Category Archives: Dick-List

Anyone But The Celtics

After the Celtics hyper-emotional run to victory in the 2008 finals, as a basketball neophyte, I was ready to fall in love with that team. Everything about it worked. The storylines were overblown but extremely engaging, and the way they played was similarly straight out of a hokey film. That voluble passion which manifested itself in odd ways, as the team snapped between lackadaisical periods before blitzing teams with a boundless intensity. The war cries of Garnett, Pierce’s eye for the theatrical and Allen’s quietly cerebral game – I loved them all.

And here I am, two years later, screaming at Miami for allowing them back into the game, telling my youngest daughter – not yet conceived during that dream season of ’07-08 – that she must never, ever cheer a Celtic. What happened? How did my love become loathing? I feel like to a large extent it came from the same place their current disaffection was born.

Put simply, the same factors which made them so selfless during that golden season have now come back to haunt them in the most infuriating way. The big three, once so committed to the team game, are mere shadows of their championship-winning selves, as if the mere act of getting a ring – proving to the world what they had always known of themselves – gave them free license to turn into the most selfish caricatures of that they had been prior. The movie stars:

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Filed under Basketball, Dick-List, NBA

Inglourious Basterds II: The Warriors 2009 Season Review Panel

Morons2

See those men? They’re coming to inspect you! Hope you’re very afraid. Because they’re who the Warriors will be facing over the next few days. In case you don’t recognise my artful depictions, that’s Monty Betham, Dean Rice(?!), Awen Guttenbeil and Hugh McGahan.

Yep, the mighty Vodafone New Zealand Warriors are so perturbed by their hideous season that they’ve appointed what must be the most disastrously stupid panel of experts ever assembled to to assess their 2009 performance. Let’s go through their credentials one by one.

1) Monty Betham

According to no less a resource than Wikipedia, Monty Betham’s first name is actually ‘Monty’. Not Montague or Montgomery, but Monty. I’m not sure if that makes it worse or better, but it’s definitely a fact worth considering. My future brother-in-law and I have been discussing a future DeadBall post we’re working on called ‘the worst Warriors team of all time’. It’s coming soon, but one position we pretty much haven’t debated at all was that of of captain. It has to be Monty Betham, right?

He epitomised the worst excesses of the Mick Watson regime, with its arrogance and thuggish attitude toward criticism. Betham being voted ‘the player you’d least like to get into a fight with’ by Rugby League Week only indicated that he spent more time practising his left hook than his tackling technique, and as a member of this panel he brings all the gravity and intellectual force that Kendra has brought to reality television. Speaking of which, for the last three years, while the Warriors have been attempting to rebuild after his awful tenure, ‘Monty’ has been starring on such masterpieces as Celebrity Joker Poker and Dancing With The Stars.

He viewed each as ample preparation for a return to rugby league, as a recent Sunday News story featured an image of him with his shirt off (better that than the truly horrifying shot of him in drag at Telethon) pronouncing his 31-year-old carcass ready to return to the rigours of the NRL. There cannot be many people less qualified to lead a review of a terrible season in the NRL than Betham. But the Warriors have found three more.

2) Dean Rice

OK, here’s a few facts, New Zealand. Everywhere else in the world, men who like to mess around with a long, slender, symmetrical bat play baseball. I wrote about 12-year-old kids playing it it a couple of days ago. Only in New Zealand do we get excited about our men being the best at the women’s version of a men’s sport. Seriously, the fact that the ‘Black Sox’ get nominated for Halberg Awards is one of the most embarrassing things about being a New Zealander, along with Cuba St, Te Radar and Logan Swann. I don’t know who Dean Rice is, but when you google ‘”Dean Rice” AND softball’ some faculty member from Georgia beats him to the top spot. Seriously, that has to mean something in this context. Did I mention that softball is a women’s sport? Do we boast about being Men’s netball world champs?* Thought not.

3) Awen Guttenbeil

It says a lot about this committee that Awen Guttenbeil is comfortably its most respectable member. He defined journeyman throughout his 11 season career with the Warriors. Guttenbeil played out these years, which saw us roam from wooden spooning to Grand fInal, without remotely impacting on our fate. He scored 15 tries, none of which even the most ardent fan can probably remember, and were it not for his bald head, most supporters would struggle to picture him even now. He was notable for having a funny German name and not leaving the club, which is fine, but not enough to justify selection to a panel that is judging a Warriors season which has the dubious distinction of having the worst promise-to-delivery ratio of any in our club’s blighted 15 year existence.

4) Hugh McGahan

McGahan is ostensibly the character guy. A former Golden Boot (for international player of the year) and Dally M (for backrower of the year) winner, he played over 100 games for the Roosters in the golden late-’80s era of rugby league. He was a Kiwis captain. He scored six tries in a test, and was an inaugural inductee into the NZRL’s Legends of League (such an awesome name) hall of fame. As far as reputation goes, there aren’t many in league who stack up better. Or stacked up better.

Because in late 2007 McGahan was charged with fraud in the Auckland District Court, and in May 2009 he was sentenced to 270 hours of community service for his part in a scam involving poker machines in the service of various North Shore sporting organisations. It has been painted up in some quarters as some Robin Hood-style wealth redistribution, and he probably didn’t personally gain from the episode. But surely it’s too soon to be appointing him to a panel discussing an issue like this? His indiscretions were punished in the midst of the horror run the Warriors went on this season. Wouldn’t you want to be squeaky clean about this? Unless of course you just want to be told you’re doing an amazing job by a bunch of dudes who just want to feel like they’re part of a team again…

– Duncan

* I checked this later, and there is apparently a plan to hold one of these within the next five years. If and when we do win, this will be an infinitely cooler thing to be World Champs at. Because indoor netball is in many ways superior to regular netball, and is a distinct sport from basketball, as opposed to an intentionally weakened derivative.

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Filed under Boxing, Caring for the Community, Dick-List, Fandom, NRL, Rugby league

Giving Doug Golightly the Red Card

Doug Golightly

Doug Golightly, long the best excuse for sleeping til the afternoon on a Saturday morning, has now extended his monumental dull-wittedness into some new media, being appointed editor of Sky Sport: The Magazine. Full disclosure: Until very recently I was a contributor to the publication, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. And just so people know it’s not sour grapes, I’ve had no communication with the new team, I just wouldn’t want my name anywhere near Golightly’s.

Sky Sport: The Magazine was created by Eric Young in 2007, it functioned as something like an Antipodean Sports Illustrated, running pieces at far greater length and depth than you’d see anywhere else in New Zealand sports journalism, and generally providng a counterpoint to the cloying, inarticulate blokeishness which permeates almost all coverage of sports in this country.

Features ran at anywhere up to 5,000 words or 14 pages, unheard of in New Zealand sports journalism, which tends to view any attempt to decode the romance or futility of sports as somehow antithetical. Young published Gary Smith’s incredible SI piece on Andre Agassi, following his retirement, which was written entirely in the second person. Writers like noted NZ playwright Greg McGee found a home in its pages, and Young was unafraid to seek out the best available voice on a topic – my first contributor credit came between following the name Steffi Graf.

There was amoment when I realised this magazine would be different. I remember asking Young after receiving my first assignment whether he wanted me to look for a sidebar, a piece of the story which could be broken off into a more easily digestible form. He dismissed the idea out of hand, even made me fel a little ridiculous for asking. At journalism school I was taught two things regarding sidebars. Firstly that they were a cheap, lazy way of hooking readers into a story when the writing didn’t measure up, and secondly that every editor I encountered would demand them. Not this one.

The strange thing was that this austere, old-fashioned approach bore spectacular fruit. Young recieved every award he was up for at Terry Maclean Sports Journalism awards, including Sports Journalist of the Year. The magazine was an instant, raging success. The most recently published Nielsen survey gave it 243,000 readers (to give you an idea of how large that figure is, it’s five times that of Real Groove, the publication I edit, double what celeb gossip mag NW and Auckland icon Metro can claim, and only 40,000 behind the grand old lady of New Zealand publishing, The Listener), and it was experiencing strong growth even as Young was being forced out of the publication which was his brainchild.

In his place comes Golightly, and on his first cover? Who else, but the injured, non-playing All Black captain Richie McCaw. The headline? Into Battle! Where exactly he’ll be battling isn’t specified. Just put the most famous guy on the cover, who cares whether he’s going to be involved in any sport this month. I wouldn’t mind betting that the days of seeing cyclists, triathletes, netballers and surfers on the cover are over.

Judging by the first issue, the magazine has already become indistinguishable from all the other areas Golightly holds sway. Prosaic, processional examinations of the game as it transpired, nothing more. His Radio Sport show is characterised by interminable interviews, with him stumbling around, barely asking a question, with all the charisma and intellect of that half-cut guy down the pub whose gaze you try and avoid.

Periodically he’ll bring up one of his tired old stand-bys, the ‘red card’, or ridicule anyone who opposes his perspective as a ‘lesbian tree-hugger’. He’s already set about politicising his sports magazine with an interview with John Key (extremely tedious too – I feel like he’s doing a reasonable job, but he’s clearly not a sports fan of any description) and, most mystifyingly of all, replacing Jeremy Coney’s column with one from WINSTON PETERS.

Am I dreaming? Jeremy Coney’s columns were a perpetual highlight of the magazine, erudite, compelling pieces of writing which talked of Harold Pinter’s love for cricket or drew lines between Snow White, Odysseus and the All Blacks. They were characterised by surreal anecdotes, dazzling leaps and the same kind of sparkling intellect which has long made his entry to the commentary booth such a delight.

And in his place we get Winston Peters, that most self-serving, career-before-country abomination of a politician, less than a year distant from his eviction fom parliament by the electorate after a series of  serious scandals, which tainted his very fibre and obliterated any shred of credibility. Golightly’s Muldoonist tendencies and rank cronyism bring him back in front of us. The only saving grace of the whole fiasco is that Peters has chosen his first column to celebrate the history of Maori rugby, an institution which has always rankled Golightly, who so loathes ‘racially selected teams’. Middle class white men have always been the staunchest defenders of ethnic equality.

The rest of the magazine is little better. The longest feature runs to six pages, and the entire thing is a mess of sidebars, TV listings and wacky facts, with none of the passion or vibrancy which characterised it under Young’s stewardship. Within one issue Golightly has drained the life from Sky Sport: The Magazine and suffused its spirit, turning it into an extended version of his Sunday News sports section, plodding, empty and riven with clichés. And New Zealand sport is much the poorer as a result.

– Duncan

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Filed under Announcements, Dick-List, Reminiscing, Rugby

The Dead Ball Dick-List: Lleyton Hewitt

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1. His game is so ugly it’s hard to watch.

2. All the yelling and screaming is most unnecessary. Sure a bit of that stuff is warranted when the game is tense but all day, every game, every day is retarded.

3. He is such a fan of Rocky that when he was a junior, he used to shout “C’mon Balboa!”

4. He’s got no serve.

5. He’s a foot-faulter.

6. Rather than persuing excellence, his game relies on the inconsistency of others.

7. He blames his losses on everything but his own performance – often the surface of the court or the call of a linesperson.

8. In his 2005 Australian Open match against Argentine Juan Ignacio Chela, Hewitt heriocally celebrated an  unforced error. DICK MOVE. Chela responded by serveing directly at Hewitt, and spat at him during the changeover. One Australian paper proclaimed, “Many regretted [the spit] did not find its target.”

9. In a cunning PR move, Lleyton released the DVD Lleyton Hewitt: The Other Side to show the world what a nice guy he is. Only, the DVD included footage of Lleyton and Aussie Rules star Andrew McLeod at a sacred Aborignal burial site, and when McLeod refused permission to use the footage, nice-guy Lleyton used it anyway. Nice.

10. In a 2001 US Open match against James Blake, Lleyton was called for foot-faulting. He approached the Umpire and asked that the linesperson be removed. “Look at him,” he said pointing towards the black linesman, “look at him,” pointing towards his black opponent, (wait for it), “and you tell me what the similarity is.”

DICK!

– Henry

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Filed under Dick-List, Tennis