WTSD is invest in soccer players

What They Should Do… is invest in soccer players. Michael McGlinchey, Kwame Yeboah, Mitch Nichols and Mark Milligan are four A-League players who have attracted interest from overseas. Their skills and the sale of their contracts can bring a wealth of money to clubs and cities around Australia. This kind of revenue stream is more widely distributed than other sellable items Australia possess, like, say, iron ore. Consider that Luis Suarez recently signed a contract earning $400,000 (AUS) per week. He’s 81kgs. That makes Luis Suarez worth $4,938,271.61 (AUS) per tonne, and that’s weekly. Suarez doesn’t have to be dug up, transported on super dumpers, shipped, and transformed into piping. He only needs to put on a kit, and that would be sponsored so there’s more money. Therefore, rather than selling off our finite resources Australia should focus on renewable athletes. Much as Brazil does… so I suspect.

WTSD is be more authentic

What They Should Do is be more authentic. The Central Coast Mariners have won everything in the A-League, and impressed in the Asia Cup. Also they lose over a million dollars each year as a business, and like many AFL clubs need a financial top up from the sport’s governing body. One of their problems might be identity. These Mariner’s don’t lather themselves in blubber, deal in doubloons, ride clipper ships or pearl dive. They don’t scrub a poop deck, kick starboard or astern, or hoist sails. Nor, for a coast, do they surf. And! there is very little Mariner quality about inflatable sauce bottles – unless they need buoyancy. Comparatively, the Melbourne Victory have worn a gold plated shirt that glowed in the dark, possess ambition to win the Asia Cup, and had Harry Kewell when he was cool. Those are traits of victory. In fact, what they should do is learn from the Victory.

WTSD is be more like Shinji Ono

WTSD is be more like Shinji Ono. The Western Sydney Wanderers’ midfielder is a superstar in Japan, and outstanding representative for soccer in general. While playing here he has promoted Japanese events and encouraged bilateral cultural understanding. Wouldn’t it be great if the A-League had more players like that? Or better yet, and without intending pressure, if they were in fact foreign ambassador’s? Imagine if John Berry from America, as well as making home movies for Youtube, played up front for Brisbane. Or if Englishman Emile Heskey, combined playing for Newcastle with  bridging relations between Australians and English cricket tourists. It would be hard, very hard in fact, though he’d have some public support. An Indonesian goalkeeper could be hired to stop goals and smoothing political ties. How that could be achieved is difficult. Maybe by not talking about the goals he could stop the goals.

WTSD is release an album

WTSD is release an album. The supporters of Western Sydney Wanderers have an under utilised lyrical range. Who would not pay hard earned for a recording of “Hey hey, warh, hoo, hey hey warh, hoo”, “Narr narr, de, narr narr narr, way hey way, gud bye” and the classic “Ya la, ya la, ya la, oh, oh ya, la ya la, ha.” They’d do well to add the popular remix “Warh warh, hey, hoo, warh warh” and as a mystery end track “Wheeeeeeezzzzzeeeee (aka leading in extra time)”. Not to mention fan favourite “Oh, oaaah, ha, ooh, oaah, og, arrgh.”. A guest appearance by Dionne Warwick with “Hoo ah yar, hoo ah yar” and Frank Bennett on “Something! (clap) Something! (clap)” wouldn’t go astray. If they have the budget why not get Christine Anu to sing “My Island Home” – though being repetitive may not be in the repertoire (joke intended. No personal offence.) The tour will be great to see. Honestly.

WTSD is not end Soccer matches in draws.

What They Should Do… is not end Soccer matches in draws. After Victory v Adelaide the drawn result is again an improper way to end soccer games. Over the years many options to correct this stalemate have been suggested. Shoot outs, extra time, coin toss, most shots, most fouls in favour, most horrendous penalty decisions and wrong offsides that cost Victory the game they deserved lift your game linesman! These are good but untried options. Ignored by the A-League and, to be fair, every other league in the world – of which there are many. Rather than dwell on the rejections let’s propose more options. One, coin toss. Why not? Two, long range shoot out. From half way because that seems hard. Three, slam dunk contest. If we’re shooting from half way slam dunks sounds the logical next step. Four, the Worm. Just ask for a viewer result… only if that viewer is Dennis Rodman.

What they should do… is Tell the Truth

Published version in The Sunday Age Sport: 31 March 2013
Published version in The Sunday Age Sport: 31 March 2013

What they should do is tell the truth. On April 18 in 1930 the BBC reported that “there is no news”. They played some piano music and then returned to regular programming. Uninteresting day? Or the most truthful?

Cricket announcers will proclaim “it’s all happening here”, when evidence strongly points to the contrary. Fact is most things are not happening there, and what is happening is probably only a small quoter of total world happenings.

Furthermore basketballers claimed to be “shooting it from downtown” are unlikely to be doing just that.  It’s just plain infeasible. If the game was taking place downtown then it could be said that they are “shooting it while in the local area”, but the logistics of competing in the sport from a greatly removed location simply boggle the mind. Best not to engage them with hope. And I so advise.

What They Should Do… is make lawn bowls more accessible

wtsd 170313
Published Version: 17/3/2013

WTSD… is make lawn bowls more accessible. Currently it has heaps of problems. It is played on lawn and Australia is arid, dry, parched, baked, thesaurus – not well suited to growing lawn. Move the sport indoors and under lights. Kids today seem to like games played underlights – like the night part of day/night cricket, and underlights tiggy (big in the States apparently).

They should also remove the distance based scoring system and only count scores for hitting the target. Better yet score by knocking something over. Swap the jack for, perhaps, a stick. Ten sticks is a nice number.

Much of this sounds like pandering to the kiddies. And it is. But as compensation to oldies remove the need to change ends. This would allow for the bowl, or ball, to be carried back to the competitor on a conveyor belt. Helping old bones by limiting actual movement and effort. Like Twenty20 cricket helps Shane Warne.

What They Should Do… is stop worrying about obesity

WTSD obesity clip
Published version in The Sunday Age Sport, 17/02/2013

What They Should Do… is stop worrying about obesity. Like the plague, Black Death, or rat flu, the obesity epidemic is spreading. In Australia we have more over-weight people than anywhere in the world, and that makes us world number one. Think of the possibilities. We would dominate the Water Displacement Olympics, the 100 Meter Wheeze, and Bobbing for Lard, much like we dominate the Commonwealth Games.

Authorities should quit fighting a losing battle and embrace Angry Birds as a means of exercise. Fingers are a great tool. We should use them more. Pen golf, twenty cent table game, texting, these are all activities Australians can lead. Let’s end the reign of trim and taut sporting heros and focus on some more obtainable body images.

The inactive, those who climb stairs with rests every fourth rise, are the people most kids today will grow to become. All I’m saying is don’t discriminate.

What They Should Do… is repeat the tennis story

03 0213 WTSD tennis again
Published version in The Sunday Age Sport, 03/02/2013

How odd, The Sunday Age Sport has repeated most of the tennis story I wrote over a year a go. It was first published two weeks ago. The original submitted version follows (as emailed in early 2011). The printed version is pictured.

 

Not long ago I was playing some tennis when something hit me. Rather than the impact of the ball on face it was the impact of the ball on the racket that made me take notice. Old people often say “the game was a lot tougher in my day”, and when it comes to the use of sporting equipment they are quite right.

Until tennis became professional in 1968 there was little competitive investment in racket technology. It is said that from the late 1800s to the mid-late 1900s, specifically 1975, few major developments occurred. While rackets decreased in weight over this time it took the larger racket heads of 1975 to mark a real design development.

Recently I was using a 1960s racket, made of wood and with a small head. Swinging it was like taking part in a weights class and to get power into a shot required an almost tangible effort, like trying to shove a car.

I’d admit that the tension of the strings might not have been adjusted for a number of years (read never) however it was clear that the force needed to play the ball was inherent in the device. Couple this with the tiny sweet spot, where accuracy is achieved, and the racket itself had a high margin for shot error and a high chance of causing player fatigue.

This was compared to using an aluminium frame and large headed racket circa 1980s. Light weight this racket could be swung easily with speed, though even with a short back-swing the tennis ball would fly-off the strings like a rubber bouncy-ball off a brick wall. The large sweet spot helped as well, making almost any shot return possible.

Wouldn’t it be fun to see the greats of today play using the equipment of yesteryear? It would give us a chance to put some of the old footage of Rod Laver and Jimmy Connors into perspective. Sure it would be unfair to judge them equally but it would be interesting to see “fastest serves” and how accurate their shots are using equipment designs from the 1960s?

At least it would make me feel better about getting hit in the head.

What They Should Do… is play tennis with the old rackets.

tody 023
Published version in The Sunday Age Sport, 20/01/2013

Not long ago I was playing some tennis when something hit me. Rather than the impact of the ball on face it was the impact of the ball on the racket that made me take notice. Old people often say “the game was a lot tougher in my day”, and when it comes to the use of sporting equipment they are quite right.

Until tennis became professional in 1968 there was little competitive investment in racket technology. It is said that from the late 1800s to the mid-late 1900s, specifically 1975, few major developments occurred. While rackets decreased in weight over this time it took the larger racket heads of 1975 to mark a real design development.

Recently I was using a 1960s racket, made of wood and with a small head. Swinging it was like taking part in a weights class and to get power into a shot required an almost tangible effort, like trying to shove a car.

I’d admit that the tension of the strings might not have been adjusted for a number of years (read never) however it was clear that the force needed to play the ball was inherent in the device. Couple this with the tiny sweet spot, where accuracy is achieved, and the racket itself had a high margin for shot error and a high chance of causing player fatigue.

This was compared to using an aluminium frame and large headed racket circa 1980s. Light weight this racket could be swung easily with speed, though even with a short back-swing the tennis ball would fly-off the strings like a rubber bouncy-ball off a brick wall. The large sweet spot helped as well, making almost any shot return possible.

Wouldn’t it be fun to see the greats of today play using the equipment of yesteryear? It would give us a chance to put some of the old footage of Rod Laver and Jimmy Connors into perspective. Sure it would be unfair to judge them equally but it would be interesting to see “fastest serves” and how accurate their shots are using equipment designs from the 1960s?

At least it would make me feel better about getting hit in the head.

(Note: above was submitted to The Sunday Age Sport 19/01/2011.)