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Soup of This Day #295: It Requires A Dedication

February 26, 2013

Adriaen Pietersz' Der Winter
An early attempt at combining skating with yachting failed when Pietersz insisted on pumping out the bilge mid-race – Image: Adriaen Pietersz, 1614. Adriaen Pietersz is not affiliated with Longworth72. Image cropped by Longworth72.

The other day I told my wife that I thought our neighbour was weird.

I’d arrived at this conclusion because the night before I’d been out to hang the washing up at around 11:30pm and next door was seemingly watering his garden. This seemed a little off kilter to me, mostly because he was doing it in the dark and could surely barely see what he was actually applying water to.

Admittedly this is not make-Kelly-LeBrock-out-of-a-Memotech-MTX512-computer-and-a-Barbie-doll strange. There’s not much science to my thinking – Irrigating the geraniums in the dark just struck me as weird.

My wife considered my judgement and then suggested that maybe my neighbour thought I was the weird 1 because I was hanging the washing out just shy of midnight.

Which is a fair enough. Sometimes it’s worth considering another point of view – Maybe watering the vegetation and starlight just go together like cherries and chocolate.

My favourite candy bar has cherries and chocolate. 1 time the makers got inventive and tried a strawberry and chocolate variant. Brilliant, I thought – I like strawberries and I like chocolate – This is as sure a thing as Devon Loch was in the 1956 Grand National.

Most of the 1956 Grand National anyway. All but the last 40 yards to be honest, when, with a 5-length lead Devon Loch thought he saw a jump where there was none and belly-flopped to the ground. Jockey, and later crime author, Dick Francis couldn’t cajole The Queen Mother’s horse back to his feet and Devon Loch was unable to finish.

To which The Queen Mother phlegmatically announced:

‘Oh, that’s racing.’

Meanwhile the strawberry and choc combo couldn’t even get that far – They failed just after the 1st jump. Despite looking good on paper the duo couldn’t get into their stride and fell out bitterly on the way down.

Oh, that’s just experimental limited edition candy bars.

It is possible to combine good things to good effect though, sometimes in just the 1 person, as the sporting world will now demonstrate…

There’s Ellyse Perry for instance – A dual Australian international at football and cricket. She has in fact played in the World Cup of women’s football as well as the World Cup of women’s cricket, winning the latter. And although she has said that she might be forced to choose between the 2 sports at some point, she has this summer past managed to combine playing for the New South Wales (NSW) Breakers women’s cricket side as well as the Sydney FC women’s football side.

Both of those outfits won their respective national championships, although Perry missed the Grand Finals as she was assisting Australia to win the 2013 Women’s Cricket World Cup at the time.

Ellyse is not alone in the Australian dual-sporting personalities stakes – Nova Peris won Olympic gold for Australia in field hockey at the 1996 Atlanta Games. This feat saw her become the 1st Aboriginal Australian woman to win Olympic gold and she probably could have rested easily on those laurels.

Except that 1 of her attributes on the hockey pitch was her speed of foot and Nova decided that she’d have a crack at parleying that into an athletics career as well.

Which turned out ok – She won 2 gold medals at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur and in the 2000 Sydney Olympics ran through to the semi-finals of the women’s 400m. That places her in the top 16 out of 3 billion or so women in the world at the time. Just for good measure Nova was also the Young Australian of the Year in 1997 and later this year will be running for a seat in Parliament.


Jana Pittman gets some of that too – The Aussie hurdler is a 2 x World Champ at the 400m hurdles and has 4 Commonwealth Games golds to her name. Her Olympics campaigns, in Athens and London were less successful – A knee injury cruelled her chances in Greece in 2004 when she was the favourite, while she bounced back from surgery just a week before the 2012 event and finished a creditable 5th. She missed Beijing in 2008 with a toe injury.

Which does make her seem a little injury prone. Fortunately she has now turned her attention to a sport that has plenty of ice handy to ease any swelling – She’s the brakewoman to Astrid Radjenovic in a bobsled. Hopefully sliding towards the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi the pair recently scored an Australian-best of 7th in a World Cup event in Altenburg.

To finish this post up I thought I’d take this whole dual sports thing 1 step further and focus on a guy who is good at 2 sports and so combined them into 1 event.

Successfully. Devon Loch’s attempt to combine horse racing with horse diving was not considered to have gone well and so doesn’t count. He did live for another 8 years though so don’t feel like his failure was tragic.

Meet Guerlain Chicherit. Who is not a horse but does rely a bit on horsepower.

Guerlain is a professional snowboarder, the world champ at freeriding in 1999, 2002, 2006 and 2007. Freeriding is a backcountry event with exponents styling their way down an impromptu course with no set path or rules.

It’s kind of like cross-country rally driving. Which is probably why Guerlain does that too. In the 2006 Dakar Rally he drove to a stage win and finished 9th overall. In 2009 he won the Cross Country Rally World Cup.

And then, just recently, Guerlain Chicherit decided to combine his 2 great loves, as you can now see:

And he took the time to grow an awesome moustache. There are no limits to this man. None.

Radical stuff dude – Unlike watering after dark, which actually makes a lot of sense because Australia, you see, is hot.

Bloody hot.

In summer you can fry an egg on the road it’s that scorching. The water you lay down for your garden won’t survive long in that kind of heat. Before you can say, ‘Hey look, some git is frying eggs on the road,’ all of that valuable H2O will have evaporated and your plants will still be parched.

So the smart play is to water early in the morning or later at night where the moisture will be retained.

The washing on the other hand doesn’t need to retain moisture. That’s pretty much why you’d hang it out if I’m honest – So that it dries out. Which I guess means that pegging it out under the dim glow of far-off stars is a little out of synch. Less bewitching hour and more bewildering hour methinks.

Yep, I’m the weird 1.

It Requires A Dedication

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