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Soup of This Day #264: ‘Bout A Ghost From A Wishing Well

November 11, 2012

Scottish wildcat
This is a wildcat. It is not a squid – Photo: Peter G Trimming, 2011. Peter G Trimming is not affiliated with Longworth72. Image cropped by Longworth72.

Yesterday morning I took The Noah off to our local aquatic centre for a swimming lesson. It was a reasonably nice morning weather-wise and so there was a fairly large turn-out. Given that the pools are indoor and heated this is a little confusing but there you go – Apparently folks are not happy to swim indoors if the weather outside isn’t at least balmy.

Which doesn’t inspire confidence in Greenland’s Olympic swimming program.

Regardless, there were a lot of people chancing the waters at our aquatic centre and so the carparks were close to full as we lobbed up. Fortunately though I quickly locked on to a free slot and arrowed defensively in on it, announcing as I drove;

‘There’s 1 with our name on it.’

Having successfully blanked any opposition by occupying the middle of the access road, I then nosed the car in handily and opened my door, ready to disembark the good ship SS Longworth72isaparkingguru. It was then that I noticed The Noah looking around with a confused and concerned expression on his face. He was muttering as well, just the 1 word as it happens:


He was looking for our name on the parking slot.

Probably he expected to see ‘Noah and Dad’ written somewhere obvious. Never mind the slightly disturbing thought that somebody would have to know we were going to show up in order to reserve a bay particularly for us – Which strikes me as stalking – All that The Noah was thinking was that Dad said our name was on that space and therefore that must be literally so.

Kids take a very strict interpretation of what you tell them.

From there I started to wonder if you could apply such thinking to the sporting world, and in particular to American football.

The former comes to mind because I was last night casting a weather eye over the NFL’s form guides. Being a newly-minted Ravens guy I mostly focused on them, but within a short space of time I found my attention drawn to an outfit that you just can’t ignore.

The New York Jets.

The Jets are like a train-wreck – You know it’s gonna get ugly but you feel compelled to watch anyway. This is because of 4 key factors: a. Their head coach is Rex Ryan; b. Their back-up quarterback is Tim Tebow, he of Tebowmania fame; c. Their front-line quarterback is Mark Sanchez, who is solid but unlikely to ever trigger Sanchezmania; and d. Their head coach is Rex Ryan.

I know that points a. and d. are 1 and the same but it’s impossible to understate how bat@#$% crazy Rex is or how much that bat@#$% craziness sticks your eyes to the TV screen. He opens his mouth and it’s like superglue for your attention. Partly because you get to enjoy the ride, feeling all warm and cosy because he’s not coaching your team, but also because you just know that eventually he’s going to get water on himself, at which point he’ll mutate into a bunch of devilishly destructive little creatures.

Yep. Rex is a gremlin.

You can then couple that with the whole ‘which quarterback’ question and it gets downright hilarious. Sanchez and Tebow you see, are chalk and cheese.

Not literally, although those are not bad allusions. Mark Sanchez is, like chalk, effective without being spectacular. He’ll draw a picture that’ll keep folks happy, but you probably won’t be using him for a masterpiece.

Tim Tebow meanwhile has a fair bit of cheese in him. Monterey Jack me thinks – A little colourful but unlikely to make it on to your top-flight cheese platter. Also, cheese isn’t great for throwing. It’s ok on the ground though, particularly if you’re talking a nice wheel of Double Gloucester, as this video will attest:

This is from the 2009 Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling and Wake. My personal highlight is at 52s when a helpful spectator can be heard yelling, ‘Get the cheese!’. Because those poor bastards, cart-wheeling down the slope with the kind of deft footwork that makes the cheese look like Rudolf Nureyev, needed to have the premise explained to them mid-race.

Chalk and cheese are both quite handy, but in different ways. And so it is with Mark and Tim.

Mark Sanchez has a good arm. Tim Tebow has a good scramble. Put them together in some sort of unholy genetic mating thing and you’d have a more than decent quarterback who will win much more than he’ll lose. Apart though and you need to play to their strengths. For Tebow this might mean a wildcat offence.

A wildcat offence is a trick shot, a radical attempt to bypass the conventional wisdom of the game. It fits Tim perfectly because he isn’t going to be a conventional quarterback any time soon, as that would require him to throw nice consistently. His mechanics just seem a little off for that, although he’s still able to throw a decent pass from time to time. He does though have an additional spanner in his toolbox – He can run like he stole it and does not want to give it back.

And that duality is critical in a wildcat play, which is characterised by a direct snap to a running back and an unbalanced offensive line. Tim Tebow can be a running back and he can give you a pass option too.

The Jets need scoring options right now. They’ve notched up just 19 touch downs and 168 points. Only the 1 and 8 Jacksonville and the 1 and 7 Kansas City have less points in the AFC. The sparsity of points is no fluke either – The Jets are ranked 27th (of 32) in the NFL for total yards and 26th for passing yards. They are better on rushing – Ranking 14th on yards off of their ground game.

The wildcat then is surely a viable option and I have a way to mix it up further.

Use an actual wildcat.

Sure, he can’t slot in at running back – He’s gonna struggle with the snap and you can forget him tucking the pigskin under a paw and gaining some yards. What he will give you though is some unpredictability in the line – Will he come out aggressive? Or is it time for a nap? That’s a deceptive package that will keep opposing lines off-balance:

‘Hey look at the cute kitty… When I’ve sacked Tebow I’m gonna come back and give him a scratch behind his ears… Hey wait… What’s he doing? I’m not a tree! Get off me… Oh my eyes… MY EYES!’

Too literal?

The Jets might need a ferocious feline this weekend – Rex Ryan’s team are at Seattle. The Seahawks are 4 and 0 at home and have 1 of the more miserly defences out there. They will be difficult opponents, particularly if they deploy actual sea hawks. It’s unclear if a sea hawk (known down here as an osprey) will be able to take down a wildcat – I’d suspect not.

I’m also guessing that Seattle aren’t as crazy as Rex Ryan. Although, in his defence, going mental is probably a good ploy right now – His Jets are in serious peril of missing the play-offs for the 2nd straight season. It’s no wonder that a recent survey of players had Ryan being seen as the most overrated head coach in the NFL.

Meanwhile the team that Rex served for 9 years, the Baltimore Ravens are at home to Oakland. The Ravens are 6 and 2, while the Raiders are 3 and 5. Baltimore has to win these kinds of games if they’re to be taken seriously.

Back to the wildcat theme and also this weekend the Perth Wildcats played some old foes, the Adelaide 36ers in Australia’s National Basketball League (NBL). The Cats were looking to back up from a 32 point shellacking at the hands of Woolongong last weekend but it was not to be. Playing their 5th road game in a row the Perth outfit led going into the last quarter but got over-run down the stretch and lost 65-77 at the final hooter.

It’s not clear if the Perth Wildcats deployed an ironic wildcat formation but if they did it might explain the loss. It would be hard to imagine that an unbalanced offence and a consistent policy of passing to a guy who isn’t strong on throwing is going to be good for a hoops team.

I’ll finish this off with The Noah – His Nanna provides a home for a cat named Squid. This domestic mog is not a wildcat, although there’s probably a fair bit of an ancestral link. You wouldn’t think of it to look at her though – Her coat is an inky black (Hence the name) and she has a bizarre fondness for 1 of my work shoes – The left 1, and only that 1. She doesn’t quite have the same love for The Noah, but she does tolerate him. He in turn quite likes her.

So imagine his shock 1 day when we suggested that he might like to try squid rings for dinner.


‘Bout A Ghost From A Wishing Well

  1. The Jets are basically the AFC equivalent of the Eagles. Kind of karma both teams sport green as their color of choice. They have wasted much “green” on the players they both hired for their respective 2012 seasons. That cheese competition freaks me out each time I see it on “sporting highlights.” I prefer eating cheese to wrestling with it myself, but that’s just me…

    • Interesting that you should make the connection – Both outfits are at 3 and 6 and their raw stats are pretty close. Haven’t to be honest seen much of the Eagles this season but am now inspired to check in with them, if only in sympathy.

      Cheese I think should definitely be eaten as opposed to chased down a hill – If the latter you’re doing it oh so wrong.

      As always, many thanks for reading and commenting.

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