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Soup of This Day #309: Until The Other Kids Knock Him Down

May 13, 2013

Kevin Doyle
Kevin Doyle, walking in a Wolverhampton wonderland. Or, Kevin Doyle bracing against a strong wind in a Cardiff stadium – Photo: Jon Candy, 2012. Jon Candy is not affiliated with Longworth72. Image cropped by Longworth72.

Here at Longworth72.com there is an awareness that the world of sport is as diverse and complex as the world of… ahhh… everything… else.

And we’re hopelessly addicted to diversity in and of sport here. For example, I once created and played an entire league season of football via thumbtacks and click-release pens across 3 whole days.

Biro Liverpool handily beat all-comers, flicking the golden tack in between the pencil sharpener and the stapler regularly enough to secure the title with 3 games to spare. Their pen was mightier than the hoard.

In hindsight I’d have been better off studying for my Year 12 exams, but that’s me – Committed to the search for new and grander sporting thrills.

This is partly why Longworth72 and Brother of Longworth72 recently took a trip to nib Stadium here in Perth, Western Australia, to see a game of football.

This probably doesn’t sound that out of the ordinary in the Longworth72 world and at 1st glance that call is about right – I was in fact at the same ground earlier this year with The Noah to see football’s Perth Glory Women fall just short of W-League Grand Final appearance.

And Longworth72 and Brother of Longworth72 had made a joint trip to nib back in July of 2009 to see a tournament of football games – The men of Perth Glory vs the English Premier League’s Wolverhampton Wanderers, and Fulham FC.

Although the former of those matches was memorable less for the football played and more for a drunk Irish Wolves fan seated behind us.

He sticks in the memory mostly because he wasn’t actually so much a Wolves fan as he was a follower of just 1 of their players, Kevin Doyle. In fact, as Kevin was an unused substitute for the 1st half of the game, his legion of fan was pretty annoyed at everyone else at Wolverhampton, particularly their then-manager, Mick McCarthy.

Mick is also an Irishman, albeit 1 born and raised in Yorkshire. Kevin Doyle is an Irishman born and raised in County Wexford. Which was apparently where his cheerfully drunk fan hailed from as well. There was even a suggestion they’d been to school together, only many years apart. And possibly not the same school.

It was a bit confusing.

But it was entertaining, with anecdotes from Ireland, raucus heckling and the occasional song livening up a pretty ordinary game of football. 1 of the songs was even borrowed from the Glory fans repertoire – A rendition of ‘Winter Wonderland’ that lauded a ‘Glory Wonderland’ instead.

Only, in honour of Kevin Doyle, his former school chum had re-worked the number to include his idol. Which is a bit of a song-writing problem. For the word he was replacing with ‘Kevin Doyle’ is ‘Glory’, which in turn replaces ‘Winter’.

Those latter 2 words have just 2 syllables. ‘Kevin Doyle’ has 4 syllables plus a pause between names.

Kevin’s mate seemed to realise this around the end of ‘Kevin’, about the time that his sense of rhythm was trying to get him to just naturally flow into ‘Wonderlaaand’. Unfortunately he was enthusiastic enough to disregard this and to fight against the current, valiantly searching for a paddle.

Sadly ‘paddle’ has 2 syllables too and when you’ve used 2 with ‘Kevin’ already, those additional syllables are 2 too many.

As are the 1s in ‘Doyle’.

Basically, the drunk Irish songsmith had fallen through the bottom of his canoe, leaving a lyrical Kevin Doyle-shaped hole and no paddle. To his credit though, he immediately surfaced for air and finished off his rendition by replacing ‘land’ with ‘Doyle’. As in:

‘Walking in a Kevin Wonder… Doooooooyle.’

This was imbued with some style but sadly makes no sense. Unless science recreates the plot of Fantastic Voyage, and somebody has cause to take a stroll through Kevin Doyle’s large intestine, so happy in this wondrous environment that they are compelled to frolic and play the Eskimo way.

Walking in a Kevin Wonder… Doooooooyle.

As we headed to this latest football adventure we were wondering whether there would be a metaphorical Wonder… Doooooooyle – We sure felt like we needed 1. Mostly because this was not really football as we know it. It was instead rugby union. We’d been given free tickets to see the hometown Western Force play Super Rugby opponents Canterbury Crusaders.

There are 3 things you should be aware of about rugby so as to understand why we were out of our depth at this game:

1. Rugby makes no sense, even to those that live the game so much that they have rugby ball shaped blood cells that need to be zapped by a miniaturised medical team that includes Raquel Welch. You can tell this because during the game, when the referee blows for a penalty, everyone almost always reacts with surprise at the outcome, quickly followed by understanding in hindsight which doesn’t count and isn’t fooling anybody. ‘Well, that was obvious. He reached over and touched that guy’s left ear as the Moon was in Leo. Clear penalty that.’

Even the referee seems like he might be a little surprised when he’s gone the whistle – He’ll often gather round the other refs for what I reckon is a bit of an open brainstorm on what they should do next. ‘Hey guys, why don’t we make them kick an oval ball between those 2 sticks over there? It’ll be a right laugh.’ Awkward silence. ‘Umm Bob, we’re supposed to do that anyway.’

So for 2 guys who just casually watch the game the whole thing is a fantastic voyage in itself. And yes, there was even some Wonder Doyle.

Or 5 streakers and some dodgy heckling. Which is how I imagine a Wonder… Doooooooyle might be anyway, particularly as the last 3 streakers went as a spontaneous team.

By which I mean that the lead-off guy, who was wearing either lycra or body-paint (I wasn’t really trying to work out which) didn’t seem to be associated with the 2 guys in chicken suits (The news suggested that it was 1 guy dressed as a banana. Definitely 2 chickens though) yet the whole managed to combine as a well-lubricated team. Probably-Lycra Dude even managed to snaffle the game ball and fire off a flick pass to Chicken 2. Sadly the impromptu theatre was ended by a Crusaders player who clothes-lined Chicken 1 and then assisted with pinning him to the ground, largely by sitting on him.

The heckling too had its moments – 1 guy in front of us liked to hoot like a chimpanzee at key plays in the game. I’m almost certain this wasn’t racist because upon closer examination I’m pretty sure that the guy was in fact an actual chimpanzee. Good on him for dressing well.

Meanwhile another guy down the front, who roared belligerently, finally reached the peak of absurdism heckling when he bellowed out at a visiting Crusaders player, who was lining up a penalty kick from about 20m out and dead in front:

‘You’ll probably miss.’

That is about as Camus-like as heckling can get. It was also statistically inaccurate and no, he didn’t miss.

Which brings us to:

2. The Western Force are not relatively good at rugby, while the Canterbury Crusaders are fantastically successful at it. The Force have so far played in 7 completed seasons and have never made it to a finals campaign. The Crusaders meanwhile have logged 17 full seasons, winning the title in 7 of them, finishing as runners-up in another 3. Only in 3 seasons have they failed to make the top 4 and therefore the playoffs.

This disparity can be explained by an understanding that the Force are largely comprised of mercenary journeymen and young tyros looking to make a name for themselves, while the Crusaders are largely made up of All Blacks and a crash of rhinoceroses. If we take that group streaking act as an allegory, the Force are represented by Chicken 1 – Plucky but ultimately a guy in a chicken suit – While the Crusaders are conveniently represented by the Crusaders guy who flattened Chicken 1 – Mean and ultimately a guy in a Crusaders jersey.

None of which helps to explain:

3. How the Force won.

I have however thought about it some more since the game and come to the following conclusions: a. The Moon was in Leo and that guy did touch that other dude’s left ear; and b. When you’re walking along, singing a song, walking in a Kevin Wonder… Doooooooyle, anything is possible.

Until The Other Kids Knock Him Down

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