Trouble in the carpark

Seve Ballesteros died this week at 54.

Holding a slender lead in The Open of 1979, with Jack Nicklaus breathing down his neck, Seve was fearless from the tee, swinging hard and landing erraticly, missing 8 of 9 fairways when he took his driver. In the clip below, he gives his drive everything, lands 60-70 feet right of target in the car park, delicately lofts his ball back onto the green and rolls it in for birdie. He won the tournament.

Sure, Jack had fetching taste in knitwear and 18 majors to Seve’s 5, but there’s little doubt who’s cooler. Never forget about style and imagination in sport, team, they’re  important. Danny Blanchflower‘s quote seems appropriate: “The game is about glory. It’s about doing things in style and with a flourish, about going out and beating the other lot, not waiting for them to die of boredom.”

Lawrence Donegan on Seve

Photo gallery

Beautiful flux

A McSweeney’s review of Tony Hawk’s book contains this neat little passage:

Note: Starting in the early eighties, Hawk dominated ramp skating in ways that would be literally impossible to overemphasize. I’m not merely talking about his success in contests, although until he retired in 1999 he was all-but unbeatable, but rather I’m referring to the extent that his innovation and abilities consistently eclipsed those of his peers. To watch him skate was, and to a degree still is, to gaze into a widening chasm between skateboarding’s present and past. Whenever he dropped in on a ramp, the accepted boundaries of the sport were in a thrilling, beautiful flux.

Links on Friday

These sin-binned-hockey-player-taunting green men made me laugh a lot, especially when one pretends to cry (via @cam_mcmillan)

Poor Wayne Rooney, can’t even have a pint in peace

In alternate reality comes to life news, Maradonna tuns out for Tottenham. He’s no Steffan Freund.

Casual! Casual! Casual! He’ll regret that quite spectacular own goal, and that haircut

Reading list

Jeremey Coney interview:

“I did get on the field in front of Bay 13 at the MCG. I can remember having an exchange with a hostile crowd down there. I did give some back – which was stupid. “Ah, look, we’ve got a young goose here, there’s only 35 shoplifting days to Christmas, Cornery,” they shouted. Then they started to throw marbles and they were pinking me on the back of my jersey. There must have been a hundred marbles around me and I thought I was going to roll an ankle. Then they started throwing pies when they ran out of marbles. And that attracted the birds. I had undulating ground underfoot and above, flying wildly around me, were birds swooping to attack these bits of meat. It was a disaster. And it was from that day on that I was solely a slip fielder.”

– Gideon Haigh’s sweet tribute to England’s Chris Tavere:

“As an ersatz opening batsman, Tavaré did not so much score runs as smuggle them out by stealth.”

How A $500 Craigslist Car Beat $400K Rally Racers:

“I once asked Bill why he insisted on going through every spectator section crossed up and with the engine banging off the limiter. “Dude,” he said, “I don’t care if it costs me a couple of tenths. It makes the fans go nuts.”

The top ten Roy Keane battles:

“The two had been grappling for an hour or so before McAteer responded to a Keane foul by miming writing motions, mere days after the midfielder had said he’d rather buy his son a Bob The Builder CD than Keane’s autobiography. Soon afterwards, they chased for a loose ball, Keane elbowed McAteer in the head, and off he trudged.”

Kicking 2009 when it’s down

Doing a half-arsed wrap up of the year is becoming a tradition here on sportreview – here’s 2009.

If there was one week that summed up 2009 for me, it was seeing the All Blacks *cook* with Italy’s Next Top Model contestants in Milan in the most embarrassing and wooden photo op since Don Brash walked the plank, before our second string players participated in a shitty, shitty match at the San Siro, deeply marred by some shocking officiating from an experienced ref trying to enforce god knows what version of the rulebook is on top of the pile. Any Italians unfamiliar with Rugby watching the match would have found the oval ball code as appealing as toenail ravioli.

Earlier that day, New Zealand qualified for the Football World Cup in front of a crowd wholeheartedly supporting their team.

I don’t want to get into a Rugby v Football debate (although I think the nation’s office kitchens are going to be ringing with that mid year), but I really wish the first of these scenarios was more like the second – clear rules, supporting and having fun, and winning. That would do nicely.

Here’s my year, in sport, in and for me.

2009: big sport stuff

All Whites making the World Cup finals
All of a sudden it’s 1982 again. I’m sure I’m not the only one who this qualification kind of sneaked up on. I wasn’t paying that close attention to the qualifiers, and then suddenly we were two games away, and the whole country was going All Whites crazy and calling it ‘Football’. Wonders never cease. For a country used to grim, po-faced ‘support’ of its Rugby heroes, where Grizz Wylie’s statuesque pose when watching matches is seen as a model for manhood everywhere, not, perhaps more appropriately, something to lean on to keep warm, the Latin explosion of noise and color in the Caketin that night could change our country’s sporting landscape forever. Could. Anyway. We really have something to look forward to this year. Leg Break or ‘lucky git’ as he’s known around here, will be our man in the Guardian’s Fan thingo.

Black Caps
Can’t I just skip this? Andy Moles was out faster than a sneaky fart in a meeting room, and suddenly Dan is player, captain, coach, selector and god knows what else – we would be deeply fucked if we lost him at the moment. We got a little taste of how un-fucked we are without Shane Bond in Dunedin before going back to being just fucked without him.  Everything in my July 2008 Black Caps coach application still applies – we need two things – 1. John Wright and 2. a plan.

Chiefs make the Super 14 Final
Not sure how they got on after that, ah har har

The All Blacks.
We’re still South Africa’s bitches, but how long they can continue a coaching panel the equivalent of a Benny Hill chase scene, I don’t know. I only got to one match, the bitter bitter disappointment in Hamilton. NZ’s other national sport of kicking the All Blacks when they’re down is still alive and well. To me, there wasn’t a lot of difference between the way we played on the end of year tour and in the Tri Nations, it’s just we executed better, and playing against poorer quality sides up north would have helped. It’s still not going well, though, is it? The All Blacks’ 2011 preparations (and make no mistake, it’s ALL about 2011) is still in the ‘Hey! Let’s build a waterfront stadium!’ phase. Must try harder.

New Zealand cyclists kick the world’s arse
New Zealand cyclists had 15 world titles this year, and just this week, up and comer Jack Bauer outsprinted Tour De France riders Hayden Roulston and Julian Dean to win the national Road Race title. We’ve got cycling talent coming out our ears, and it’s looking all on on the track and the road for the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics. Pro wise, this year’s Tour De France should be a ripper, with Alberto v Lance and the new Brit Sky team. Can’t wait.

2009: related highlights

I really enjoyed putting this together, there’s some great stuff in here, but NOT ENOUGH! I’m still accepting stalks team.

L&P take down
I wish more companies would piss me off so I could do This Kind Of Thing more often.

This is a lot of fun, and something I’m keen to do more of, if I can find a decent place to record them. The fist few have a certain charm, but the French preview one is where it hits its stride

The Herald showed some love

I won a copy of JRod’s first book

Best 2009 posts: Bowling through Wexford, Dan drops himself, Fight Club Duos, Keith Quinn on Twitter, Rattue joins the All Blacks, Tua / Cameron fight move, Bloggers at the Basin,

Best 2009 cartoons: Player Power, Dingo + shark, SuperDobbers, 18 and life to go,

Tech Talk with Phil Waugh – secretly probably my favorite thing I’ve done all year. Too weird?

2009: Rocking my world

Getting MySky
I CANNOT emphasise enough how much arse MySky kicks. Having long sent the VCR to the downstairs storage of doom, the ability to quickly ‘tape’ anything on a whim has changed my and sportreviewloveinterest’s lives. As a sport blogger, this means I can actually WATCH SPORT again – imagine that! It also means I can fast forward through the weather for the South Island – this makes me very happy indeed.

Starting a tumblr is a pretty low hassle way to make a neat site, and a great way to find new links and photos.

New Bike – conquered some sweet hills on this already.

Top 5 tracks in
1. The Kinks – This Time Tomorrow
2. Beck – Sing It Again
3. Ben Kweller – Thirteen
4. Harry Nilsson – Turn On Your Radio
5. The Velvet Underground – I Found a Reason

In The Loop, Avatar 3D. I didn’t see many movies released in 2009 this year.

Pathetic effort reading wise this year, due to watching too much iPod TV on the bus. I loved White Teeth and Cannery Row, while Man In Full made me very frustrated. Sport-wise, it was Summer 0f 49 and Tana‘s Up Close, continuing the All Black tradition of mildly revelatory bios after they’re safely retired.

So, another year down. I hope you all are enjoying the site, I really enjoy your comments and having some larfs, especially on the twitter. My personal sporting highpoint this year is watching sportreview jr, who’s 19 months now, kick a ball – he hits it hard. He’s going to break the back of some poor unsuspecting net one day.

Related: best of 2008, best of 2006 one, two

Catch a Tiger


Here’s Tiger winning The Masters, his first Major, by 12 shots way back in 1997. When was the last time you saw him smile like that? Most days, Tiger makes being the world’s most successful, famous and highly paid sportsman look as much fun as losing changes from an Excel spreadsheet.

Tiger’s love of privacy makes Howard Hughes look like Rodney Hide. He swears, he glares, and woe betide anyone who wants to talk to him. It says a lot that his best mate is ‘top’ NZ ‘sportsman’ and prickly shit Steve Williams, a nightclub bouncer at Club Fuck You.

This current troubles will pass (he was crazy not to front-foot this in the media. WHAT are IMG getting paid for?), but I just hope he doesn’t retreat further into his shell because of it.

I know it must be tough being Tiger, but come on, Golf is fun. I have that hacker’s love of golf where I lie awake after a round thinking about that one sweet 7-iron that hit the green nicely, not the search for my third lost ball in the rough. I’d hate to see Tiger grimly march past Nicklaus’ 18 Majors with little joy. I want to watch him enjoy himself while he does it.

Tiger reading list:

The Guardian’s wonderful Lawrence Donegan profiles Tiger.

Another Guardian profile, linking to The man. Amen, a 1997 Esquire article on Tiger, when he was more trusting of the media. The Guardian profile asks:

Why should a man who, at 33, is in the prime of his life, who constantly expresses the joy his son and daughter bring to his life, who is reckoned to be a billionaire and who earns close to $2m a week even if he chooses to lie in bed, be so apparently fed-up and irritated?

NZ’s sporting JFK moments

The Guardian has a list of six JFK moments, the ones so significant that the where-you-were and the who-you-were-with is tattooed (JFK moments are often painful) permanently on your brain.

So what are New Zealand sport’s JFK moments? Here’s a few to get started, and where I was at the time; get into the comments and tell me what I’ve missed.

1930 Phar Lap wins the Melbourne Cup – not born

1956 All Blacks beat South Africa: “I’m absolutely buggered!” – not born

1960 – Peter Snell wins in Rome – as above

1983 Graham Thorne presents the Cricket from Australia with a perm – watching sportreview sr. pissing himself laughing, not fully understanding what a girlyman ex-All Black Thorne was making of himself on the national box with this unexpected, bold hairstyle choice

1985 Coney and Chatfield hold out Pakistan at Carisbrook – bouncing up and down on the couch in Hamilton, about as excited as a 12 year old could be

1995 “The America’s Cup is now New Zealand’s cup” – down at the Viaduct, in its pre-Viaduct incarnation at 8am on a Sunday morning, with half of Auckland, seemingly

1999 The greatest fucking Rugby comeback of all time – in a Cricklewood flat in cloud of stunned silence with a mate. We didn’t go to the pub to watch, assuming we’d be there next week for the final. I’d spent about eight months talking the All Blacks and their ‘fast, mobile’ pack up to work colleagues. The croissant on my desk on Monday bought a lump to my throat

2006 Tana Umanga’s handbag goes for twenty odd grand on TradeMe – at my desk, head in hands, rocking gently back and forth