good on you, sport needs more like you.  Righto.

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That Bangladesh bat-signing shambles in full.

Ten years of sportreview.net.nz: NEWSDESK

This week marks the ten year anniversary of this blog making the internet worse. Cue a series of unprecedented navel gazing posts – thanks for reading, team. 

Ten years: Banners / NEWSDESK

Read all articles, which are worse than these, tagged NEWSDESK.

24 June 2011: Stephen Donald resting up on Kapiti Coast beach

NEWSDESK: Former All Black Stephen Donald has made himself at home on a Kapiti Coast beach. Donald, who was dropped from the All Black training squad this week, was discovered by Peka Peka Beach resident Gladys Coronation, who was out walking her dogs. “I thought I was seeing things, it’s pretty unusual to see an All Black in this neck of the woods. He seems content, but he’s just… sitting there.”

Coronation contacted the Department of Conservation, who are advising that people should remain at least ten metres away from Stephen Donald at all times, and that dogs should be kept on a leash. “Donald could deliver a vicious peck if he feels threatened. Best case scenario is that he eventually swims back out to sea,” said a DOC spokesperson.

The residents of Peka Peka beach have taken Stephen Donald into their hearts, and are taking it in turns to stand guard. “I’d love to throw a blanket on him and say ‘Just forget about fucking up in Hong Kong, bro’ but you have to let him be. You just have to let him be,” said local hardcase Gavin McEyebrow.

17 September 2007: French to All Blacks – ‘We will steal your girlfriends’

NEWSDESK: French efforts to win the World Cup are moving from the playing field to the bedroom, launching a campaign to distract the All Blacks by stealing their girlfriends. Experts believe the players’ unrelenting focus on World Cup preparations, not sweet nothings whispered in ears, could leave them exposed to a brigade of oily French marauders.

Alarm bells are ringing in the All Blacks’ camp at the potentially disastrous consequences sudden, unexpected heartbreak could have on the campaign. Despite smelling mainly of garlic, onions and cheap aftershave, French men are renowned for their sensitivity to a woman’s physical and emotional desires, compared with our Kiwi fellas’ grunting emotional unavailability. Tactics at the French gits’ disposal include admiring the starry lights of Paris by night, getting caught in the rain and seeking shelter in a cafe, browsing second hand bookshops wearing a beret, and speaking French, the language of love.

The All Blacks are now playing catch up, learning key romantic French phases like “Ici, ayez une chemise de polo d’Adidas, je l’a obtenue libre” (Here, have an Adidas polo shirt, I got it free), “Là où sont mes chaussettes propres?” (Where are my clean socks?), and “La jeune mariée d’emballement est sur le câble ce soir, bébé” (Runaway Bride is on cable tonight, baby).

17 April 2007: England lose, un-invent cricket. World Cup thrown into chaos

NEWSDESK: In a bold move, England un-invented Cricket following their crushing nine wicket defeat at the hands of South Africa. Former ECB Chairman David Morgan told reporters “Our supporters have long faced taunts about England inventing the game, but being crap at it. Well, sod you lot quite frankly, we can ruddy well un-invent it. That is all.” When pressed further while leaving the press conference, a clearly tired and emotional Morgan blurted “You Aussies think you’re so smart – well stick this up your jacksie, Trev.” before being quickly lead away.

Chartered accountant Micheal Vaughan said “Obviously we’ll take full responsibility for ending Cricket forever – that’s life. Batting first after winning the toss wasn’t the best move, but hindsight’s 20/20 isn’t it? We just have to make the best of it.” Yorkshire plumber Andrew Flintoff: “Well the lads are pretty disappointed at how its worked out, but we mustn’t grumble, we’d had a good innings. We’ll always have fond memories of 2005, and that WAS a tremendous piss-up afterwards.”

7 September 2011: All Black selectors get drunk, select backline

NEWSDESK: All Black selectors confirmed they were “pretty wasted” when selecting the team to face Tonga. Forwards coach Steve Hansen told a packed press conference: “We had a few selection headaches, so Smithy brought a box of Woody’s. It all kicked on from there.”

A lightly kebab-stained team sheet revealed the surprise combination of Sonny Bill Williams and Ma’a Nonu, and the inclusion of Isaia Toeava. “I was as surprised as anyone to see Kahui on the wing. Lucky Kronic has been banned, it could have been Mils at centre!” said Hansen.

23 April 2009: Tua / Cameron fight moves to nightclub car park

NEWSDESK: Top Kiwi heavyweights David Tua and Shane Cameron will go toe to toe in the car park of Hamilton’s Troppoz night spot in November. Originally scheduled for Waikato Stadium, then Mystery Creek, the 12 round fight now takes place in a roped off section of the 60 car capacity parking facility. “We’ve hosted a number of fights in our car park” said proprietor Greg Baartowel. “Ohaupo 2nd XV versus the cops in ’93 springs to mind.”

New Zealand’s newest boxing venue is pulling out all the stops to give fight fans their money’s worth. Corporate seating will be offered in a row of thoroughly valeted V8s ringside (“Patrons can specify Holden or Ford”), while general admission punters will get great views from temporarily erected trestle tables. ‘Mountain Man’ Shane Cameron will enter the ring from behind the bar, while David Tua and entourage will emerge from the disabled toilets. Baartowel is keen to emphasise the fight will be a family friendly event. “Like the cricket, if any kids want to get in the ring and have a fight between rounds, they can do so” he said.

29 May, 2007: Dunedin’s stadium debate resolved with formation of ‘Tagotown


NEWSDESK: She’s a hard road finding the perfect city, but the people of ‘Tagotown agree they’ve come pretty close. New Zealand’s newest city has risen from the ashes of the intense debate between the region’s rugby folk and the usual gang of lefty whinging soft cocks. The pro-stadium faction took matters into their own hands and erected a wall between the former Dunedin and their new home, ‘Tagotown. The wall runs from east to west through the the Octogon, and is comprised of worn out tackle bags and couches, many of which have been set on fire.

Wall foreman Steve Hotten laid out some of the city’s founding principles in an oration to the ‘Tagotown people upon the wall’s completion. “It’s pretty farkin simple. Number one – we’re building a stadium. Number two – we support Otago. There’s no number three. If you wanna wear bone carvings, go to Dunedin.”

Unpopular posts

22 September 2010: Delhi officials concede Otago scarfie interior design firm were poor choice

“Athletes bringing a synchronised swimmer back to their room may want to leave the light off, but that’s standard practice where we’re from.”

22 June 2012: Weepu eats Cruden

“When the lights came on, everyone was like ‘where’s Aaron?’. Yeah, you always regret eating a team mate, I’m gutted for him. Hopefully the boys can dig deep on Saturday night and win it for Aaron,” said Weepu.”

29 August 2007: Red faces all round as cylinder contains body parts, not turf

“I got some funny looks going into all those cemeteries with a shovel and saw, let me tell you. What a turn-up, eh?”.

Links on Friday

The Guardian’s Word Cup: 25 Stunning Moments series is top class, going long on the great tournament’s best / grubbiest bits. Roy Keane walking out in Ireland is my fav so far, ‘cos it has  sportreview.net.nz fav Keano lore, with the backstory to one of the great sporting quotes: “You can stick it up your bollocks.” Bonus link: Dry Your Eyes Becks.

ESPN’s Rick Reilly with a long list of truths from his sportswriting career:
I would rather cover athletes than any other anything. They show up early. They are accountable. They suffer fools endlessly and punch a very small percentage of them. They’re forced to explain themselves daily and yet do it without bile. They push themselves places you don’t know exist. Exhausted, they perform feats, under pressure, that never fail to give me chicken skin.

Genre-busting ‘freaky basketball trickshot’ here.

The Who Will Punch Steven Adams in the Face Power Rankings has been doing the rounds on Twitter, and with good reason. Not only has Valerie’s brother made it to some Very Important Basketball Matches (my colleagues assure me), he’s a Jedi master at both ‘niggly elbows’ and ‘all-innocence reaction’ that anyone who’s played social indoor football will be immediately familiar with.

Links on Friday

If obscure curling and hurling stars, scantily-clad models looking tanned and freezing cold, people dressed as fruit and Giovanni Trappattoni are among your interests, you won’t believe your luck when you visit 68 Examples Showcasing The Absolute Ridiculousness Of Irish Sporting Photo Shoots.

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Judy Murray’s Twitter account has forced sportreview.net.nz to revise labelling her as ‘bite-yer-leg-ambitious tennis mum’ to ‘actually quite funny and self aware’. And she trolls Yoko Ono for larfs. I think everyone can get behind that.

Your teeth are offside, your teeth are offside, Luis Suarez, your teeth are offside.” Top ten funniest football chants.

From the ‘kind of useless but kind of cool’ files, here’s MLB’s newest statto-graphics. Sure would like to see this in cricket for something like Trent Boult’s catches.

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Auckland man can’t get off Team NZ bandwagon and onto ‘pack of chokers’ bandwagon fast enough

NEWSDESK: Auckland’s Dave Towbarr has switched boats mid-race as it were. Ten days ago, he was clad in red socks and planning several celebratory sick days to drink pre-mixed bourbon and cola.

Today, Towbarr is calling current affairs TV shows to let them know he’s burning the Barkers trackpants he uses for painting.

Towbarr takes his 180 degree tack from ‘Stuff those Yankee Wankers’ to ‘Grant Dalton owes me money for the time I’ve spent watching this shit’ in his stride. “Farkin’ Greg Norman, John Hart, Hershelle Gibbs choking losers,” said Towbarr, while making prolonged strangling sounds and gestures.

Towbarr, whose previous yachting interest was limited to using the local sailing club carpark for burnouts, admitted he became a stanch Team New Zealand supporter around match day six, fueled by a mix of unhinged  nationalism (“Give ’em a taste of farkin’ Kiwi boys, other nation’s marine industries can lick my balls!”), misguided anti-Americanism (“Russell Coutts sure will walk funny with that boat up his arse!”) and taxpayer entitlement (“I paid for that bloody boat!”).

Now that Oracle have leveled the series at 8-8, Towbarr is expressing his rage and shattered sense of entitlement through as many channels as possible, including talkback radio, rude notes on the local supermarket community noticeboard and to his 34 Facebook friends.

Towbarr’s flatmates said this behavior pattern was not unusual. “We’ll see if this is a ’99 All Blacks’ or ‘Home and Away moving channel’ scenario. Best outcome is that we actually win the thing. If Dave has to go from supporting the team to bagging them to eating his words, he’ll probably sulk in the garage for weeks.”

Sport from the future

According to the Usbourne Book Of The Future, the EPL over the internet thing is just the start – in a few short months, we’ll be enjoying sport like so:

This vision of the future promises an air of effortless sophistication, characterised by a robot butler serving drinks, fridge-sized headphones, just ONE remote control (preposterous) and, disturbingly, a houseguest monitoring your neighbours with a video camera.

The only thing that hasn’t changed in this scenario is sport itself – this is a 70s-style-eyebrows-and-sideburns game with disturbing-goings-on-in-the-background. No sign of goal line technology or isotonic drinks here.

So what will sport in the future be like? Popular culture dictates future sport is characterised by tight clothing  and space-age fonts (which we’re not too far off in fairness):

 

Future sport can also be retro, if you consider Running Man‘s relaxed atitude toward participants’ health and safety, which feels like a throw back to the have-a-go 70s:

 
 Could be a Stihl branding op there. 

With the rise, and then full scale takeover of modern TV programming by reality TV, the Running Man premise feels a lot less surreal and depressingly conceivable, and could easily take place weeknights at seven in the very near future.

Future football is a dystopian affair, taking place on a ship (presumably all the land and that fell into the sea years ago, and is probably Winston Peters’ fault), where former highly paid stars of the Champions League are forced to score goals for bread and survival, presided over by a clearly even-more-insane-than-usual Eric Cantona (that’s pretty insane). I’d buy a subscription to that, for sure.

Charmingly, future cricket appears remarkably similar to today, if a little more pastoral. Green grass, white clothing, wickets. No dramas. The only concessions to modernity appears to be the addition of a few new lines on the outfield, the use of six new balls (building on recent developments there), and players being confined to a box during play.

 

For now, the sport that seems like its been beamed-in from the future is arguably the All! New! America’s Cup.

 
 Oracle get fully extreme to starboard or something.

Once, the Cup had a charmingly shambolic vibe of sunburn, rum and mad scientists in back sheds devising super-kebab-ed keels or turbo bowsprits that would crush those dastardly Americans in their own back ocean. But Russell Coutts’ America’s Cup seems more X-Games than Newport, more Tron than Sailing Away. It’s a Simpsons-esque  attempt to modernise itself, and not one that’s captured the public’s imagination, beyond mouthing ‘fuck that’ while watching it on the sports news.

One possible path for future sport is where new, grassroots sports spring up, in a move away from the globalised path we’re on, like in Baseketball:

A possible Kiwi version of this would be BBQ-Melee, where contestants arm themselves with gas bottles and tongs, and chase each other through suburban backyards. The player with the most garages at the end of 14 days is declared the winner. It would be compelling viewing, as long as a passing game doesn’t requisition your satellite dish for a weapon.

But more likely, future sport is going to be about robots, whether it’s camel racing:

 

…boxing…

 
 “The name’s Iron Mike.”

…surfing…

 
 This robot will not only out-surf you, but schmooze more girls at the beach than you.

…or ice hockey.

 

As this study shows, robots can already kick Rory McIlroy’s arse at golf, and probably chess too.

In any event, non-carbon based players could be a real game changer. Any robot All Blacks will have the mongrel calibrated to 11, be able to detect when they are off camera and commit atrocities on Australian robots at those precise times, and can be programmed not to go to Japan.

Sportreview.net.nz says we should welcome our new robot overlords. Any future that has Alien taking on Predator at Swingball like a suburban idyll is one this website wants to live in.

 

You spin me round like a GIF

Once, GIFs were simply jokey pictures on the internet, like so:

 

Now, the whole internet is GIFs. Which is great, because a GIF’s repetition allows you to appreciate the intricacies and combinations of skill that make up a goal, for example.

 

Or combining the action to highlight Things Like This, tough to do in any other medium:

 

It’s a new way of telling a story. It’s also a new and great way of making sportsmen look silly.

 

They’re also wonderful for making poetry from easily missed moments off-field, like crowd catches…

 

…on-field catches…

 

….people getting hit in the face…

 

…and Arsene Wenger having trouble operating a pocket competently.

 

There’s obviously room for the weird and wonderful. This is quite fantastic:

 

As is this. Sign him up.

 

And in case you ever wondered if Batman colour co-ordinates his boardies to his utility belt when surfing, now you know.

 

 

Caddy Williams celebrates Masters win by sprinting 800m to punch Tiger Woods in the face

NEWSDESK: Australian golfer Adam Scott’s unpleasant caddy Steve Williams celebrated the first Masters win by an Australian by running 800m to the car park and punching former boss Tiger Woods in the face.

Williams, who carried Woods’ bag for 13 major titles and earned an estimated $USD 13m before their acrimonious split, punched the world’s number one golfer in the face as he loaded his golf clubs into his sports utility vehicle in the Augusta National Golf Club car park.

Witnesses described Williams, who roughly pushed several golf fans out of his way and upturned a coffee cart in his haste to punch Woods in the face, as ‘crazed’, ‘wild-eyed’ and ‘funny-looking’, with sweaty chest hair and a gold medallion poking out the neckline of his white caddy’s overalls.

Williams, who has a history of bizzare, angry outbursts and carries other people’s golf clubs for a living, told reporters: “There’s nothing sweeter than winning at Augusta. And there’s nothing sweeter than seeing the final putt go in, dropping the bag and running to the car park to smack Tiger in the face! Bo-ya!”