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Soup of This Day #156: When There’s Something Strange In Your Neighbourhood

March 22, 2012

55 Central Park West
55 Central Park West, AKA Spook Central. It’s a nice building. The corner penthouses are spacious and if you want a portal to another dimension then the roof is certainly the place to hang out – Photo: David Shankbone, 2007. David Shankbone is not affiliated with Longworth72. Image cropped by Longworth72.

In 1984 Mum and Dad took us to the cinema. This was a big deal – It didn’t happen very often and it required a trip from the sleepy farming community of Beverley to the thriving metropolis of Perth. This was only about 130km in terms of distance but I knew of schoolmates who had never made it to the Perth CBD – The gulf between country and city can sometimes be more than just a metric thing.

It was also rare because my parents were pretty conservative around what we could see. Mostly that was Mum’s call – But either way almost always there’d be nothing much beyond a G-rating that would get past the keepers.

Take this trip for instance. We were pencilled in to see The Last Unicorn. In a not entirely unrelated matter we were also pencilled in to be beaten up in school the next day.

Fortunately though, when we got to the cinema it turned out that there were no available sessions of The Last Unicorn. This is proof that a. There is a God and He/She listens to prayers from 9 and 10 year old kids and b. That maybe my parents couldn’t plan a trip to the cinema.

At this point my brother and I would happily have just skipped the whole thing. But no, they’d brought us to the movies and we were going to see 1. And then their eyes settled on a poster that was just being put up. There was this new movie just out and the 1st screenings were happening. It looked kinda fun and after some ummming and ahhhing and some questions for the ticketing folk the parental censorship committee gave a thumbs up to their boys watching Ghostbusters.


I ain’t afraid of no ghosts.

We were not beaten up at school the next day. You don’t beat up kings. Not kings who are the 1st to see Ghostbusters. Who can recite lines from the film such as:

‘Yes it’s true. This man has no dick.’

I loved saying that. Still do. And I got away with it a lot because everyone knew my Mum and they figured that if she thought it was ok then it must have been alright. In hindsight my mum had a fair bit of Marge Simpson about her.

I’m telling this story because it relates to the theme of today’s post – Strange, ghostly happenings in the world of sport. I have examples:

1st yellow cab off the rank is the strange spectral sighting of Tim Tebow in New York. Displaced from Denver by Peyton Manning Tim looked for a bit like he’d plumped for the Jets as his new team. This was passing strange in itself as the Jets had only just extended Mark Sanchez in a move taken as a sign that they had confidence in him as their guy going forward.

Not so much.

To be fair, Sanchez was a pass mark at best. Tebow is too in terms of playing ability but he brings a whole lot more to the table. Tim Tebow gets people watching and talking, he coalesces support. If Gozer the Gozerian asks him if he is a god, Tim can at least say that he is on very good terms with 1.

So out with Sanchez and in with Tebow. That is until there’s a last minute hitch with the contract and suddenly Tebow the friendly ghost was forced to drift off, back into the ether known as NFL purgatory. This was not good for Tim or New York and I can’t imagine that Mark Sanchez was feeling the love either. The next conversation between Rex and Mark would surely be about as awkward as it can get.

But then the ethereal Tebow took substantial form once more and the Jets had a new quarterback. There are risks – Having Tebow-mania just down the road from Linsanity might be like crossing the streams. Linbow-mansanity will surely damage New York and everyone will be left covered in Mr Stay Puft marshmallow.

This ghostly stuff isn’t limited to New York either. Down in Florida there have been a number of sightings of Daniel Bard, Red Sox starting pitcher. The apparition looks a lot like Daniel Bard, Red Sox reliever, so much so that you need to delve into the stats to tell the difference.

It does seem that Bobby V has done that and the rumours now circulating have Bard back in the pen and Aceves and Doubront now primed for the remaining starter’s roles. Over at Fire Brand of the America League Charlie Saponara has gone all Bill James and done far more analysis than I ever could around this issue – It’s a good read and the resultant call is that Bard will be good as a starter, or at least better than Aceves and Doubront.

I on the other hand feel some sympathy for that old guy in Moneyball who weights the beauty of a player’s partner and therefore I have decided to go with instinct: None of the 3 is convincing enough as a starter that their loss from the pen seems like a good deal.

To be clear, I haven’t seen any of the partners of the 3 players in question. The beauty of the partner thing was just an example of the kind of instinct I was going with.

Why did we not trade for a starter? Would that have cracked open a gateway to another dimension?

There are several dimensions in play in English football right now. Back in September of last year Carlos Tévez more or less refused to leave the bench when his team required his presence on the pitch in a Champions League match against Bayern Munich. Man City ended the match having been comprehensively outplayed and Tévez was the subject of a fair bit of criticism. In his defence, the Citizens were getting pantsed long before he was asked to step up and his addition would have been unlikely to have provoked a change in that. Against him is the fact that he’s clearly an overpaid whiny git. Manager Roberto Mancini weighed all of this up and subtly implied that Tévez might not have a future with City.

Actually he exploded and announced, ‘If I have my way he will be out. He’s finished with me. If we want to improve as a team Carlos can’t play with us. With me, he is finished.’

So not so subtle really. Pretty definitive actually.

Which means that it can’t have been Carlos Tévez setting up the winning goal in the 85th minute as Manchester City defeated Chelsea 2-1 last night in their crucial Premier League tie. Looked like him but can’t have been him. Some sort of ghostly presence then maybe.

If it was a spiritual assistant could he have not turned up for Liverpool in their match away at QPR? Not so much with the setting up of goals but perhaps with the defence. The Reds led by 2 goals to 0 with just 13 minutes to play when they inexplicably let in 3 goals, the last in the 1st minute of injury time. Now, after the 3-2 loss to relegation candidates, the only thing spectral is Liverpool’s chance of being anything other than a mid-table side treading water.

Which would fit because the Reds Manager Kenny Dalglish looked after the game like he’d been seeing dead people and was a little shook up by it all. There will surely be questions asked of Kenny and the revolution that he is supposedly leading. Perhaps there’ll be human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!

At least he won’t be questioned about his motives. He clearly loves the club and most fans want to think the best of him. That’s human nature – Looking for the good, believing that it’s there. Take that long-ago trip to the movies – A small part of me believes that maybe, just maybe, Mum and Dad never intended for us to see The Last Unicorn, that the plan was always to see Ghostbusters. That this time they chose to do something to help their kids be cool.

Yes it’s true. This man has no dick.

Well, that’s what I heard!

Thanks Mum and Dad.

When There’s Something Strange In Your Neighbourhood

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