Well sports fans, it’s whip crackin’ time! Yep, it’s that time of the year when the AFL and ARL grand finals take place and you can bet there are several coaches who are doing their heads in, trying to come up with a way/any way of urging their teams on to greater things without actually flogging them with a whip!
The general public (as a rule) and the governing bodies (in general) take a dim view of that kind of thing.
I did mention several years ago I’d contacted The Galahs coach (that’s the Australian men’s cricket team, for those of you who haven’t been paying attention) with the suggestion of gelding a few of the players. I hadn’t tried it with any teams I’d coached but I was told it works with racehorses because it takes a stallion’s mind off the mares. I’d even suggested that if he only walked through the dressing room with a bottle of metho and a couple of rusty razor blades that might be enough. Of course, if he stopped occasionally in front a player he thought was being a bit slack and then clearly showed him the implements, that would more than likely guarantee a little more effort. I’d like to think he took my advice because the team went on to be world-beaters! Of late however, it appears the current coach has decided to use fitness and psychology and look where that’s got him! He’s got a bunch of nancy’s , that’s what he’s got.
They’d better lift their game coz The Poms are on their way and there’s no way we’ll forget of forgive if The Galahs go down to them this time around. The Poms have just lost (although “lost” isn’t a strong enough word for what they did) a series against the Indians so we’d better win or I’ll get the metho and the rusties and cut a swathe (no pun intended) though the team AND the coach!
By the time you read this, the AFL Grand Final will have been run and won. Because of the level of COVID infections in Melbourne the match will again be played away: this year in Perth. That’s two years in a row and the good folk in Victoria are not liking it! I’m told that in Melbourne now-a-days if you really, really want abuse somebody, you call them a Dan after Dan The Man, the Victorian Premier!
And who’ll win it? Well, it’s going to be two Melbourne teams but if I had to put a dollar on it (and that’s a BIG bet for me) I’d back The Demons. Up north (yes, way up north in Queensland, because that’s where all the ARL teams in the finals are staying) there are still some games to go but The Storm have been well coached all year and I expect they’ll take the lollies.
Now, I want you to sit quietly and think back. Several months ago I told you there was a changing of the guard in the world of tennis. I said if I were Serena Williams’ coach I’d suggest (I don’t think anybody tells Serena anything) that she retire with grace, have another baby, set up a tennis coaching clinic and enjoy the rest of her life (with her husband and children) without all the hassles of continuous training and travel. I said the young, fit and hungry next generation of players were coming through. I have to admit I hadn’t seen just how young they’d be though!
The two players in the US Open Final last week were both teenagers: a British girl Emma Raducanu and a Canadian girl Leylah Annie Ferandez. Emma (who won the title) was so not confident of her passage through the Open draw, she had a seat booked on flight back to the UK somewhere around the fourth round. One assumes she had to keep ringing the airline to postpone the travel on a daily basis! What a problem to have.
Meanwhile, over in the men’s draw, Novak Djokovic seemed to be marching relentlessly on. He’d won three majors and the Olympic Gold Medal in Tokyo this calendar year so he was set to pull off the very rare Golden Grand Slam! Our Rod Laver was the last man to win a Grand Slam (tennis wasn’t re-introduced to the Olympics until long after he’d hung up his racquet) and he did it twice in 1962 and 1969. But Novak came up against a fired up Daniil Medvedev and not only did the dream of a Golden Grand Slam dissolve in front of him but his frustration saw the demise of a couple of tennis racquets that had done nothing but deliver what Novak had requested of them.
But all is not lost, baseball is still being played in the US and The Child Bride has recorded a number of games. In truth she’s pressed something on the remote and the machine has so far recorded 15 games! Not only that, but American football’s started again. I’m set to watch sport until February next year at least!
And speaking of The Child Bride, she wants to travel when the bans are lifted. So she bought a map of the world, stuck it on the fridge, gave me a dart and said throw it and that’s where we’re going. Just my luck, it looks like we’re spending two weeks behind the fridge!
Talk at you next month,
The Hillside Critic