Field Theory by Hadyn Green

44

He's the voice

I shit you not the headline read: Jamie's Win Cup Runneth Over. I know that puns are the bread and butter of sportswriters and to have a sportsperson called Whincup must make the usual Sunday paper journo respond with Pavlovian salivation, but, come on!

So yes the Hamilton V8s were on again. A time when part of New Zealand cringes with revulsion and the other part get drunk on cheap piss, ogle girls in skimpy outfits and pray for major vehicular accidents. And of course those are both gross stereotypes.

There must have been some modicum of restraint shown by the crowd though. Police say arrests were down for a start. And even that scourge of public events, who has made a career (I suppose you can call it a career) out of removing clothes in public, was removed after, well, removing her clothes in public. We all know her name don't make me write it.

As for the actual racing, the Sunday papers were correct that Jamie Whincup did do rather well. He negotiated the infamous chicane and came through with the wins. By the way I think every race course should have a particular section that has a high degree of difficulty that can be a focal point for both drivers and fans.

This reminds me that there is a new show on The Box (formerly Sky 1) called Grid Girls where a group of long-legged short-pantsed women are put into various race cars and compete to be the best "girl racer". Sigh

Wouldn't it be more interesting to watch actual female motor racers who have real driving skills attempt to master other forms of racing rather than giggling amateurs? For example, driver Gemma Farrel says that she hopes that the show will help her in the future:

I've been in Australia for four years now so my profile is there…..I would love to start to build a profile in New Zealand with TV and modelling.

Somewhere there are motor racers, dying for sponsorship money, crying. Other reality shows of this ilk don't have people without skills. Project Runway, Hell's Kitchen, even America's Next Top Model, all have contestants with the skills for the show. Again, sigh.

Back to Hamilton, TVNZ reporter Marty Tasker started his live report (why is it always live) with: "Despite the recession, many turned out to the race…" It seems that "despite the recession" might become the new suffix for news intros these days. "Despite the recession people having fun" etc.

On to less grumbly matters now.

At the Basin Reserve test match recently, Dan Slevin, like a modern day Aesop, told me the story of how West Ham got it's uniform. Note, he refers to West Ham as "we", a nice touch I think.

My memory of the story was that around the turn of the century we went up to Villa (who are a much older club than us or anyone) and they donated us a kit when we didn't have one.

Wikipedia has the full version:

[Thames Ironworks, West Ham's predecessor] permanently adopted claret and blue for home colours in the summer of 1899. Thames Ironworks right-half Charlie Dove received the Aston Villa kit from his father William Dove, who was a professional sprinter of national repute, as well as being involved with the coaching at Thames Ironworks. Bill Dove had been at a fair in Birmingham, close to Villa Park, the home ground of Aston Villa and was challenged to a race against four Villa players, who wagered money that one of them would win.

Bill Dove defeated them and, when they were unable to pay the bet, one of the Villa players who was responsible for washing the team's kit offered a complete side's 'uniforms' to Dove in payment. The Aston Villa player subsequently reported to his club that the kit was 'missing'.

Well this weekend The Hammers travelled to Villa and took their away strip – sky blue with two claret horizontal bands – only to have the referee decide that the uniforms' sleeves were too similar and asked the home team to find a new strip.

And what a strip! It was just casual warm up gear but jeez it looked cool. Especially in the first half when it had no advertising.

Villa could've worn their away strip, but really, the white was too fucking cool.

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Last week was a big one for news about the people who bring us sport. Obviously Tony Veitch was mentioned a few times. I've tried to keep away from Ve-itch-nam War news as much as possible because, quit frankly, I never thought he was much of a presenter. In fact I would go so far as to say I prefer Andrew "Saveloy" Saville (even if he does look like a bobble head at times).

The two biggest sports presenter stories have come out the US. First, veteran broadcaster Harry Kallas (famous Philadelphia broadcaster and voice of NFL Films) died. Then John Madden retired.

John Madden may be one of the most famous sports presenters of all time. With co-hosts Pat Summerall and then Al Michaels, Madden became the voice of American Football for a generation. He is enshrined in the Football Hall of Fame for coaching, broadcasting and for eponymous video game, which was the first video game to enter any sports hall of fame.

His quirks made Madden all the more likable: he never flew (so he never commentated the ProBowl in Hawaii); he ate Turducken at Thankgiving (turkey, stuffed with duck, stuffed with chicken. Ooooo yeah); he said "BOOM!" a lot; he was king of the telestrator (the magic pen used to draw on the screen, here's him drawing a penis, sort of); and he really liked quarterback Brett Favre.

And don't think he was just an in-joke:

  • Madden lead the Raiders to a stunning 103-32-7 record as a coach, including seven AFC Western Division titles and a victory in Super Bowl XI. His .750 winning percentage is the best in NFL history.
  • A broadcasting career that spanned 30 years and all four major networks, earning him an absurd 18 Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Sports Analyst/Personality and 16 wins.
  • The #1 sports video game title ever in EA Sports' Madden NFL Football line.

He was folksy without being dumb. He was jokey but only at the right times. He was friendly without losing professionalism. But age (he's 73) caught up with him and now he's going to spend more time with his grandchildren. Fair enough.

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