Here we are, it’s 2020! And for all you naysayers who didn’t think we’d make it – pphhtt!

Of course, there are a number of “firsts” that should be acknowledged at this point so here goes: this is my first rant for the new year and also the new decade but I can’t remember how many of these I’ve actually cobbled together because my memory is not as good as it used to be and, on top of that, my memory’s not as good as it used to be! Mind you, this year will also see me turn 75 and that could be a reason for my memory loss. I’d also argue I was sprayed with DDT and possibly Agent Orange in Vietnam, so there’s another excuse.

“Another excuse for what?”  I hear you bleat.

Well, a new year means we have the grand vista of new, untouched sporting competitions spreading out before us and the chances of my teams winning some or all of them are now quite real.  

If I had a good memory, I’d probably be in a funk because I’d be able to recall failures in the past but with synapses a rarity in my memory banks, I move blissfully and ignorantly forward, buoyed by several hit songs of my youth such as Bobby Darin’s, Splish, Splash, I Was Havin’ A Flash, Procol Harem’s, A Whiter Shade Of Hair  or even the classic by Willie Nelson, On the Commode Again.  Ah, 2020 has great possibilities.

You should also be aware The Heavenly Cohorts  have now been expanded to four with the men’s Glorious St George, the ARLW’s  Gorgeous St George, the men’s  Fabulous St Kilda  and now  The Wondrous St Kilda Women.  The year has all kinds of possibilities.

The Galahs

But, by looking so far ahead I have overlooked some of the events that have already taken place.  The Galahs  have been doing pretty well and that flies in the face of the name I gave them!  Pakistan and then New Zealand were trampled underfoot and then the ODI team headed for India.  The first game was a blinder (only Warner and Finch batted) and then the quicks bowled the Indians out.  One up!  In the second match they were brought back to earth with a loss.  Even.  In the third game Smith had a brain fade, ran Finch out and they didn’t recover.  Two One win to India.  The Galahs  have restored my faith in them.  But now they’re off to South Africa and that’s where the wheels fell off for Smith and Warner some years ago.  They’ll need to keep their wits about them this time.

Oz Open

Normally I’d be watching the Oz Open but I had to catch up with some writing so sat in front of the computer instead. The Child Bride  did keep me informed as The Fed  demolished a young American first round opponent though what made it all the more painful was Jim Courier (the ubiquitous US dribbler The Oz Open has engaged to provide “expert” commentary) trying to enhance the ability of the player (Johnson) relating how well he played in college and many other places. It didn’t matter, The Fed  sent him packing in three sets.

Serena Williams also wiped the court with her opponent and I was gob-smacked when one of the dribblers (where do they get these idiots?) commented the young girl had done so well returning Serena’s shots.  NEWS FLASH.  NEWS FLASH.  Being able to return a shot is  NOT  enough, in fact it’s barely enough!  You’ve got to return the shot with some venom and hit it where your opponent ain’t.  None of the returns did that and Serena then angled her returns to the corners and in no time at all, the young lady was heading home.  The big news in the Oz Open of course, was the slumping of the old guard in both competitions.  Djokovic (seeded #2) did hang tough and got over young Austrian player Dominic Thiem (#5) in the final but in the ladies draw it was a massacre.  Sofia Kenin (from the US and seeded #14) managed to get over the un-seeded Spaniard Muguruza in a thrilling match.  I’ve said it before and this year really brought it home, some of the old guard are still strong but there are a flock of young, talented and very hungry players who are able to cause any number of upsets.

Sydney-Hobart

We also saw the “running” of The Sydney-Hobart and as I grow older I guess I’m becoming more cynical or maybe it’s the Agent Orange kicking in.  In years past the race used to take about a week but  Comanche  won it in one day, 18 hours, 30 minutes and 24 seconds and the race record is nine hours faster than that!  In sporting terms you’d have to say  Comanche  didn’t even raise a sweat!  I’m never going to watch it again!  We only ever get to watch the big boats start (the lesser boats start from their own line some way back up the harbour) and the commentary is provided by several dribblers using nautical terms I don’t understand (and they never explain them either), the big boats exit the heads (we never see the small boats), a helicopter then swoops in so we can see a reporter jump off a boat (it would liven up the coverage a tad if a Noah’s Ark took one of them one year) but that’s it!  There’s an occasional report later of the boats “off Eden” or “in Bass Strait” and then it’s all over, they’re in Constitutional Dock, the bubbly flows and the winning skipper is thrown in the water.  But that’s not it – many boats are still “off Eden” and still “in Bass Strait” and the handicap winner won’t be known for days!  I still say, send the big boats round New Zealand and have them come up the Derwent with the smaller boats:  that would be something to watch!  Bet it don’t happen though.

Talk at you next month,

The Hillside Critic

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