Monthly Archives: June 2010

Just How Long Was It!

In the previous post, I made allusions to that fact that I couldn’t really explain how how long the longest match of all time was in tennis terms. In case you crawled out from under a rock, I’m referring to the epic match between John Isner and Nicholas Mahut, which went on for 11 hours and 5 minutes.

So I had a brainwave, like the time i decided to insert a fork into a electric socket so that I could could plug in an appliance (I forget which one) because the appliance had a two pin plug and the socket was a three pin outlet and all because I couldn’t find the multi plug adapter.

Needless to say, i was shocked by the result I got and would very much like if everyone was shocked by my attempts to explain how long this match lasted (although i doubt that!). So since I can’t explain it in tennis terms, why don’t i try explain it other easy to understand, everyday terms.

Bear with me! It won’t go on for that long!

1. You could watch The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (the first one) 3 times over and still have time to cook a meal!

2. You could listen to M.I. Anoti track 260 times over and over and still squeeze in the L boogie intro 260 times too!

3. Watch last season’s Man Utd vs Arsenal match 7 times and still be able to see Arsene Wenger being sent to the stands, where had to stand (get it?) because there were no empty seats.

4. Be stuck in Oshodi – Iyana Ipaja rush hour traffic back to back 5 times and be distracted from the tedious journey by Gala and canned Milo hawkers and the inescapable cases of Lagos road rage.

5. Flush a toilet 3,990 times and be amazed by the technological advances in indoor plumbing.

Now I know I promised that this post wouldn’t take so long, but writing it has actually taken more days than the match took. Maybe it’s a tribute to my doggedness and dedication to my blog. Or maybe not.

It’s Still On!

Just before we get to the main subject which informs the post title, it would be remiss of me to not mention THAT match!

So we lost. We didn’t actually lose, but it still felt like a loss. Maybe because we had so many chances to get that crucial third goal that we probably didn’t deserve but could have still gotten anyway. And it wasn’t just Yakubu, contrary to what most people remember, it was practically everyone on that wearing green playing a part in ensuring that we got what we worked for; a tepid draw!

I only saw the second half of the match standing in my sitting room and even that was punctuated by a colleague calling repeatedly to know the scores and my brother making all kinds of noises with his mouth. Why do people do that? No, not making noises with their mouths. Even i do that! I mean supporting your national team and feeling smug and almost satisfied when then lose or are still losing.

And it’s not just my brother or my colleague; it’s also wack sports commentators and analysts. It’s almost like they wish that Nigeria lose so they can feel better about their miserable lives. Like if Nigeria loses or lost, it would give one more thing to rail about apart from of course their sorry existence.

No apologies for the way i feel about this matter. Wishing your national team well is not necessarily a prerequisite for patriotism but wishing your country fails so that you can feel better about yourself or so that you can be proved right is a sure sign that the Nigerian Immigration Service should be thinking about revoking your passport.

Well, one good thing has come out from all this; no longer will i have to listen to such mind-deadening, brain-cells-slaying commentary from those sorry excuses for commentators on radio. And this blog can move on and live on and talk on about other sports which may surprise you are still going on during this WC

And one of the biggest is The Open Championships, also known as Wimbledon, where history is being made this very moment as i type this. How? The first round match between American John Isner and France’s Nicolas Mahut which started Tuesday (two days ago) is still without a winner. The match has been going on for an incredible 10 hours and still we are no closer to finding out who is going on to the second round!

The scores right now are at an impossible:
N Mahut 4 6 7 6 59
J Isner 6 3 6 7 59

To explain how long, in tennis terms, this match has been fails me. An average men’s match a a grand slam takes about two hours, so for this match to have taken five times that is absolutely mind-boggling. Can one even begin to imagine the stamina and fitness of the respective players?

The fifth set by itself will qualify as the longest match of all time in tennis. And the records just keep tumbling. Longest match (games played): Mahut-Isner currently 163 games
Longest fifth set and longest set at a grand slam: Mahut-Isner’s 59-59 (7 hours and 6 minutes)
Most aces by a player and match total: 98 Isner, 95 Mahut

Now i think the only question on everybody’s mind as the third day of this match gets under way is not who is going to advance to the next round but rather how much longer this guys can go at it. I mean a match that managed to break a scoreboard, make an umpire come down from his chair during the match to stretch his legs and take a drink and even forced the players to take a toilet break surely deserves an encore.

The winner of this epic match will not go down in history, but rather the winners (for they are both winners already) will have their names forever etched in the history books as a tribute to their doggedness, dedication to their sport and competitive spirit.

Isn’t that the whole idea behind competitive sport?

There Is Nothing Quite Like It!

Now that heads have cooled down and temperatures fallen back to their normal levels, maybe it’s time we examine THAT match and maybe find reasons why things happened the way they did. Or maybe not!

But there appears to be one thing to be learnt or gleaned from the post-match reaction, which is this: There is nothing quite like a Super Eagles defeat to unite all Nigerians. For once, every Nigerian irrespective of tribe, creed, IQ, tax bracket was united in the hate for Sani Kaita. I mean not since Hope ’93 have all Nigerians spoken with one voice and with one word in hate or adulation of one person. Such a sight to behold!!!

But surely, we should have more deserving hate figures than the poor aboki in this country. Have all our politicians suddenly had a change of mind and actually stopping raping this land dry? Why aren’t we insulting their mothers and declaring fatwas on their heads (going along with the aboki theme)?

And of course, like they always do, the social networking sites helped to make it worse, by spreading peoples’ inane comments and and helping construct a mountain range out of a few potholes. I was thinking of linking to some of the comments or even posting a sample of them here but then i thought; wouldn’t i be perpetuating such mindless bunkum!?

Now if we could only harness our new found unity and harmony and apply such to some of our more serious problems as a country instead of pouring opprobrium on a hapless young man (?) whose only offence is giving more than what is probably required in the service of his country.

It’s all very simplistic to blame Kaita for the loss, if we want to forget that we had chances late on to win the match and that the Jabulani ball slipped out of Enyeama’s hands for the second goal. Of course, his sending off played a part in the loss but how many times have we seen a team with 10 men put up a strong performance against another team without a full complement of players? And what we put up was definitely not a strong performance.

So where we go from here? Probably going home in a few hours. And if we are, surely it won’t be only Kaita’s fault. Just because Sani’s last name has entered into Nigerian English lexicon as a synonym for sabotage and career hara-kiri doesn’t mean he is the one to blame when torrential rain falls on the day before that day that we had decided to go fix the faulty windscreen wipers to our car and then we are stuck in our car with the fogged up windows and the sweltering heat at the side of the expressway, praying and waiting earnestly for the rain to stop.

Enough said!!!

Is It Just Me?

Doesn’t the Black Stars midfielder Stephen Appiah look a lot like Kevin Garnett; the power forward for the Boston Celtics?

Funny Feeling

Because I’m still hungover from having only two hours of sleep because i just had to watch the NBA Finals game, this weekly round up should be a less than sarcastic one. Not like there has ever existed a weekly round up on this blog, just that I can’t seem to squeeze out much sarcasm from my tired brain.

Well, since i mentioned the Lakers – Celtics game earlier, i think i’ll tipoff with that. The Boston Celtics lead the LA Lakers 3-2 in the best of seven series courtesy of a 92-86 win with finally a strong showing from the Celtics ‘captain’ Paul Pierce with his 27 points. The thing you have to know about the Celtics is that unlike most NBA teams, they do not have a franchise player i.e. a Kobe or LeBron but they rather depend on team effort and points from everybody even the bench (and sometimes especially the bench). Which is why they have become adept at beating superstar teams (see Lakers in 2008, Magic and Cavaliers since whenever!)

And if the NBA is still serious about expanding their fan base, surely they should be thinking of changing game times to more friendly times for international audiences. I mean, if we could move swimming times and the time for the football final at the last Olympics to suit them, a little quid pro quo is in order. At least, it should help relieve my persistent early morning migraines.

I read somewhere that Lewis Hamilton won the Canadian F1 Grand Prix. Didn’t even try watch it. You see, ever since the F1 dons decided on stop refueling during the race, the races have become about as processional as a funeral convoy. All you have to do is watch the qualifying on Saturday and whichever team is at the top of the grid is going to win the next day. That is if the team’s two drivers do not conspire to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory like Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber did a few weeks back.

Just when I was thinking it was time to crown Roger Federer, the “Baale of Halle”, he finally lost at the Gerry Weber Open Halle, Germany to Lleyton Hewitt in three sets for the first time in 17 matches against the Australian. As the Swiss has won the title five times, he surely must be getting tired of winning and surely tired of beating Hewitt. I know i would be! I mean how many ways can you inflict heart crushing defeat on an opponent?

Now, to my feeling. You know that feeling you get when you wake up from sleep with groggy eyes, a head splitting headache and rubber legs and then you wonder why you even bothered to sleep at all? You don”t? Well i had that feeling not only when i woke up this morning but also when i saw the most impressive team yet of the WC dismember a hapless Australian side. Not only was Joachim ‘fine boy’ Loew fielding the youngest German side since 1934 (yes! 1934!!!), the number of ‘immigrants’ (Ozil, Gomez, Khadira, Podolski, Marin) in the team beggars belief! Its almost like the Germans are trying to make up for the pogroms of the ’30s and the Holocaust! But of course there are still the blue eyed Teutonic players in the team, just have a look at Mertesacker’s eyes! I have funny feeling about this team and its not just because of the immigrant situation but also because an attacking German team is a thing to fear and tremble before. They may not have the correct mix of youth and experience but i think this team will have some teams quaking in their respective football boots with a soft full-grain leather upper and an integrated heel counter.
I know it is too early to say i told u so, but if the standard of football at this WC doesn’t improve, i might have to scream it at the top of my lungs!!!!!

It Won’t Be A Wonder-Full Cup

So the World Cup starts in a few hours and I’m not big on predictions but one thing i seem to be sure of is this; this WC – as i will be calling from now on – will not go down in history as one of the greatest or most wonderful. Maybe it has something to do with me being an eternal pessimist or the fact that we all have an idea or can count on two and a half soiled fingers (maybe it’s just me) of our left hand which captain is going to lift the 24K gold plated trophy on July 11.
But history seems to agree with or so it seems. It appears that the greatness of a WC, quite like intelligence, skin pigmentation or having a sixth toe, skips a generation. Okay, i couldn’t quite make it to the first WC or even subsequent editions, but the medium of the box tells me that i should not be too expectant. Don’t believe me?
Let’s take it one edition at a time until we run out of grainy footage.
2006WC was one the best, the organization was typically German, the refereeing was indifferent – which was a good thing (did i hear you scream Graham Poll?) and the goalssss. Ahhhh!!!!!!!. Who can forget the Maxi Rodriguez goal against Mexico in the second round? Or the Cambiasso 25 pass goal against Germany? Jens Lehmann is still shaking his head over that goal. And one of the best WC matches ever – the semi final between Italy and the hosts. No goals scored until the 116th minute, but it was still an enthralling match.
2002WC was definitely not it! Atrocious refereeing, noisy fans (sounds familiar – pun intended), ticket trouble and so many dour 1-0 matches, you wanted to keep on hitting your head on the wall, if it would make it all stop. And for remarkable matches….. there were none. Never ever in my life have i seen a match with 8 goals scored by one team and still was watching-paint-dry boring.
1998WC brings back memories of standing on a stool outside the window of the neighbourhood chemist’s shop just to catch a glimpse of Denmark vs Nigeria. Although we lost, it was all worth it. The WC had great goals, feverish support and an eventual champion without a recognized striker. But it also had something else; matches to talk about for life – Holland vs Argentina in the quarters, (Bergkamp’s goal was pure heaven), Holland vs Brazil in the semis, England vs Argentina in the second round (our first taste of Owen), Croatia vs Germany in the quarters and surely Nigeria vs Spain in the group stages on June 12!
1994WC kind of told us but we didn’t listen that she was not going to be fine. Right from the opening ceremony where Whitney Houston fell off the dais and Diana Ross missed a penalty and then the goal fell apart, we should have known. Not even the record attendances could make it any better. This was the first sporting event that an event on the field led to a death off it (Escobar). If only for that, this would still have been a quite lacklustre WC, but we also witnessed the emergence of defense as the surest form of attack with a defensive Brazil (surely an onomatopoeia) winning it. Guess that is what you get for taking a WC to a footballing backwater.
So I’m not holding my breath, actually I am. But not for this WC but for 2014 when football when football goes to one of the places it truly calls home.

Insults are Welcome!

So I’ve decided to start a blog and a sport blog at that. Why? Dunno!

Someone once advised to write about what i know and if there is one thing i know, regrettably it’s sports. Regrettably because it’s about the only thing i know.

So what is this blog going to be about? Well, one thing you can count on is that it would be irregular, but not as irregular as Emile Heskey scoring a goal. And it should be generally about sports with an obvious bias for football(i won’t call it soccer!) and my favourite teams in various leagues.

But no worries, i would try my best to cover all other sports. You see like i said before, i know my sports; all kinds of sports except Australian Rules Football –  if you can enlighten me on how they manage to fill stadiums, i would be very much obliged.

So that’s it! Now to explaining the title of this post. So if anyone feels affected enough by the contents of this blog and fells the need to respond by way of comments, queries, insults or corrections, knock your self out. But be warned, i can give as good as i get!