Archive for the ‘School Sport’ Category

Channel 9 NRL Commentators Still the Worst

Ray Hadley image: www.smh.com.au

Channel 9 Rugby League commentators appear to have bowed to social media outrage.

The talking-heads seem to have thought footy fans tuned in to hear about them and not the game. For years they have steadily gotten worse – waffling about any triviality and ignoring the athletic spectacle unfolding before them.

As commentators they were (and still are) an embarrassment. No other sporting coverage so flagrantly ignores the event it is meant to broadcast. Any worker, in any occupation, who exhibited such dereliction would be fired instantly – and deserve it.

Until now Channel 9 had chosen to ignore the mounting criticism.

But one or two comments in media-watch articles and radio talkback programs found responsive ears. Footy fans tired of hearing about Ray Hadley’s hair cream or Ray Warren’s lunch decided to make their frustrations known.

And what began as a trickle has become an avalanche.

Prior to Sunday the commentators only talked about the game when play was within 20 meters of a try line. On Sunday, they made an effort to do their jobs and call the game.

By the standards of broadcasts of other codes it was still a piss-poor effort. I counted 38 diversions from the game at hand; each of which averaged about a minute (almost half the game); none of it of any interest or relevance to the match being played.

Sadly for NRL fans this is a meteoric improvement on the weekly game-commentary up to this point.

Channel 9 needs to sack their NRL commentary team – all of them. They are doing a disservice to the game, its players, and the fans.

Moreover, Channel 9 needs to make their broadcasts about the football, not the advertising. There isn’t a square inch of space at the grounds, on the players’ jerseys, or on the TV screens that isn’t used to advertise something.

The entire broadcast is insulting.

Differences Sorted Out the Old Fashioned Way at UFC Fight Night 65

Image: www.ufc.com

Adelaide born UFC Aussie Bec Rawlings (5-4) is furious over comments made by Lisa Ellis (15-9).

Last month Ellis began a social media war by accusing Rawlings of being a bad mother. Ellis said Rawlings’ decision to train part-time in America (away from her family – now based in Brisbane) showed how little she cared for her family.

 “Busy momma!” Ellis twittered. “I’d rather be busy than leave my family to go ‘train’ somewhere else.”

Rawlings was incensed. “You don’t mess with my family, you just don’t,” she responded.

“She dropped my Mum into it and she dropped my children into it. She is going to pay.

“Some people are just dumb and need to be humbled.

“When I’m in America my kids stay with my family because I am working my arse off to try and feed them.

“I’m doing all I can to give them a good life.”

Rawlings and Ellis met and became good friends on the Ultimate Fighter season 20 show. They are both mothers and supported each other during the long absence from their families.

However, the two straw-weights had an acrimonious falling-out; one which, it appears, has only worsened.

Rawlings and Ellis settled their differences at UFC Fight Night 65 in Adelaide. Rawlings emerged victorious via a rear naked choke at 4:09 in the first round.

Chess Grandmaster Ignites Gender War

Nigel Short image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigel_Short

UK chess grandmaster Nigel Short has defended his comments in New in Chess Magazine where he claimed women lack the brain power to succeed at the top chess levels.

The female chess community were outraged when Short asserted that the way in which women’s brains were ‘hardwired’ limited their capacity for success in chess.

The comments have since appeared on Sky News where Mr Short has appeared to defend them.

“One is not better than the other,” he said in the magazine, “We just have different skills. It would be wonderful to see more girls playing chess, and at a higher level, but rather than fretting about inequality, perhaps we should just gracefully accept it as a fact.”

Short’s comments echo those of legendary grandmaster Garry Kasparov, who defeated Short for the world title in 1993: “Women, by their nature, are not exceptional chess players,” he said at the time. “They are not great fighters.”

In his interview with Sky News Short claimed his comments were ‘quite uncontroversial’. The physiological reality behind his comments, he claimed, is beyond dispute: Men’s brains are ’10 per cent larger’ than women’s.

“Women have better verbal skills, women have all sorts of skills that are better than men. But the gap (in chess ability) is quite large and I believe that’s down to sex differences.

“I don’t have the slightest problem in acknowledging that my wife possesses a much higher degree of emotional intelligence than I do,” said Short in the magazine. “Likewise, she doesn’t feel embarrassed in asking me to manoeuvre the car out of our narrow garage.”

Short has received a barrage of scathing assaults for his comments. He told Sky News that ‘an amazing number of people have (since) criticised’ him.

Head of the London Casual Chess Club, Amanda Ross, was one of the first, saying in The Telegraph, it was ‘incredibly damaging when someone so respected basically endorses sexism.’

Short responded on Twitter: “You seem to suffer from incomprehension. Men and women do have different brains. This is a biological fact.

“Furthermore, I never said women have inferior brains. That is your crude and false attempt to caricature me.”

Judit Polgar, world women’s chess champion, youngest grandmaster in history, and victor in the one game she had against Short then waded into the debate: “’Different but equal,’ she posted on Twitter, “but not equal to chess is inferior in chess terms. Pls explain.”

Short answered: “Indeed, I have a poor score against the best female chess player in history. And what does that prove exactly?”

He then drove the point home with: “Men and women having very different brains (and therefore skills) is not a sex issue? How so?

There has been no further response.

One has to wonder why there are women’s and men’s divisions at all – if there are no differences between gender abilities.

Go! St. Louis Marathon Winner Disqualified for Cheating

Kendell Schler image: http://www.stltoday.com/sports/other/fake-go-st-louis-marathon-winner-disqualified-for-boston/article_3ccaac16-1a45-5a14-aaf1-723fa3feb5df.html

26 year-old Kendall Schler of Columbia, Missouri, has been stripped of her winner’s title in the GO! St. Louis Marathon.

Officials became suspicious when Schler failed to register several early checkpoint times. Nor could any of the race-start officials remember her toeing the line for the starter’s gun. Neither did the race cyclist (who rides with the lead runners) ever remember seeing her.

Schler had finished third in last year’s St. Louis Marathon, but had her place and time voided for doing exactly the same thing!

Nancy Lieberman, president of GO! St. Louis, said in the St. Louis Post Dispatch: “It’s a difficult situation for everybody, including the people who run a fair race and don’t get the recognition they should receive. I said to her (Schler), ‘It looks like you perpetrated a fraud.’ I have nothing legitimate that says she officially started and ran 26.2 miles in 2014 or 2015.”

Schler stood to win $1500 and an immediate entry into the prestigious Boston Marathon (being raced Monday) for a first place.

Organisers have found she removed the timing strip form her official competitor’s bib and crept quietly onto the course mid-race.

When confronted, Schler admitted to removing her race timing chip in both the 2014 and 2015 events.

She has since been banned from the GO! St. Louis event.

Ms Schler could not be contacted for a response.

Andrea Karl image: http://www.stltoday.com/sports/other/fake-go-st-louis-marathon-winner-disqualified-for-boston/article_3ccaac16-1a45-5a14-aaf1-723fa3feb5df.html

Real winner of Go! St. Louis marathon Andrea Karl image: http://www.stltoday.com/sports/other/fake-go-st-louis-marathon-winner-disqualified-for-boston/article_3ccaac16-1a45-5a14-aaf1-723fa3feb5df.html

The official winner was Andrea Karl, a doctoral candidate at Washington University. Karl ran the full course in 2 hours, 54 minutes, 28 seconds. But she crossed the finish line almost unnoticed and was told another woman had finished before her.

Koppenhaver Tweets Mike Tyson from his Jail Cell

Mike Tyson Image: en.wikipedia.org

In a tell-all interview about his new book Undisputed Truth on ‘In depth with Graham Beninger’ Mike Tyson has told of his decision to get his face tattooed.

In a surprising announcement Tyson said he wanted the original design to be hearts.

“I was going to be the Man of Hearts, baby,” said the one-time Baddest Man on the Planet.

“I was very close to doing it, but the tattooist said, ‘I ain’t doing that.’”

The artist asked for a few days in which to create a different design.

When he saw it Tyson was impressed. “I thought it was so hot.”

John Koppenhaver image;  commons.wikimedia.org

John Koppenhaver image; commons.wikimedia.org

But not everyone agrees with the reason Tyson has given.

Tweeting from his prison cell ex-MMA fighter Jonathan Paul Koppenhaver (aka War Machine) said he could relate to Tyson’s need to hide behind the ink.

“I know why you tattooed your face, why you hated the man in the mirror,” Koppenhaver tweeted.

“I know what it is to hate those who love you, and to sabotage those relationships. I used to smash my own face in.

“I used to smash my face in worse than any of my MMA fights, and just look into the mirror and cry – hating myself.

‘I know that you don’t know me, I was never on your level as a fighter, but I hope you’ll hear me out, I know that what I have to say can help you.

Christy Mack image: en.wikipedia.org

Christy Mack image: en.wikipedia.org

“As I write this I am rotting in prison. I caught my girl (Christy Mack) in bed with some dude and they both ended up in hospital. What happened ain’t no mystery, but you of all people know about our corrupt system, and about vindictive women.”

Kopppenhaver felt compelled to make contact with the ex-heavyweight boxing champion after reading Tyson’s autobiography. “It sounded way too much like the one I had been writing.”

“I wanted to kill myself so bad,” Koppenhaver’s tweet continued, “I didn’t have the balls … That just made me hate myself more. I know all about the sexual addiction, all about a horrible childhood, and all about the belief that violence solves everything.

“I was an Alpha male and was entitled to whatever I wanted. I never got as much as you, but as much as I did get, it was never enough. Noting could fill that void, and even if it could happen, I would have found a way to ruin it.

“Once I let the Holy Spirit inside of me I began to change man, and without actively trying. I have tried to change in the past, seen shrinks, taken meds, all that – we cannot change by ourselves! Temporarily, maybe, but not permanently.

“God can/will change us though, if only we will submit to him.

“I know how it is, to hear that type of crap, and to scoff at it, trust me. I was a legit anti-Christ type dude, the old me would never believe this, but it is what it is.

“Entertain this Mike, let yourself find that peace you always longed for, be the husband and father that you aspired to be.

“I will keep you and your family in my prayers. You’re no more screwed up than I was but, if God can forgive me, and change me, he can do the same for you and even for people much worse than us. I want this for you so bad man, your book made me cry, way too many of the phrases could have been written by me. Good luck”

Tyson has not issued a response.

Titans Post First 2015 Win – But Still a Long Way to Go

commons.wikimedia.org

The struggling Gold Coast Titans have posted their first win of the 2015 season. On the weekend they overcame a hapless Cronulla Sharks to move to 1-3 for the season.

Saved from certain extinction by the NRL, plagued by drug charges against five of its senior players, and wracked with systemic failures and a dwindling support base the Titans are playing for their survival this year.

Captain Nate Myles said, “We need to create more of a winning feeling through the team.” This as the Titans admitted their reluctance to renew Myles’ contract for 2016.

Coach Neil Henry is fighting to keep his Captain at the club. But it seems the recruiting department have other ideas.

In-form centre James Roberts has been whispered to be high on the Titans’ re-signing wish list.

The 22 year-old is attracting attention from other clubs, but says he is happy playing for the Coast.

Once considered the fastest man in the NRL, Roberts spent most of last season on the sidelines with a broken ankle. He has now played 16 consecutive matches for the sky blues and has scored a creditable 20 tries in 32 matches. Roberts says he is finding form again and is keen to put more points on the board.

Roberts was sensational against Cronulla on the weekend. He blew past defenders to score two tries – one of which involved a heart-stopping intercept in the last five minutes of the game. He also wrestled the ball away from a Cronulla attacker to put big Dave Taylor over for another.

Roberts was yet another reject picked up by the Titans for a song. Penrith cut him loose early last year and Roberts says he is keen to repay the club.

One Sport Review Slams Athletics Australia

Image of David Grace: http://athletics.com.au/About-Us/About-Athletics-Australia/Board-of-Directors

Chair of the ‘One Sport’ review (former Australian cricket coach) John Buchanan has slammed Athletics Australia for its lack of accountability, transparency, and woeful organisational culture.

The admonition comes in the wake of a scathing report. It urges the Australian Sports Commission to reduce funding to AA by a whopping 40 per cent, unless far-reaching and immediate changes are made.

The failures and embarrassments of last year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow prompted the investigation.

Among these were: The very pubic slanging match between head coach Eric Hollingsworth and hurdler Sally Pearson, the underachievement of all athletes, and the very ill-kept secret of poor team morale.

Buchanan’s investigative panel included former sprint champion Melinda Gainsford-Taylor, Lynne Williams, Mark Bartels, and Matt Favier. Together they submitted a 60-page document outlining 16 key recommendations.

Among the recommendations are the removal of at least two of the current board members and the very close scrutiny of current president David Grace.

Stakeholders like little Athletics needed to be given more inclusion and a greater say in nationwide athletic activities.

The report calls for an oversight committee constituted by representatives of the ASC, AA, and Australian Institute of Sport. This committee would be expected to meet monthly and monitor the pace of the other reforms.

The Athletics Australia board has been given six months in which to get its affairs in order.

An 18 month timeframe has been given in which to make the proposed changes.

Exceeding this timeframe will result in crucial funding being withheld. Athletics Australia is currently without a major sponsor and so relies wholly on the Sport Commission’s $7.8 million (2013/14) to survive.

John Buchanan pulled no punches: “All we can say is if they continue to do what they are doing, they’re going to continue to get what they get.

“If they continue to do that, we have made it pretty clear, and the Sports Commission support this, that their funding is going to be reduced.

“I think that is reasonable to expect of any business. If you continue what you’re doing and having a culture that has been quite fragmented for a period of time then why should people invest in you? It’s as simple as that.”

Big Challenge for Anthony ‘Bull’ McCraken Against Vaitele Soi.

Vaitele Soi Image: pacific.scoop.co.nz

Australian boxing legend Danny Green has said Aussie Anthony ‘Bull’ McCracken will need all his strength, wits, and skill if he is to emerge victorious against Samoan juggernaut Vaitele Soi.

The two step on to the canvas together on Saturday night in Christchurch in what is expected to be one of the world cruiser-weight fights of the year.

Green has sparred in excess of 40 rounds with McCracken in camps preparing him for fights against Manny Siaca and B. J. Flores.

“Bull McCracken is one of the toughest blokes I’ve been in the ring with and it was a real thrill to see him climb the world ratings, because I know how hard he works,’ said Green to the Courier-Mail.

“He’s a very powerful fighter, but he will have to be at his best against Soi, who can box and punch.”

31 year-old McCracken has a 17-7-1 record. His most recent upset-victory in Auckland, in November, against highly rated David Aloua, catapulted him into the world rankings.

But McCraken has his work cut out against Soi.

Four years younger than his opponent, Soi boasts an enviable 25-1-0 record. His one loss, against Commonwealth Games gold medallist Brad ‘Hollywood’ Pitt, is still hotly disputed.

Also on the Saturday night fight card, at the Horncastle Arena, Christchurch, are former Australian cruiserweight champion Daniel Ammann against American wrecking-machine Brian Minto. These two and six other classy cruiserweights from around the South Pacific will be fighting out a Super 8 cruiser-weight elimination event.

Warriors rugby league captain Monty Betham will fight former one-day English cricket captain Adam Hollioake.

And hammer-fisted New Zealand cricketer Jesse Ryder squares-off against ‘The Mouth from the South’ outspoken blogger Cameron Slater.

The Dark Origins of the Nike Logo

Image: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Old_Nike_logo.jpg

Nike’s ‘Just Do It’ slogan has become one of the most memorable and successful advertising tagline in history. But Dan Wieden, of Portland’s advertising firm Wieden & Kennedy, has admitted its genesis was anything but wholesome.

Wieden & Kennedy were approached by Nike in the 1900s. The shoe company was in a decade long battle with rival Reebok for control of the US footwear market.

Nike had targeted its branding towards the female market. Its success was buoyed by the popularity of jogging during that time, but widespread appeal was still lacking.

The night prior to presenting the new campaign, to Nike boss Phil Knight, Wieden still had no idea about the tagline to be used to tie the campaign together. He, and his firm had suggested, and rejected, countless ideas.

And then Wieden – for no apparent reason – thought of Gary Gilmore.

Gilmore was one of society’s outcasts. He’d endured a violent upbringing and had been in and out of institutions and prisons all his life. His rap sheet contained all manner of violent crimes and robberies.

After being released from his latest stint behind bars, in Indiana, Gilmore moved to live with distant relatives in Utah. But it wasn’t long before he returned to his life of crime.

In July 1976 he robbed and murdered petrol station attendant Max Hensen. The next evening he murdered motel manager Bennie Bushnell.

The police quickly apprehended him. He was convicted of the murders and sentenced to death.

Gary Gilmore. Image: www.news.com.au

Gary Gilmore. Image: www.news.com.au

When given a choice Gilmore chose to die by firing squad rather than hanging.

During 1972 and 1976 various US states were abolishing capital punishment. And there was a great deal of public opposition to Gilmore’s impending execution. Both the American Civil Liberties Union and Gilmore’s mother were vocal opponents. They worked to have his sentence commuted to life in prison.

Gilmore himself told them to “butt out”.

After a last meal of steak and potatoes, milk and coffee – the steak and potatoes were left untouched – Gilmore was strapped into a chair in front of a firing squad.

Before the hoodwas brought down over his face Gilmore was asked if he had any last words. To which he famously replied: “Let’s do it!”

Wieden isn’t sure why he thought about Gilmore’s final words at that moment. He was trying to come up with a pithy way of appealing to all women interested in fitness – from those beginning a walking regimen to world record holders. But Gilmore’s words just popped into his head.

“Gary had killed some people in Utah,” Wieden told reporters, “which is not a good place to kill people because they kill you right back. He was convicted and sentenced to die by firing squad.

“So they brought him out, put him in the chair … and before they put the sack over his head they asked him if he had any last words. And he said, ‘Let’s do it’.

“I remember when I read that, I was like, ‘That’s amazing! How, in the face of that much uncertainty, do you push through that?’

“I didn’t like the ‘let’s’ thing. I just changed that because otherwise I would have to give him credit. Now I don’t really have to.”

The ‘Just Do It’ tagline featured alongside the 80 year-old runner Walt Stack in 1988. It jettisoned Nike sales from US $877 million to $9.2 billion in a decade.

ANZ Netball Championship Ad Causes a Stir

Play Like a Girl. Image: www.mews.com.au

Controversy has descended upon the ANZ Netball Championships latest ad campaign.

The ‘Play Like A Girl’ campaign features a picture of netballer Sharni Layton with a shiner and bloodshot left eye. Critics argue that the ad draws eerie comparisons with domestic violence pictures – especially the recent ‘Get Your Game Face On’ by Covergirl. This campaign was run specifically to draw attention to the recent spate of high-profile US sportsmen involved in domestic violence against their partners.

Channel Nine journalist and sportswoman Sam Squiers (operator of the blog Sportette) said the ad ‘instantly’ conjured thoughts of a domestic violence campaign.

She says she understood what the executives were trying to achieve, but that they had failed miserably

“I’m constantly campaigning for women’s sports,” said Ms Squiers, “and am the first to say the athletes are tough and their game far from slow or weak.

“I urge those unfamiliar with women’s sports to watch the rugby union and league. The hits are hard, the girls are tough. Yet straight away I have a problem when I see this image. It doesn’t sell women’s sports a tough at all.

“There are other ways of conveying that message,” she continued, “without this confronting image. The game has demonstrated inspiring scenes of toughness, heroism, strength, guts and glory thought out its years.

“A bloodshot, black eye doesn’t. Do you need a black eye to prove the players are tough?”

But not everyone agrees. Liz Ellis responded saying she ‘loved it’

Writing in The Age Newspaper she said, “To draw a line between this image and domestic violence campaign is unfair to both, and suggest sadly that we live in an age when the assumption can be made that when a woman is bruised she is a victim.”

She went on to say, “I don’t think this conversation would have happened if it were a blokes sport.”

CoverGirl Get Your Game Face On. Photo: www.wjla.com

CoverGirl Get Your Game Face On. Photo: www.wjla.com