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Soup of This Day #114: Thoughts Meander Like A Restless Wind Inside A Letter Box

December 31, 2011

Xochicalco Ballcourt
The ballcourt at Xochicalco, where Maya ballgames were played. There is a belief that, since the Maya Long Count calendar allegedly runs out in 2012 that this will herald some kind of Armageddon-type event. Or the Cubbies will win the World Series – Photo: Madman2001, 2007. Madman2001 is not affiliated with Longworth72. Image cropped by Longworth72.

This post is being started at 8:57pm, December 31st, 2011. If it goes according to plan it will be finished just shy of midnight and a brand new year. When I 1st thought about it I kind of imagined I’d do a yearly review, maybe even hand out some gongs and boos via a newly minted annual award schema that I had concocted while stuck in a toilet without a book to read the other day. Now though, as the clock ticks over to 8:59pm (I know, all those words in 2 minutes. It is impressive), that all seems a bit trite. So instead of the Longworth72 Award For Excellence In The Field Of Excellence you get Longworth72’s brief take on the year that was and his 1 hope for 2012. Enjoy.

I’ll start with the Boston Red Sox. Sadly the 1500 word limit on these posts precludes me from covering in depth the roller-coaster ride that was the Sox in 2011. If you read this blog you’ll be across it and if you’re a Red Sox fan then you’ll be up to your neck in it so instead I thought I’d use a story I came across as a metaphor.

Don’t worry, it involves an Olympic champion so stick with me through this.

This week there were reports that a chimpanzee called Cheetah had died in a Florida sanctuary following kidney failure. He was no ordinary chimp – Cheetah had allegedly starred alongside 5-time Olympic gold medalist Johnny Weismuller in 2 Tarzan films from 1932 to 1934. This would make Cheetah around 80 at death, a surprisingly long lifespan for an ape. The key here isn’t the age though – It’s the behaviour. See, Cheetah got a little cranky in his dotage. Ron Priest, a Suncoast Primate Sanctuary volunteer summed it up best:

‘When he didn’t like somebody or something that was going on, he would pick up some poop and throw it at them. He could get you at 30 feet with bars in between.’

And that folks encapsulates the Red Sox season – Some star moments but it degenerated into lots of @#$% being flung around, albeit without the discerning accuracy of Cheetah the chimp.

Liverpool FC had a year that in some ways paralleled Boston’s. After a sluggish start they bought big and hopes were raised. That’s where the analogy ends though as the Reds never really looked like going anywhere fast. As a consequence they finished the 2010/11 season in 6th. Since I’ve run out of chimp-throws-poo metaphors I will now paint a picture of Liverpool circa end of 2011 via the story of their penultimate game of the year:

It was at Anfield and against a Blackburn side that was propping up the table, 20 points adrift of Liverpool. The Reds should have dominated and did, creating a whopping disparity of 28 shots on goal to just 5. Night follows day and so with that weight of strikes it figures that Liverpool would score the game’s only 2 goals – A 1st half strike to midfielder Charlie Adam and a 2nd half effort to striker Craig Bellamy. Which would have been a comfortable win except that Adam put the ball into the wrong net and it finished 1-1.

Liverpool’s last game of the year, played at Anfield last night saw them again outscore their opponents, this time by 4 goals to nil. They are fond of the whole 2-steps-forward-1-step-back thing though so nobody should be surprised that they parlayed this into a 3-1 scoreline with Liverpool defender Daniel Agger scoring for the opposition. Since he did this by handling a cross into his own net and he’s not a goal-keeper you’d have to say that this indicates an unfamiliarity on his part with 2 key concepts in football.

For the record, Liverpool will head into 2012 in 5th or 6th place, somewhere between 11 and 14 points off the pace. Either of those gaps is surely insurmountable.

Fremantle Football Club didn’t have a roller-coaster year. Not unless it’s the kind of park attraction that just tamely goes around a constant slight decline. Kind of like an Escher fun ride.

Without the fun.

It did start promisingly – Freo had a stellar 2010 and with the same cast, only more experienced, they were bound to progress further, right? Right?

Yeah, no. Even before they were crueled by an injury list that was cartoon ridiculous, the Dockers were strangely flat. The result was a mid-table side that slowly crept below the pass mark and held there to finish down in 13th, well outside of finals contention. The most notable stat for the lads for 2011 has turned out to be 1 they have shared with their Longworth72 brethren – Like Boston (Terry Francona to Bobby Valentine) and Liverpool (Roy Hodgson to Kenny Dalglish) Freo has finished the year without the boss they started it with – Mark Harvey being replaced by St Kilda Coach Ross Lyon.

Which does for the 3 teams that this blog follows. In other sport there was 1 standout for 2011 – Cadel Evans became the 1st Aussie to win that most grueling of challenges, the Tour de France. Long accused of being a plodder who could only follow the wheels of the attacking elite, Evans gave the lie to that image with a Tour of grit married to tactical nous. His epic chases in Stage 18 and Stage 19, when he limited the damage done by pre-race favourites Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador, were lion-hearted. His time-trial to seal the win in Stage 20 was equally impressive and somehow he managed to do all of that while being humble and seemingly genuinely surprised and moved by the adulation back home in Australia. Some might call him a plodder but I reckon he’s a guy that you look at and know is unlikely to be in to performance enhancing beyond training bloody hard.

Either way, his win gave me 1 of the few fist-pumping, sofa-leaping, arms-raised-in-triumph sporting moments of 2011. Good onya Cadel – bloody brilliant mate!

So that’s the Longworth72 sporting wrap for 2011 – There’s just some housekeeping to go:

A massive thanks to anyone who read this blog in 2011 and in particular those who regularly battled through my ramblings. You latter bunch are a small group that are surely handsome and gifted in all of the things that men or women seek (Please circle the 1 or both that apply to you). To be honest I call you a small group but I’m constantly amazed and more than a bit chuffed that there are any of you at all. Some of you aren’t even sports fans. And some of you aren’t even related to me.

A shout-out to all of the blogs I’ve read in 2011 that have floated my boat. There are too many to mention so I’ll pick on 3 that shone for me: Too Soxy for my Shirt, whose prolific and genuine work around the Red Sox was 1 of the highlights of a dire season; Sports Attitude, who sets the template for being a nice guy and managing to write entertaining stuff about sport and A Red Sox Fan From Pinstripe Territory, whose application and eye for detail should be scary but is actually inspiring.

And now, if you’re reading this for the sport, look away – It gets heavy:

A big thanks to Brother of Longworth72. My only bro, he lived through a lot of my memories with me so he kind of owns parts of this blog too. He’s also as big a sports fan as me and there’s nobody I spend more time talking over games of all descriptions with than him. For him, I wish joy in the form of Everton FC, Canuck’s and Blue Jay’s success.

Well, the Canucks are in with a shot anyway.

A hugemongus thanks and much love to The Noah – My hombre is 1 half of the centre of my universe and the dude who gets me out of bed most mornings, figuratively and literally. His laugh is All-Star material and somehow he thinks his old man is funny. Rock on little matey, you’re my joint-MVP for 2011.

It’s an award he shares with his Mum, my beloved. This year marked our 10th that we have been a couple and our 4th that the State sanctioned us as husband and wife. Those are nice stats but they don’t cover 2011 or do justice to my wife, not with clarity. Earlier this year we fell pregnant for the 2nd time. Some 9 weeks later a scan revealed that we weren’t pregnant anymore. It’s called a ‘missed miscarriage’ and it’s about as gutted as I’ve been in my life. Don’t go feeling pity for me though – We got through, I think because my wife is Superwoman, and we’re now 15 weeks into pregnancy number 3. Everything is on track and ok albeit with a prospective Dad who is probably driving everyone nuts with his paranoia.

Through all of that my wife has tolerated me watching sport and talking about it. This year she has added tolerating me writing about it too. It’s a time-consuming hobby and I reckon there’s been a few nights where she’s wanted to kick my arse into bed. For some of them she has done just that. In spite of this and even though she just isn’t into sport, she stills supports me writing this stuff and even finds time to read it. All of it.

Love you babe.

Oh, and my hope for 2012 – A healthy new addition to a happy Longworth72 family.

It’s now 11:57pm, December 31st, 2011 – Happy New Year and may the god of your choice bless you in 2012 and beyond.

Thoughts Meander Like A Restless Wind Inside A Letter Box

2 Comments
  1. Happy New Year and here’s hoping for a complete one…unless the Cubs win it all…or the Mayans get it “right”…

    • The Cubs can’t win it… Surely not… Epstein is rebuilding a wasted farm system and dumping overpriced talent – If only he’d been as brutal with the Sox list – so I figure to look for them and the end of civilisation in 2015.

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