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Soup of This Day #72: We Could Steal Time Just For One Day

September 21, 2011

John Collier's Lady Godiva
John Collier’s 1897 Lady Godiva. Hopefully the saddle was comfortable – Photo: Public Domain. Image cropped by Longworth72.

At 7:00pm, Friday 5th of July, 1799, a man was arrested in London. He had accepted a bet of 10 Guineas to run naked from Cornhill to Cheapside, a distance of less than 1km. He made it about halfway before being apprehended and locked up.

Hopefully with some clothes on. The Poultry Compter was a nasty little prison in 1799.

This according to Wikipedia is the earliest recorded instance of streaking. Lady Godiva doesn’t count as there is no documented evidence that the community-minded lass did ride naked in pursuit of tax reform.

The Noah would applaud this early example of derring do, particularly that it garnered money. He has a post-shower or bath routine that involves running through the living area, triumphant at the complete lack of clothing. Although I hope he grows out of this before he gets old enough to start dating, it is for now a funny little ritual of freedom that he seems to enjoy.

Lately he’s taken to adding an extra bit post-streak where he pretends he’s a teacher and he earnestly lectures everyone about all manner of stuff, all while still nude. Since his mother is a teacher I’m a little concerned about what he thinks she does each day. Only a little concerned though. Either way I’m not giving him pocket money for streaking, he’ll just have to survive on the thrill.

Which brings us to the theme of this post. The streak. Only it’s not all about the getting-nude-and-running-through-public streak. No, this post is also about the kind of streak you get on when you get the same outcome in a sporting contest on consecutive occasions. As in a winning streak.

Exhibit A is the Australian national rugby team, the Wallabies and their record at the World Cup vs the Irish national rugby team. Across the 1st 6 World Cups the Wallabies have met the Irish 4 times, with the Wallabies winning all 4. Some in heartbreaking fashion for the Irish – They were close in the 1991 quarter-finals at their Lansdowne Road home but were undone by a Michael Lynagh try just 4 minutes from the close for a 19-18 Australian triumph. The Wallabies would go on to defeat England in the World Cup Final at Twickenham.

Sidebar: Twickenham, widely referred to as the home of English rugby, was the scene for one of the most famous streaks in sport. At half time in the January 2, 1982 Test between Australia and England, 24 year old bookseller Erica Roe needed to escape the amorous attentions of a drunk guy who was part of her group. So Erica, who was a little drunk herself, moved down near the fence, quickly got bored with the lack of halftime entertainment and on the spur of the moment decided to go for a topless run across the pitch with a friend, much to the delight of the mostly male crowd.

Her friend didn’t make much of it but Roe got an impressive distance without a sports bra.

Offers from Playboy followed but Erica told them they ‘had the wrong end of the stick’. In 2001 she was tracked down for a where-are-they-now story: Where-she-was-then was in Portugal, growing organic sweet potatoes. Apparently the streak made her ‘content’ and a ‘better person’.

Oh and Australia lost that 1982 test 15-11. It had been 6-3 before the break so neither team was seemingly affected by Erica. Plus she dodged that amorous guy on the day good and proper.

In the 2003 World Cup the Wallabies again edged the Irish by a solitary point, this time 17-16. The remaining 2 matches were less thrilling. In 1999 the Wallabies won 23-3, a nadir in Irish-Australian Rugby World Cup clashes. Previously, in the 1987 edition they won 33-15, which avoided being the nadir by 2 points and therefore is technically the zenith of the nadirs. Or something.

This shared history framed the Wallabies clash with Ireland this weekend past as part of the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Ireland coming into the match with ordinary form were the rank underdogs to a Wallabies outfit that had just won the brutal Tri-Nations tournament for Southern Hemisphere rugby’s powerhouse 3. The Aussies then were hotly tipped to steamroll the Irish.

Yeah, no.

Ireland stymied an already flat Australia, drawing out ragged mistakes, particularly around the scrum and creating easy turnovers. Their kicking was superb, banging home 4 penalties and 1 drop goal for 15 points off the boot. Australia in contrast could manage just 6 points. The Irish national rugby team curiously is a bit more than a national team – It represents the whole of the island that is Ireland, including both the Republic and Northern Ireland. Which is nice, because the whole island got to put politics aside and enjoy their lads ambushing the Wallabies, putting a huge dent in Australian aspirations of a 3rd World Cup trophy.

Streak over then after 4 wins.

The Red Sox would love a streak of 4 wins right now. Actually they’d love a streak of 2 wins. They haven’t managed that since an August 27 double-header against Oakland. To be fair they have only won 6 out of 23 since then so it’s unrealistic to expect them to string 2 of them together.

Of recent note: They lost their final game against Tampa Bay 8-5 letting the Rays close to just 2 games adrift of the wildcard slot. Tim Wakefield took the loss after giving up 6 runs in 5 innings.

There followed a double-header against the O’s. The 64-win-bottom of the AL-East O’s. Who won Game 1 6-5. Kyle Weiland absorbing his 3rd loss after he gave up 6 runs in 4.2 innings.

Game 2 and the John Lackey show chugged underway once more. Big John gave up 3 in the 1st and then 5 more across 4.1 innings of expensive madness. Astonishingly the Sox were still ahead at this point as they had driven in 11 across the 1st 3 innings. They tagged another 7 in the 7th and somehow won the game 18-9. With any luck every pitcher involved will spend some time reflecting on whether baseball is really meant for them.

On the offence side, Jacoby Ellsbury had 3 hits, 3 runs and 2 RBIs from 6 at bats. Scutaro managed the same from 1 less at bat while Pedroia had 4 hits, 2 runs and 4 RBIs off just 4 at bats. None of these were the standouts: Those were Jed Lowrie with 2 hits, 3 runs and 4 RBIs and Conor Jackson with his 2nd career grand slam and 1st as a Sox hitter.

And yes, I said Jed Lowrie.

And no, I don’t think there is another Jed Lowrie.

So a blowout win and a chance for the Sox to gain momentum and a streak this morning. Cynics amongst Red Sox fans could however point to the previous 2 blowout wins by this Sox outfit: They beat the Jays 14-0, September 6 and then followed that with a 11-10 loss to Toronto. They beat the Jays again, this time 18-6, September 13 and then followed that with a 5-4 loss to the Jays. Now they had beaten the O’s 18-9 and the September Sox were looking vulnerable for a 1 run loss.

It started ok. Bedard breezed through his 1st 2 innings in 25 pitches. The Sox meanwhile jagged a run via a Gonzalez (again) RBI double. Then came a patented Soxplosion as Bedard used 51 pitches getting 2 outs and giving up 4 runs in the 3rd. Back came the Sox bats though as Gonzalez (again) with a 2 run blast in the 3rd, Aviles with an RBI single and Gonzalez (again) with a ground out RBI gave them a 5-4 lead.

That was all for the scoring through to the 8th. Daniel Bard had looked clean in the 7th with a 1-2-3 innings but he allowed 2 on with 1 out in the 8th and was pulled for Papelbon as Tito looked to limit the damage.

Then it all falls apart when out go the lights. The Boss knows.

Papelbon gave up 3 and just like that the Sox lost 7-5. At least it wasn’t a 1 run loss though.

The O’s again tomorrow and Beckett is on the mound. We have a 2 game lead over the Rays with 7 to play. They lost to the Yankees today and have 9 to play. It’s hard to escape the feeling though that the Sox are dead men walking.

I’ll leave this post with 1 final streaking story. In 1998 I lived in a 2nd story apartment overlooking a garden. The floor below though was sunken so my flat was only just above street level. I was in the shower 1 morning when I remembered that I had left the shampoo out in the living area. I raced out to get it, picking it up and then turning around to see that the curtains were open and the old lady tending the garden was looking up at me and smiling.

It was cold.

In a panic I commando rolled and came up sprinting for cover. I wasn’t watching my feet though because I kicked a chair and broke a toe.

What’s it got to do with sport? Well I was too embarrassed to tell anyone what happened so I spread it around that I’d broken the toe in a football match. I may mention this to The Noah as a cautionary tale.

We Could Steal Time Just For One Day

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