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Soup of This Day #169: 1-2-3-Four Monsters Walking Across The Floor

April 22, 2012

Rainforest Rocket Frog
The 6th letter of the Latin alphabet is acrobatically represented by the energetic Rainforest Rocket FrogImage: Brian Gratwicke, 2010. Brian Gratwicke is not affiliated with Longworth72.

This post is brought to you by the letter ‘F’.

Fittingly I’ve just finished helping the wife assemble flat pack furniture for the home office.

That is not the inspiration for this post though.

‘F’ is for the fantastic Fenway Park, the home fortress of the Boston Red Sox.

Fenway Park was built on land reclaimed by filling in marshy fens (Hence Fenway). The first game was April 20, 1912 and the first pitch was thrown out by then Boston mayor, John F. Fitzgerald, the grandfather of JFK. That game finished in Boston’s favour, a 7-6 win over the New York Highlanders (The future Yankees). This Friday just past, 20th April, 2012 and famous old Fenway celebrated it’s 100th birthday with a festival of Sox folklore. On the field and again it was the Yankees in town but for this 2nd century the lead-up was different even if both outfits wore throwback uniforms – Before that first Fenway game in 1912 the Sox were four and 1. Before the 100th Fenway birthday the Sox were four and 8.

Boston needed to show some fight to get the 2nd 100 years off to a flyer.

If that was the script then the Sox failed to read much of it. Or maybe they just forgot their roles, fluffing their lines for key scenes. For whatever reason they were off the pace from the first innings.

The Sox gave up five long blasts, all of them off of Clay Buchholz, a shadow of his former self. The righty was off his game and all over the middle of the plate so left the mound after 6 innings. The bats couldn’t muster a response – Just 2 runs offered up for the night, 1 in the 2nd and 1 in the fifth.

The result was a four run loss (6-2), the fourth Sox reverse in just five days. Boston then in danger of falling off the early pace in the AL East, precariously slipping to four and 9, fifth and last in the Division after that centennial loss.

In fact, after another Sox collapse in the following night’s game, the Fenway club slipped to four and 10, still fifth and last and now four wins adrift of the fourth placed Rays. That’s now 31 losses in the past forty regular season fixtures, as the fallout from last September feels like it’s lingering like a foul smell. SNAFU for the Red Sox.

‘F’ is for the Freo Dockers, a Western Australian football franchise.

Freo faced up to Saint Kilda in a fourth-round match at Docklands tonight. The Friday night footy game had some extra spice, with something more than four premiership points on offer. Last AFL season the Saints were coached by Ross Lyon. He’d taken them to 2 Grand Finals, falling just short of the big prize in both finales, before heading west to a Fremantle outfit long on future potential.

The Saints faithful weren’t happy about that.

The furore died down a fraction over the off-season but the fallout was back front and centre before this game. Lyon was roundly booed by Saints fans as he lead a team learning his way against an outfit that had subscribed to his brand for four prolific years. Predictably it was no frolic – It was frenetic and tight with neither side able to force a meaningful break across the four quarters. The Saints edged the first by four goals to 3. The 2nd stanza finished with a 3 goal to 2 effort from Freo, leaving them just 6 points off the pace at the halfway point.

In the 2nd half Fremantle fired up, booting five goals to 2 in a fruitful 3rd for a handy fourteen point break going into the fourth quarter. The Saints responded with the first 2 of the final term before Freo found a couple of their own to steady. In the last five minutes St Kilda closed to within 1 accurate boot of the footy. The final minutes therefore were frantic – Freo standing firm in the face of the Sainter’s desperate offence. It took a snapped offload from midfielder Greg Broughton with 1 minute forty on the clock to finish off St Kilda for good.

Final scores from Round Four Friday night footy: St Kilda Football Club 11.13 (78) defeated by the Fremantle Football Club 14.8 (92). Post-match comments from Ross Lyon and the Freo coach frankly lauded his charges for being fiercely competitive, saying he was impressed with the great effort. On the significance of edging his former club he refused to feed the friction further, saying only:

‘I take no joy out of beating St Kilda Football Club other than getting the four points.’

Bet the win felt fantastic though.

Next up for the Fremantle lads is a fifth round Friday night match-up with Carlton. Freo will be boosted by the return from injury of Nat Fyfe. In the meantime, admittedly after just 1 match of the fourth round, Freo sit in fifth on the AFL ladder.

Heave ho Freo.

‘F’ is for F1. Specifically, the fourth race of the year’s F1 calendar, the 2012 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix.

With Friday’s first practice session just five days after the Shanghai GP and with more than a few miles in between there was always going to be a fair bit of fatigue. Bahrain though has a little extra frisson for race-goers, across fans, officials and F1’s 12 racing outfits.

Bahrain is in the grip of a civil disturbance. Sort of an uprising if we’re being free with the terminology.

The Gulf kingdom, ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family, got caught in the Arab Spring that fractured the Middle East for most of last year. As elsewhere in the region, frustrated protesters in the tiny oil-rich archipelago are agitating for greater political freedoms. Unfortunately F1 is seen as not fitting in with that fight – In fact it’s felt that the F1 GP may actually act as some sort of vindication for government oppression.

That might be a fair point.

It might also be making a few F1 folk nervous. The Force India team in particular haven’t enjoyed the furore. Some of their staff were heading off from the track on Thursday when their four wheel drive got caught in a bit of a civil fracas. Specifically someone threw a Molotov cocktail over their vehicle, creating a fireball just off the side of the road. No big deal said local officials. It can happen anywhere.

For sure – I recently had a fire bomb flash past me while I was driving home from my work. Happens all of the freaking time.

‘F’ is for forward. As in basketball and specifically Shawn Redhage.

Big Shawn is a power forward fronting up for his outfit, the Perth Wildcats, currently playing in the Australian NBL finals. The Cats had lost Game 1 of the best of 3 series against the New Zealand Breakers and were facing defeat in Game 2 when fate and Big Shawn got funky. Down 86-85 on their home court the Cats caught a fortunate break when a Breakers player tipped the ball into the wrong basket, scoring 2 for his opponents. There was still time though for the Breakers to take back the lead and former Cat CJ Bruton headed for the hoop – Unfortunately for CJ Big Shawn got in his face and ferociously slapped down the shot. The final buzzer sounded shortly thereafter and the Cats had forced a 3rd game.

And finally, ‘f’ is for foetal monitoring unit.

This Friday night just past my family spent some time getting informally acquainted with 1 of those for the 2nd time in the past few months. For 2 hours, from a little past 11:30pm my beloved wife was hooked up to 1 so that they could make sure our unborn son was doing fine. She’d had cramps for a couple of hours previous and was feeling off-colour. So a little concerned, we fetched The Noah out of bed and I drove the too-familiar path to the hospital carefully fast. No big deal for old hands like us.

Like hell – Fear is a frequent companion for this prospective father since the whole threatened pre-term drama fired up exactly 11 weeks past. This time they hooked up the foetal monitoring unit and thankfully reassured us that the little life within was just fine.

The Noah was fine too – As his father quietly freaked out the lad just at first nestled into my lap and then a mattress that the midwife found for him. Even if he didn’t nod off he still managed to keep his cool. I doff my lucky Red Sox cap to him and my brave wife – My heroes, both of them.

If you’ve been paying attention you’ll have figured out the different groove of this post. It’s not just brought to you by the letter ‘f’ – It has the letter ‘f’ in it a lot. In fact, if you count all of the f’s up you’ll find that, at the finish of this post, there are four hundred and forty four of them. It’s not a bad effort when you figure it as greater than 1 in four words containing an ‘f’. You might think that approach is a little frivolous, feckless even, particularly given the nature of some of the threads in this post. Surely, you’ll say, flooding a post with 1 letter is turning a work about serious stuff into a puff-piece.

Forget you, I say – You see, sometimes all you can do is to focus on the obscure to make sense of it all.

1-2-3-Four Monsters Walking Across The Floor

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