Monthly Archives: January 2009

Dude! Where's My Sponsor?

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Do you think Roddick knows he looks exactly like one of the stupidest actors of all time? Was there a moment, however slight, when he gazed lovingly at the post-Mandy Moore mirror and noticed that he had traversed from classic, all-American good looks into the most depressing kind of parody of the same archetype?

I hope not, just as a desire for basic human dignity leads me to wish that Tim Henman didn’t feel a small frisson of relief at the emergence of Andy Murray. Henman’s increasingly heavy-hearted trudge through the early rounds at Wimbledon, with the weight of a once-proud tennis nation on his shoulders, became almost grotesque by the end. Roddick’s national characteristics won’t allow such maudlin thoughts any visibility, but surely privately he entertains them from time to time?

Not tonight. Tonight he was beaten by a man he accurately called “the greatest ever”, and while he displayed an over-familiar mix of fight and clutch-failure, the extent to which his capitulations were his incandescent opponent’s doing is probably beyond debate. But in the broader scheme Roddick has shouldered the weight of the United States’ expectations since the retirement of Sampras and Agassi; since he won his only (and America’s last) Grand Slam at the US Open in ’03.  Privately, he must pray for the whole sham to end. Continue reading

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Filed under Reminiscing, Tennis

This Time It's Not How He's Drinking

Jesse Ryder in happier times

Jesse Ryder in happier times

Jesse Ryder – a man who has made a career out of losing his dignity and spooning cookie dough into his mouth full-time – has shocked the cricketing world this morning by injuring himself while sober. The punishing left-hander sustained a rotator cuff injury to his shoulder yesterday at training prior to the first ODI of the Chappell-Hadlee series, and an MRI scan will today determine the length of his absence from the Black Caps.

Team-mates expressed their surprise and disappointment at Ryder’s conduct, particularly ahead of such a vital series.

“I’m stunned, to be honest,” said captain Daniel Vettori. “You look at Jesse and his physique and you figure the one thing you can rely on is for him to have a pretty relaxed attitude to training.”

“I lie awake at night after big games worrying about what he might be up to, but at training – I mean, that’s where Jake [Jacob Oram] or Millsy might go down, but Jesse? Not one one of the most enthusiastic guys in the group, you’d have to say.”

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It's Just Not Cricket (It's The Wild West)

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At the end of last year, after a gruelling and brutal season, my fellow Deadball contributors and I found ourselves competing in the semi-final of our local YMCA basketball league. We were confident having played our opponent earlier in the season , dominating them in unspeakable ways. Unfortunately we lost the semi-final. Fine, we folded like the All Blacks playing France (except we didn’t have Graham Henry to blame and then forgive a month later). We take responsibility. The thing that bothered me, apart from a complete disintegration of our dignity, was that the team we played had used ring-ins for the semi-final.  In other words, the team they fielded in the semi-final was not the one we had played earlier in the season. Surely any self-respecting competition wouldn’t allow such a miscarriage of justice to occur. I mean, this is the YMCA we’re talking about, not some crack-pot international cricket competition run by the ICC.

Chris Rattue of the New Zealand Herald said this much better than I can, and without the self-indulgent sob story, but why is it OK for the ICC to allow a central tennet of sports competition to be broken? Why are they allowing ring-ins?   I’ve played in pickup games where it hasn’t been cool for a player to switch teams. Surely if it’s not OK for your local YMCA it’s just not cricket.

Bizarrely,  Symonds has emerged as the wise jester in all this insanity. Apparently it takes copious amounts of alcohol to grasp how ridiculous it is that Brendon Mccullum is allowed to play for New South Wales in the final of the Australian Twenty20 competition. Continue reading

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Guest Post: A Return To Action

It’s a glorious feeling waking up in the morning knowing that right before you are three back to back games of premiership action. And so without further ado, some observations:

Fact of the week no. 1: Aston Villa’s 1-0 victory over Portsmouth was their first at Fratton Park in 34 years.

Fact of the week no. 2: That Villa win was also a club record sixth consecutive away victory. Next up Blackburn Rovers.

Fact of the week no 3: £23.5 million combined is what teams have paid in transfer fees alone for Emile Heskey. The Donkey scoring a typically scrappy goal first time out for his new employers.

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Fact of the week no 4: Jermaine Defoe continued his record of scoring every time he has played Stoke City in his career.

Fact of the week no 5: Manchester United have now gone 1032 minutes without conceding a Premiership goal, passing Chelsea’s record in the 84th minute of their game against West Brom.

Fact of the week no. 6: That wasn’t the only defending record achieved in that game; 11 consecutive clean sheets is also a new mark. Continue reading

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Filed under Football, Guest Post, Premiere League, Soccer

In Tennis, Love Means Nothing

SPORT TENNIS

Tennis is a great sport, no argument – let’s just move on. Tennis spectators, however, aren’t really much to write home about. They just don’t get involved enough. It’s not entirely their fault (hmm) though, with those umpires telling them to “shush up” all the time, and players not really getting into things by hitting balls at hecklers or taking a running fly-kick across the barrier at their opposition’s mother/father. What I’m saying is, tennis doesn’t really give itself the opportunity to be dangerous very often, so thank God for the Australian Open 2009, a tournament that’s starting to turn… it… up….

Don’t ask me what “Serbia”or “Croatia” are, but Australian Open officials know, and they’ve figured out that if you pit one of each in a sporting contesting against the other, it makes violence happen. Last Wednesday, “tensions boiled over ”between spectators of the match between Croatian Marin Cilic and Serbian Janko Tipsarevic, which Cilic won in four sets. Police escorted at least five fans from the Melbourne Park precinct after narrowly averting an all-out brawl. As usual, the police totally killed the party, but punches were later thrown in a scuffle near a packed bar. Both groups, wearing national colours, then continued to march around Melbourne Park in large packs. Good times.

Undeterred by the police interruption of what officials called “a good laugh”, they got hold of another Serbian player and matched him up with a Bosnian, just to see if a repeat performance was on the cards. Guess what…

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Guest Post: Fantasy Land

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The current predicament that French Rugby Club Toulon find themselves in is not entirely the fault of newly displaced coach and All Black legend Tana Umaga.

A quick look on their website will reveal the following players on their current playing staff who struggled to find first team play in New Zealand and when they did, hardly look like world beaters.

Tusi Pisi-Excuse me?
Orene Ai’i – handy sevens player and once scored a cracking try for Auckland against Canterbury.
Ben Castle – Um?
Saimone Taumoepeau – well, he was an All Black but then so was Ben Franks last year.
Sinoti To’omaga – A Wellington club player. Enough said.
Jerry Collins – OK, you got me there.
Sonny Bill Williams – Played 5 games. Scored one try. Would have been a World Champion if he had stayed with league. Whoops! Continue reading

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DeadBall.co.nz is Back In Business

So we’re over (mostly) our maintenance period. From now until whenever we fall ALL future posts will be on deadball.co.nz. All comments, posts and links have been transferred over, so please don’t comment here, bookmark the new site and watch the progress there. We’ll be attempting to have something new for you every morning by 9am.

Here’s the link to the new site.

Thanks for your patience,

The DeadBall team

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