Monday, October 23, 2006

Sympathy for the Devil

Here's to a sporting legend. A man you either loved or hated (the latter, in my case). There's just no denying that the guy was inhuman at times, his ruthless efficiency transforming a sport that was dominated by cavaliers in the mold of Senna. The drivers have been trained to become well-oiled machines, even less error-prone than the cars themselves, just to match this guy.

It is a sad day, however, when a sporting great finally calls it a day. His mammoth drive today at Interlagos showed that he's not a spent force by any stretch of the imagination. I hope he enjoys his temporary retirement from the sport, because even though he may not come back to race.. this guy will definitely be a key figure in the paddock for a very long time.

Thanks for the memories, Michael.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Fan

Sports. I figured out why I'm such an addict to sports.

Its always been a known fact to those around me that if people are competing in doing something, I will watch. It doesn't matter what they're competing at, as long as someone is out to win. It reached a stage where I would watch Darts live on television. Phil "the Power" Taylor is undefeatable, despite the best efforts of Scholten and Co. Cricket, Rugby, Tennis, Ice Hockey, American Football, Football, Basketball, Formula 1.. those are sports that I not only watch, but have a decent knowledge base about and a pretty up-to-date awareness of results and standings.

There's one sport up there, a major sport, that I never had any interest in. America's favourite pasttime.. Baseball. The other day my flatmate, a big Oakland A's fan, tuned in to watch the 4th game of the ALCS between the Tigers and the A's. I sat there watching with him and was slowly getting more interested in the game. Its not my first time watching baseball, I've had many times where I've tried to force myself to watch but was completely disinterested. I understand the fundamentals, I've physically played the game before and I do hold some trivial knowledge of current as well as historic players and events. I just never managed to get INTO to.

Why so different this time? Sense of occasion. That's when I realized what draws me into watching all these weird and wonderful sports. Why I actually sat there and watched the Gold medal game of Curling during the last winter olympics. Why I would tune in and cheer when Phil Taylor got a crucial 180 in the last few legs of the Darts championship final. Why I would hold my breath while Rocket Ronnie O'Sullivan raced to a 100 break in the quarterfinal of the Snooker World Championship. Occasion.. the feeling that I was witnessing something historic. Something that will forever go down in the folklore of that sport. Even if it wasn't exactly Micheal Jordan's last 10 seconds shot to win the Championship in Game 6 over the Utah Jazz in 1998. It doesn't have to be that momentous as to almost define a sport. A quarter of that magic is enough to capture this big kid's imagination.

But that's not the whole story. That's only a gateway in. Once I'm sucked into a sport through a moment of brilliance, I'll keep on watching it and will have an active interest in it. It becomes hard, maintaining such a large portfolio of interest in so many sports.. but some ALWAYS take precedence. Cricket has been on the backburner since the Ashes ended, and will come back to the fore once the 2007 World Cup starts. Rugby was big on the agenda during the Tri-Nations.. but it'll have to wait until the 6 Nations is back to spark my interest again. The same goes for American football and Hockey, which I loosely follow (who's hot and who's not) up until playoff time where things really get interesting.

Football, however, is a different story. That's just one sport that will forever hold me captive, no matter who's playing and in what competition. I'm always up for watching a match, even U21 internationals or pre-season friendlies. No matter how big of a sports nut I may be, I'm still sane enough to recognize what the best sport out of them all actually is.