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Soup of This Day #155: Oh It Seemed Forever Stopped Today

March 21, 2012

Graham Hill in a Lotus 49 at the Nürburgring
Graham Hill, a Lotus 49 and 1 impressive moustache at the Nürburgring in 1969 – Photo: Lothar Spurzem, 1969. Lothar Spurzem has no affiliation with Longworth72. Image cropped by Longworth72.

This blog is a constant search for truth, seeking the answers to life’s questions via a study of sport and its application as a metaphor for the greater panoply of experiences.

For this post I thought I’d ditch all that and just try asking questions directly. If you’re reading this and you’re in an amiable mood then feel free to leave a comment/answer below. If you’re related to me then a text message is ok too or even a simple comment when you see me at breakfast:

‘Babe, can you hang out the washing and by the way, the Manning to Denver move is a good 1.’

Because that’s the basis of my 1st question.

I’m not really across the NFL. I didn’t see a lot of games last season. The Peyton Manning move to the Broncos though is big sporting news and so I have a question in 2 parts. The 1st bit is around Denver’s former gun arm – Is it a good move to replace Tim Tebow?

I can sort of see where it might be a step up. Tebow was good in the clutch last season as the Broncs won a host of tight games with miracle plays. The problem with that though is you have to wonder if a better quarterback might not have meant that they wouldn’t have been in so many tight situations to begin with. I’m thinking a quarterback who can maybe make a few more pass completions in a reliable fashion.

Which leads into part deux of my query – Is Peyton Manning that guy anymore?

Even with my limited knowledge I know that Peyton has been that guy for the Colts but does he have enough left to get it done for Denver? He seems a little broken and I’m wondering why the Colts let him go if there was a chance of extracting some more magic.

Now that we’ve warmed up with that let’s take a look at Pádel, a sport that is a cross between squash and tennis. That admittedly poses a question right there – Are there lots of people desperate for a game of racquet sports but who can’t decide between tennis and squash?

That’s not what I’m asking today though – Before I do serve up my query here’s a short video to watch:

I forgot to mention that you need to pay attention around the 1:40 mark so if you couldn’t be bothered hanging in until then go back and have another look. Go on, we’ll wait for you.

It’s an intriguing sport, that Pádel. The part that got me was the doors. Or the lack thereof.

The court features open doorways that are part of the game-play, as can be seen in the video. This seems a little ad hoc to me, the kind of thing you’d work into a game of office tennis that you improvised around the water cooler. You know, the 1 where you get a let for knocking the ball off Bob’s chair and out into the hall. It also seems unnecessarily cruel – You’ve defined the bounds of play but then provided a doorway to injury.

So my question is for Pádel players/officials and it’s a simple 1 – Have you guys tried it with the doors closed?

Speaking of doors being opened and closed, here’s my next puzzler – Is Daniel Bard worthy of a starter’s slot for the Red Sox?

He thinks he is. Which is good because you want a certain amount of confidence in yourself. This morning Daniel started in the Grapefruit League stoush with the Blue Jays. He threw 83 pitches across 5 innings with 49 being strikes. He gave up 3 hits and 3 runs as the Sox went down 9-2. It was better than his last outing when he coughed up 6 hits and 7 runs across 2.2 innings. Said Bard after today’s game:

‘Getting through 5 innings and 80 pitches that gives me a lot of confidence and my arm and body can handle this. I think it tells our coaching staff it’s one less thing they have to worry about.’

Which is nice. Now maybe we can look at the 7.11 ERA. I know it’s just Spring Training and all but I think sub-5 ERAs are something to drive for.

Driving is the theme of the 4th question. Read this article around former Formula 1 driver Graham Hill. Then check out his contemporaries:

Jim Clark was considered by some to be the greatest of all F1 drivers. He notched up F1 World Drivers’ Championships in 1963 and 1965. In the latter year he also took out the Indianapolis 500. In 1968, having won the 1st GP of the season, his 25th overall, Clark was killed in a Formula 2 race at Hockenheim in Germany. Nobody believes it was a lack of skill – It’s thought a rear tyre had deflated and he subsequently veered off into the trees by the side of the track.

Sir Jackie Stewart, The Flying Scotsman, won 3 F1 World Drivers’ Championships, in 1969, 1971 and 1973. In an era when death struck a number of his colleagues Stewart became an outspoken advocate of safety, saying once,

‘I would have been a much more popular World Champion if I had always said what people wanted to hear. I might have been dead, but definitely more popular.’

Maybe that would have made him more popular but could it have made him any cooler? No.

Dan Gurney is an American racing legend. Across the 60s he won races in F1, NASCAR and Indy Car. For good measure he also knocked off the 1967 Le Mans 24hr. He was apparently the only driver that the great Jim Clark feared on the track.

John Surtees won the F1 World Drivers’ Championship in 1964. He also won world titles in 1956, 1958, 1959 and 1960, albeit with those 4 arriving on half the number of wheels – Surtees is the only man to have won both an F1 World Drivers’ Championship and a 500cc Motorcycle World Championship.

Jochen Rindt won the F1 World Drivers’ Championship in 1970 – Unfortunately he wasn’t around to accept the plaudits as he was killed during practice for the 1970 Italian GP, the 4th last race of the year. A factor was that he had agreed to run without wings in order to boost the top speed of his Lotus 72.

That does sound a little foolish in retrospect.

Rindt had amassed enough points by that stage of the season though that he still won the title, making him the only man to win the F1 World Drivers’ Championship posthumously.

Sir Jack Brabham is a former Royal Australian Air Force mechanic who got into car racing. He won the F1 World Drivers’ Championship in 1959 and 1960 driving a Cooper. In 1966 he won again, this time in a Brabham.

Yep, he won by driving a car he designed and built.

You won’t see Michael Schumacher doing that as Brabham is the only 1 to have achieved the feat.

Now watch the following film, although if you have young kids please bear in mind that there is a, I think hilarious, reference to masturbation:

For the record Graham’s son Damon did end up in F1 as a driver – He won the 1996 F1 World Drivers’ Championship, in the process making the Hills the only father/son F1 World Drivers’ Champs. Damon’s son Joshua is currently racing in the British Formula Renault Championship.

Goodo. Now for the question – Is this the coolest era in motorsport that could ever be?

Personally, I think the answer is yes bar the obvious caveat that it would have been better if some of them had not died. I would like to grow up to be 1 of those guys that survived.

As such I’m going to spend the next month cultivating Graham Hill’s moustache so all I will need is to befriend someone who can tee me up with a 1969 Lotus 49. Hill did die relatively young but it was via a plane crash into a foggy golf course so as long as I never pilot my own plane anywhere near 1 of those I should be ok.

Oh It Seemed Forever Stopped Today

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