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Soup of This Day #152: I Been Young, I Been Old

March 17, 2012

New York Herald composing room, 1902
The New York Herald composing room in 1902. I’m sure things have changed since then – Photo: George Grantham Bain Collection, 1902. The George Grantham Bain Collection has no affiliation with Longworth72. Image cropped by Longworth72.

It’s an autumnal day in Perth, Western Australia and I’m back home from the morning swimming lesson with The Noah, who has now gone to his room for a nap.

Hopefully a 2 hour 1.

I love him to bits and all but I could use some quality alone time here – A chance to have some lunch (Fish and chips in case you care… Fish and chips in case you don’t) and catch up on the sporting news from around the globe.

To this end I’ve just completed a sweep of my regular sporting news sources and have jotted down some headlines that caught my eye. Here then is the Longworth72 guide to what’s happening in sport now-ish:

From the New York Times – ‘Bonnies Suddenly Forget To Attempt a 3-Pointer When They Need It Most’

Yep, you’re probably thinking, ‘There were back-to-back 15-defeats-2s and Longworth72 is fixated on St. Bonaventure (14) losing to FS (3). What’s with that?’

Don’t worry, I haven’t lost focus.

Much.

The thing is, if you’re across March Madness then you don’t need me to highlight Norfolk State’s 86-84 win over Missouri or Lehigh’s 75-70 triumph over Duke.

No, I’ve checked and there isn’t another Duke. Lehigh beat that Duke. Bye bye Blue Devils.

A perspective check will show that Norfolk State and Lehigh are only the 5th and 6th 15th seeds respectively to knock off 2nd seeds in the tournament’s history.

In fact if you’re across the NCAA scores you’ll know that 8 of the 16 match-ups went to the underdogs across a bracket-destroying day. At another time Ohio’s (14) 65-60 win over Michigan (4) would have stood out. Or even South Florida’s (12) demo job on Temple (5) 58-44. Not so much today.

But I’ve ignored all of this and plumped for St. Bonaventure coming up short against FS. Mostly because for me it encapsulated this tournament beautifully – 17 seconds on the clock and the Bonnies had the ball, down 66-63.

So they went for 2.

With their disbelieving fans screaming from the sidelines St. Bonaventure went for a 2 point play. And when it didn’t come off they tried again. And again.

At the buzzer they hadn’t even got that pesky 2 and so they went down by 3.

In the madness that is… well, March Madness, a team that was down by 3 went for a 2 point play in the clutch. Call it a lack of situational awareness, call it succumbing to pressure, no wait… Just call it madness.

From the insanity of the NCAA tournament to the out-and-out loopiness of the media coverage of the Red Sox. The Boston Globe has gone with – ‘The big unknown: Are Red Sox champs or chumps?’

I haven’t read the article. I’m not going to. Anyone watch half of pre-season last year and work out that the Sox were going to implode in September and that the Cards were going to take home the chocolates? Anyone?

Can’t we just enjoy the baseball? Watch as the season unfolds and find something to behold as the twists, turns and even the subtle variations take effect?

And is it not possible to be neither a champ or a chump? In fact, with the expanded post-season slots the middle ground is even more obtainable – The Sox can miss topping the AL East yet still make the playoffs and then exit at the 1st hurdle. That scenario would be a step up from 2011 so they’d hardly be chumps but nor would they be the champs of anything.

Personally I’d take that and so would my blood pressure.

For the record, the big unknown for me is whether the Large Hadron Collider has detected the Higgs Boson. While I await that answer I’m looking forward to the start of the North American summer and talk about actual baseball that has been played. I’m done with hypotheticals, which might make the next part of my post seem a little contradictory…

My 3rd headline isn’t really a headline. It’s more of a feature from the Washington Post, simply called – ‘Soccer Insider’s answers to your questions’

There are 2 questions of note. The 1st asks:

‘What’s the conventional wisdom about how the EPL bottom feeders (Wolverhampton, QPR) would perform in MLS? Or maybe better would be how well would the Galaxy perform in EPL (beyond the big 4 or 5)?’

At 1st glance this seems like a hypothetical in the same vein as who’s gonna win out of the Millennium Falcon and the Starship Enterprise. But a 2nd read reveals a couple of interesting angles to this – Mostly via comparing and contrasting how the 2 leagues have been set up and are run. The EPL is storied and is amongst the best 3 or 4 in the world in terms of entertainment per individual match. It is fierce and physical, much more so than continental football. US soccer is in it’s relative infancy – Player movement outside of it’s bounds is controlled and there is an emphasis on a level playing field across franchisees.

Would the Galaxy compete in the EPL? Probably not. Is MLS an entertaining league in terms of who can and can’t win it? Yes, much more so than the EPL. I think that equality has come at a discount in the overall skill quotient though.

The 2nd question reads:

‘Do you think Springsteen has taken it a step too far on his latest album?’

No. I don’t.

From 1 Boss with queries about longevity to another and BBC Online has gone with – ‘Schumacher tops second practice’

It’s the season-opening Australia Formula 1 GP this weekend and there are plenty of drivers out to make a mark early on, including 7-times World Champ Michael Schumacher. The German ace came out of retirement for 2010 at the tender age of 41 and for most of the time looked like the racing had moved on without him and his Mercedes-powered Zimmer frame.

It was always going to be difficult for him but with more time and a better feel we might hopefully see some glimpses of the racer that was this time around, even if he is now 43. GP practice sessions are about as reliable for predicting seasons as are Spring Training games in the MLB but it’s nice to see the Teutonic Time Lord turning back the clock, even if just for a bit.

And as I write this Schumi has just qualified for tomorrow’s race in a commendable 4th place, albeit via a car that may have some dubious bits of hardware on it.

We now hop from 1 German veteran to another via The Guardian Online’s – ‘Dietmar Hamann: I don’t find jokes funny’

This, on the face of it, has the potential to be a deeply philosophical article. In reality it’s not. Former Liverpool great and German midfielder, Didi Hamann does not find humorous texts or emails funny. If you’re sending him some then maybe call it quits as he’s obviously just a tough 1-man crowd.

He also reveals that he smoked 10 cigarettes a day during the latter stages of his career – That’s not funny either.

The only form of smoke condoned in this post will be that off of Schumi’s tyres, the burning of bracket sheets or wisps emanating from the bat of India’s little cricketing master Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. The latter features in the final headline, this time from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Grandstand Sport – ‘Bangladesh spoils Tendulkar’s 100th ton party’

It’s pretty simple this 1 – Sachin has become the 1st player in the history of the game to notch 100 centuries across both Tests (51) and One Day Internationals (ODIs – 49). He had been stranded on 99 since March of 2011 and the barrier seemed to be getting to be more psychological than 1 based around talent and form. In the end though he crashed through it against Bangladesh in a ODI Asia Cup match in Dhaka. It was hard work – The last 20 runs took 15 overs, but in the end the man known as the Little Master made 114 of India’s 5 for 289.

If you hadn’t read the headline above you could have been forgiven for thinking that a century against lowly Bangladesh isn’t quite the same as, say 1 against Australia. The Tigers gave the lie to that here though by mowing down the Indian total with 4 balls and 5 wickets to spare. None of their players made a century, the highest being a 70 from Tamim Iqbal. Instead they relied on a bunch of scores around the 50-mark. In the wash-up it’s distinctly possible that Tendulkar’s slow, nervy pursuit of the ton of tons cost his side a more competitive score and ultimately the match.

That completes my brief wrap of the global sports scene. I’d like to leave it with clarification on a point I made earlier – I don’t care who would win – The Millennium Falcon is by far the cooler of the 2 ships. It’s built for smuggling and it did the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs.

And as the Noah wakes up, that’s surely fast enough for this Old Man.

I Been Young, I Been Old

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