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Soup of This Day #158: No Trophy, No Flowers, No Flash Bulbs, No Wine

March 31, 2012

A sunset over Leek, England. Our sun is an unremarkable G-type main-sequence star that is saved from mediocrity in human eyes by it’s proximity to us – It brightly illuminates our world and provides us with the energy to grow leeks in Leek – Photo: Saperaud, 2005. Saperaud is not affiliated with Longworth72. Image cropped by Longworth72.

Back around 2001 I made the commitment to wear sunglasses. I’d worn them previously solely for my work as a fruit picker, getting by on those occasions with $5 petrol station specials. This time though I was going to buy a pair that could also work as a fashion statement on the streets.

I’ve talked before about fashion and me. We don’t get along. We’re not enemies – It’s just that it’s hard to be friends when you’re never in the same room at the same time. So to that point in time I’d eschewed spending big dollars on sunglasses that I just knew would cause other people to point and stare in a bad way.

In 2001 though I noticed the sun. It was very bright and not just when I was hung-over. Frankly I needed everyday protection from the harsh glare that was hassling my flow and so with the helpful assistance of my future wife I trooped off to an optometrist’s shop in search of cool eye-wear.

The 1st pair the shop guy brought over were apparently designed to make me a better fisherman. This I conceded was unlikely to be successful and I cast them back. I then made a couple of aimless stabs at other pairs, including at least 1 that it turned out was for women. Finally the salesman brought over a pair of Nike’s.

‘They’re Tiger Woods’ sunglasses,’ he confided.


‘Won’t he be pissed off I’ve nicked them then?,’ I asked.


‘They’re not his actual sunglasses,’ was the weary reply.

Which is good because it turned out that Tiger’s Nike’s turned out to be just about right for me and I wasn’t looking to share.

There followed 4 years of happy sunglass wearing. They looked good on me, fit well and best of all I had this little routine I’d play out when people asked about them. ‘They’re Tiger Woods’ sunglasses,’ I’d casually say before pausing for a beat. ‘Not sure that he actually wore this pair though when he won the Masters.’

Sadly for my repartee of sunglasses small-talk there came the day I lost the Tigers somewhere in Carnarvon, most likely in the middle of a banana plantation. Banana plantations are like the Bermuda Triangle of the fruit world.

Subsequently I’ve been through a couple of pairs of Ray-Bans, including my current lot. They’re nice sunglasses – They fit well, they dull the glare to a nice healthy level and nobody points and stares, unless of course I forget to do my pants up properly. The problem is that the models I choose are a little too safe. There’s no unique style and there’s no back-story.

Yep, my current sunglasses are mediocre.

I’m mentioning this because mediocrity is the theme for this post.

A few weeks ago I announced my intention to follow the Golden State Warriors in the NBA, primarily because they did a whole lot of not much and this relative anonymity dovetailed pretty well with my packed sporting roster. Some recent stats back this decision up nicely:

1. Golden State won’t make the playoffs. At the time of writing they are 8 wins adrift of 8th placed Western team Denver with 16 to play. Yeah they could get hot but then they would require 5 of Memphis, Houston, Denver, Utah, Phoenix, Minnesota and Portland to drop to varying degrees of cold. Maybe a couple of teams could fall in a heap but 5 of them?

2. And that above scenario is based on Golden State getting hot. Golden State aren’t hot. They’ve won 2 from their last 10. They’re the Autumn of the NBA – Warm enough to get out of bed but needing to wear a formless, chunky sweater with a picture of a bridge woven in. It’s not a sexy look.

3. The Warriors are almost equidistant from the playoffs (8 wins) and the bottom of the table (7 wins). If you could triangulate mediocrity you’d stick a pin in Golden State.

4. 8 teams have worse records than the Bay Area NBA team. 16 will make the playoffs and the remaining 5 outfits have a shot. The Warriors are truly the best of the also-rans.

5. It’s taken me 4 days to write these 5 points. I keep not caring yet on the flipside I am distracted from stuff I’d like not to be worrying about.

Yep, Golden State are a team who, when it counts, can be counted upon to not count.

From the west coast of the US to the west coast of England and sadly I can’t ignore Liverpool FC any more than I could ignore the stink from a a dead whale that has lobbed up on the beach next to me. The difference between a dead whale and Liverpool though is that the whale can still float at the top for a bit.

This has been brought into sharp focus across the Anfield side’s last 2 matches. The Reds should have been on a high after winning the League Cup. In fact they made noises to suggest that it was the motivation they needed to kick on.

By losing to Arsenal and Sunderland it seems.

But then there was another much-needed fillip – They beat Merseyside rivals Everton 3-0, with all 3 goals from a seemingly in-form Steven Gerrard. Surely they really could kick on now.

Handily, their next EPL match was against QPR. QPR were in the relegation zone. Leading 2-0 with just 13 to play of regulation time and the Reds were on their way.

It turns out though that where they were on the way to was a town called Embarrassment, population Liverpool FC. And they made it there using only the reverse gear of a VW Kombi van.

QPR scored 3 unanswered goals and took the 3 points. Liverpool stayed in 7th.

Roll on Wigan at Anfield then. Wigan, like QPR, were also in the relegation zone at the time of meeting the Reds. They’re still there now, albeit with 3 extra points, courtesy of Liverpool – The team that aims to help anyone avoid relegation.

Yep, the Reds got rolled again, this time losing 1-2 at home. Despite that they’re still in 7th. Damningly though, they’re 13 points adrift of 4th and 28 points from 1st. Given that they are 20 points from the bottom it’s safe to say that they are closer to hell than heaven. What saves the season from being sub-par though is that League Cup triumph and an FA Cup semi-final against Everton in mid-April. Those Cup runs return the 2011/12 effort to mediocre.

I’m hoping for more from the Red Sox and the Dockers in 2012 than that demonstrated by Liverpool FC. The Sox take the 1st pitch of the 2012 season on Friday morning, Western Australian time. At the moment they’re 13 and 11 in the Spring Training Grapefruit League and they’ve neither raised nor lowered expectations with some dour performances – If they’ve shown a slightly better than average offence, then their pitching has given cause for concern. Given that the starter throwing the ball at them on Friday will be Detroit’s Justin Verlander that might be a problem from Day 1.

I don’t think the ‘M’ in Verlander’s 2011 MVP award stands for mediocre.

Fremantle have been as underwhelming as Boston in their 2012 pre-season, winning around half of their outings. Since their 1st regular season stoush is this afternoon against reigning Premiers, Geelong, this might not be an ideal preparation for a fast start to the 2012 Australian Football League (AFL).

I’m leaving off this tale of middle-of-the-lane ambiguity with a final twist in my sunglasses history.

The pair I bought after the Tigers had gone AWOL in the bananas were Ray-Bans. They were simple, with a burnished gun metal grey frame that seemed to bespeak the right level of class. As I was paying for them the shop assistant must have mistakenly sensed some hesitation and so leafing through her information book found 1 last selling point to hit me with:

‘Billy Zane wore these while making The Phantom movie.

Now that’s bloody mediocrity.

No Trophy, No Flowers, No Flash Bulbs, No Wine

  1. “Golden State…can be counted upon to not count.” Cracked me up. I have to admit it. I find myself adopting or rooting for underdog teams all the time (in addition to the local favs). This is not unusual behavior. Not that this would have changed your mind…

    • I’m not sure Golden State classify as a true underdog – Having slumped to 20 and 31 they sure look like they’re tanking the back end of the season. Tactically it might be a good play but it’s not really attractive. Charlotte – Now there’s an underdog.

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