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Soup of This Day #164: Sinking Faster Than A Boat Without A Hull

April 11, 2012

Titanic iceberg
The iceberg what done it – Allegedly. It was accused because it was lurking in the area and had a smear of red paint down it’s side – Photo: Unknown, 1912. Image cropped by Longworth72.

4 days from now, Sunday, April 15th, 2012 and it will be the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic. The actual disagreement with an iceberg had occurred in the last 20 or so minutes of April 14, 1912. It then took a further 2 and a half hours for the luxury liner to go under, during which time 710 passengers and crew made good their escape. Sadly 1514 souls were not so fortunate and along with their celebrated ship they passed into history.

It’s a history that keeps getting revisited – The 1st feature film about the sinking was released just 29 days after the event. It starred silent film actress Dorothy Gibson who was 1 of the Titanic survivors in real life. Conveniently she wore the same clothes in character as she had done that April night and if she can be accused of taking method acting to a whole new level at least her performance was authentic.

Other films followed – In 1997 James Cameron had a go at it with his imaginatively-titled Titanic. It starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslett and featured Celine Dion singing ‘My Heart Will Go On’ on the soundtrack. The plot of the film differed from actual events in that Leo and Kate played holiday-makers who were forced by circumstances into duelling on the high seas with a disgruntled former employee of the cruise company, played by Willem Dafoe. The angry ex-engineer had got copper poisoning during the ship’s construction and as revenge tried to steer the boat into a passing oil tanker/iceberg.

I may have mixed up some of those details there, having not seen the film.

I’m referencing Titanic here because it relates to a question that is the theme of this post – When is a good time to panic?

Obviously in the case of Titanic hindsight would lead you to think that panicking right before the doomed ship left port would have been a good idea. I’m asking the question though with regard to being a sports fan. Specifically a fan of the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool FC.

I’m also a fan of the Fremantle Dockers but have excluded them from this on the basis that the answer to when to panic for Dockers fans is pretty much well before you asked the question. Around the start of pre-season is a fairly accurate time to get your blood pressure up if you’re a Freo backer. Sometimes it’s convenient if you just keep the panic rolling into the next year.

The Red Sox are at the start of their 2012 campaign. In fact they have played just 5 of 162 regular season games. Because of this I’m seeing a fair bit of mocking of fans who are questioning where the team is headed. On the surface this ridicule is fair enough – We’ve had exactly 1 start from each of the chosen 5.

There were decent efforts from Jon Lester and Felix Doubront and a passable attempt from Daniel Bard. Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz though were awful. Only Doubront has started a winning record. To be fair, only Doubront has got the pen behind him – Buccholz had the pen so not behind him that they somehow blew 2 save situations in 1 night on the way to a gut-wrenching 13-12 extra innings kick to the stomach. In the bullpen’s defence Clay did give up 7 runs in 4 innings so they were entitled to feel like he maybe had it coming on the back swing.

And this is the nub of the issue for Sox followers – Across the board the pitching is suspect.

It was suspect last year too. But for 3 months the good ship Red Sox cruised along at full speed, powered by a run machine that quelled all doubts. Surely that boat was not going to sink.

But then came September and the iceberg of poor starts scraped down the side, flooding the previously water-tight compartments that were Beckett, Lester and Buchholz. By the end of that month the ship had gone under, taking Tito with it and forcing the Captain to retire a broken man. It was not a nice time to be a Red Sox fan.

For this Sox fan that feeling is back again. Deja vu. So when do we panic this time?

For Liverpool fans the answer to that question is simple – We should have panicked some time around January 14th. Back then the Reds were at least contenders for a top 4 finish and a Champions League slot for next term. They were in 6th, just 13 points adrift of leaders Man City and crucially, only 5 points behind 4th-placed Chelsea.

That was then though and in the 9 Premier League matches since the Anfield giants have won just 3 of 13. It’s a miracle they won those 3 as well – 1 was against Wolves, the bottom club and prime favourite to be relegated. Another was against an Everton side denuded of 1st-teamers who had been rested for an FA Cup tie. The 3rd was last night versus 3rd from bottom Blackburn. That latter game was no easy 1 to win – Not for a Liverpool side with a porous defence and an attack that can’t seem to work out where the goals are.

Sidebar: Apparently German side FC Magdeburg had the same problem so their fans devised a helpful strategy to generate goals. Their efforts, as their team played Berliner AK 07 in a German 4th-tier match, can be seen in the following video:

I’m particularly impressed that they kept at it for a fair old chunk of the game.

FC Magdeburg lost 1-2 by the way.

Liverpool FC fans haven’t gone that far. For their game at Blackburn they wouldn’t have known what to point at anyway because scoring goals wasn’t too big an issue. In fact they had 2, both to Maxi, inside of 16 minutes. Unfortunately Liverpool’s reserve keeper Doni, who was deputising for Pepe Reina who had been suspended after being sent off last week, was sent off this week. In the process he conceded a penalty, leaving it to Liverpool’s reserve reserve keeper, Brad Jones, to face in just the 26th minute.

Jones, a Western Australian lad, had previously had just 2 outings for the season with Liverpool’s reserve team. He’d had a fair amount of time out of the game dealing with his son Luca’s losing battle with Leukaemia. On Wednesday last week his partner gave birth to his 2nd son Nico. And last night he put on some gloves and faced up to a penalty kick from Blackburn’s Yakubu.

Which he saved.

Sadly he counter-balanced this good act with something which wasn’t great football – He took out an attacker, conceding another penalty and risked being sent off, which would have reduced Liverpool to using an outfield player as a stopper. Fortunately he was given just a yellow card and although the penalty was scored and Blackburn drew level Liverpool stole the 3 points at the close with a goal from £35m flop Andy Carroll.

And they needed the 3 points like Carroll needed a goal. Liverpool are now in 8th, a mammoth 33 points behind leaders Man United and an almost insurmountable 13 points adrift of 4th placed Spurs.

But that’s ok because Liverpool have seemingly subtly implied that the Premier League isn’t as important as Cup football:

‘The truth is the league isn’t as important as the Cup now.’ – Jose Enrique, Liverpool defender Liverpool player Some guy in a Liverpool shirt.

Ok, so not really so subtle.

And not really a surprise either. Liverpool won the League Cup in February. It was their 1st bit of silverware for 6 years. This Saturday they play neighbours Everton for a place in the FA Cup Final – This is the ‘Cup’ alluded to by Enrique and it is now everything for a outfit that can barely disguise the ordinariness of their 2011/2012 season.

Win Saturday and they have a shot at another piece of silverware. Lose and Kenny Dalglish’s 2nd coming as Liverpool’s Manager will surely be almost done. Panic should be driving these Reds on now.

Back to the Titanic and the famed ship has a connection to Liverpool. In fact it was home-ported there, registered as being out of the Merseyside port. Sadly though it never made it ‘home’, not even once. It’s maiden voyage was from Southampton with just 2 stop-overs, Cherbourg in France and Queenstown in Ireland. From the latter the liner steamed straight into a devastating loss.

Here’s hoping that by Sunday Liverpool FC don’t follow the theme of that template.

Sinking Faster Than A Boat Without A Hull

  1. Just an FYI…the highlight of the Phillies season to-date was our rookie second baseman ending an 0-for-12 start with a two-run hit in a losing effort. We have three starting aces for sure…but the middle relief is shaky and there is no offense whatsoever. No timetable for Utley or Howard to return. People are starting to believe in my fears…

    • Yeah, that lack of offence grabs the attention. I reckon maybe not time to panic yet but a realistic downgrade of expectations might be required from some Phillies fans – I think you might have the right level of concern.

      You don’t have Bobby V though. Sigh…

      • Sigh indeed. Unfortunately, I was right about him also. I swear I thought it was a sick joke someone was playing when they said he was a candidate for the Red Sox job. Now who’s the joke on…?

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