So the Storm are thinking about appealing the decision to not allow them to earn points this season. Fair enough. I have an idea that will add drama to the Storm’s season and give them something to play for. Put them on negative 30 points. Let them play for the standard two points per game. But make it double or nothing. If they don’t reach 0 points by the end of the year, kick them out.
Archives For Sport
Skins, a sportswear company, was a sponsor of the Melbourne Storm until today. They’ve just launched a marketing campaign called “Cheat Legal”…
Here’s the ad.
Guaranteed to be parodied in the next 12 hours I’d say…
It didn’t take long for the Storm to be compared to Adolf Hitler. It’s just a shame the Downfall parody videos have been removed from YouTube. Hitler’s reaction would have been typically irate.
“To put yesterday in perspective, the Melbourne Storm fraudsters have achieved something that Kaiser Wilhelm couldn’t achieve, nor Adolf Hitler nor Hideki Tojo. The list of rugby league’s premiers runs uninterrupted through the two world wars they triggered and should have run proudly into infinity. But, as of yesterday, two breaks appear in that noble lineage, for the years 2007 and 2009. Now the words “No Premiers” appear where previously the Storm had been.”
Quality journalism from the Australian.
So the Melbourne Storm were cheating the salary cap. Hands up who was shocked by the news that a team boasting so many representative players was rorting the salary cap…
Didn’t think so.
I guess this makes the Might Manly Warringah Sea Eagles back-to-back champions.
If you’re a sporting correspondent keeping viewers up to date with the happenings in a match – it pays to know more than the show’s anchor who’s crossing to you about the happenings of the match you’re watching.
Of all the people in all the blogosphere Kutz is the only person I have lived with in Brisbane. Tim also blogs, and Mattias used to. I also work with Kutz. And go to the same college. And we play futsal together, and very soon we’ll play football together.
For a guy who almost staged a coup on my only claim to presidential authority (QUT Christians in 2005) we get on surprisingly well and spend a lot of time together. Kutz is a deep thinker, who I think sometimes thinks so deeply he gets lost in his own thoughts while trying to articulate them. Lots of people know Kutz – both online and in the real world. His two greatest personal achievements are convincing his wife to marry him and playing international roller hockey – that’s my assessment not his. How many sporting internationals do you know? I can count them on two fingers. While the cynics out there might think that picking an obscure sport to play is kind of cheating – Roller Hockey is hard core (I watched a tournament once) and Kutz was a standout.
Anyway, here are his tips on how to be awesome at Roller Hockey. He gets extra points for diagrams – though I suspect he was making them when he should have been writing a sermon.
I’m Kutz and I’m an ex roller hockey player. Hoquei em patines, for those Spaniards among you.
Roller hockey is awesome. You take 5 steps, and then all of a sudden you’re already going fast. Seriously. You don’t need to keep running. You just roll. Your legs are still. And yet you’re still going fast. A beautiful concept. Add to this the feeling of smashing someone into the wall, flicking a ball into the top corner (probably on the keeper’s stick-side) and getting to hit a ball (and, on occassion, other people) with a stick and how can you go wrong?
Now, I used to play with a team of guys: Michael, Les, Dion, Matty, Serge (my bro), Chris, Peter and some others.
Michael’s top 5 rules were:
Rule #1 – Hit Dion
Rule #2 – Hit Dion
Rule #3 – Hit Les
Rule #4 – Hit Dion
Rule #5 – Hit Les
Fun rules they were too. They aren’t, however, mine.
My Five best* tips for playing roller hockey. (And these are genuine, and hence will interest only a very few of you.) (They will also mostly be team, not individual, principles. That’s because that’s all my dad taught me.)
- In negative sports**, a strong defence that puts some pressure on the opposition is the key to winning. So defend tightly, and communicate well.
- Don’t give away the ball close to the halfway line. Breakaways goals are imperative to avoid.
- If you’re trying to score, the hot-spots to skate to are here. (see diagram)
- When defending man-on-man (ie, you’re marking a specific player, not defending in a zone) skate in straight lines, roughly parallel to your penalty box lines. Skating in straight lines gets you there faster than skating in curves.
- Try to make your team-mate look good. If everyone on the team has this mentality, hockey is a beautiful thing.
- 6. (Unofficial, but vital) Don’t drop the soap in the showers.
Nathan’s asked me to tell you now how applying these 5 tips will change your life. I would suggest that after intense thought and application these principles will simply confuse you if you try to use them while learning to play hockey. Our coach Eduard Karayan (ex-pro in Italian league) just let us go and have fun. So we did. :)
* May change after more than 10 minutes of contemplation.
** A ‘negative sport’ is my short-hand for a sport where in any given attacking phase it is more likely that the attacking team will not score than that they will score. Ie, football(soccer). A ‘positive’ sport would be something like basketball where the expectation is that more likely than not the attacking team will score from their attack.
Craig’s UFC post has opened up a philosophical can of worms. The discussion continued in real life at our Queensland Theological College weekend away with quite a few people seeing the debate in black and white terms based on their personal gut feel. The naysayers don’t see the debate as a matter of conscience, the blood sport apologists don’t see a Biblical problem with the sport, the debate is at an impasse.
For me the debate begs a broader question about violence in entertainment. How many of the anti-UFC types are anti-UFC because it is real and not fictional? That seems to me to be an odd and somewhat arbitrary distinction to make. If the problem is bloodlust then surely the problem arises for those who enjoy violent movies and video games. If I can watch UFC to appreciate the technical side of things (and I watched my first intriguing bout last week – I believe this is possible, like it is possible to enjoy League despite the violent collisions not because of them) and don’t glory in the violence does that appease the anti-bloodlust lobby? Some in the debate say that it is a question of ends and means. If the end is testing to see which martial art is superior, and which fighter is superior – I don’t see how this by necessity equates to the end being violence.
But the begged question remains – can you position yourself against ultimate fighting while also enjoying Fight Club? Can you be for all intents and purposes a pacifist while watching war movies for enjoyment? Can you tell people that their love for mixed martial arts is Biblically unjustifiable while shooting people in a computer game?
I don’t think so. I don’t feel any pangs of remorse about enjoying the Hitman game series – the object is to be a sneaky assassin killing victims with a wide range of weapons. I don’t feel like there’s a distinction between enjoying the violence of Judges (like the story of Ehud) and the violence of whatever David Baldacci novel I’m ploughing through… In this case it would be hypocritical of me to take a stance against those who enjoy a sport that I have not, in the past, enjoyed, simply on the basis of violence. And much of this debate smacks of hypocrisy. I did speak to one Godly brother on the weekend whose aversion to violence (as a conscious conscience based decision) now extends to the war movies he enjoyed in his youth. At that point the issue is surely a conscience thing rather than a Biblically mandated aversion. If you can not, in good conscience, enjoy the spectacle of any of these elements of culture then do no. It’s a pretty easy decision.
All line drawing in these issues – other than being dictated by conscience – seems to be pretty arbitrary (unless it’s clearly spelled out in the Bible). When it comes to computer games where do we draw the line. Is it ok to kill Nazis (Wolfenstein) but not to kill police (when you’re an assassin)? Why is it almost universally ok to chomp on a ghost in Pacman or stomp on a walking mushroom (a goomba) in Mario?
I always feel bad when I kill a civilian in a game (and hope that I always do), and it seems that there’s an ethical line when you kill someone not expecting it as part of their job (in a game that is) – which is why I think the fact that highly trained UFC competitors are involved in the sport of their own volition (as opposed to gladiators in Rome and anyone featured in “bumfights” an online sensation where people make homeless people fight for money).
Here’s a post I just read about how video game developers seek to dehumanise bad guys so that we don’t feel bad about popping them in the head with whatever weapon we have at our disposal. Their tactics include featuring zombies, vampires and nazis as universally recognised bad guys – and if in doubt – masking the antagonist so that you don’t confront their emotions. The writer’s conclusion is this:
I believe that developers have come to realize that, while violence is often a necessary part of the action in many games, most people feel put out at the prospect of ending other peoples’ lives, even digital ones. While there are plenty of games that don’t adhere to the general categories I mentioned, most do. It’s the action and excitement of a scenario that draws us in, death is usually just an unintentional byproduct, but even so some effort is made to separate the gamer from what would be the terrible consequences of their actions. Developers do this because we are, despite what so many political blowhards and half-wit news anchors would have us believe, sensitive to violence in the real world.
I don’t get why as Christians we’re so keen to point the finger at our brothers and sisters to suggest that their enjoyment of a sport is due to some sort of sinful appreciation of unabashed violence. We should give one another the benefit of the doubt on matters like this shouldn’t we? It doesn’t surprise me that the vast majority of people commenting in support of watching UFC have some technical training or appreciation of the sport that they enjoy. These people aren’t the type to get excited about the misapplication of violence outside the context of sport or the pursuit of justice. They just happen to like a sport that is open and honest about the fact that violence is part of the game.
Did you know that the term “no holds barred” comes from wrestling? Not the fake stuff. The real ancient art.
I’ve been reading a bunch of articles and discussions online recently surrounding a Christian response to cagefighting. Craig started it in his column at SydneyAnglicans. He suggested we should be coming up with an articulate position on what appears to be a pretty divisive matter of conscience populated by two unbiblical extremes…
For many, their first gut reaction to the sport will define their position. But it may be worth spending some time to work through the issue properly. I predict this sport will become enormously popular in Australia over the next few years, especially amongst young men. If this happens, it will be good if we have done some proper thinking on the subject beforehand.
Now everywhere I turn on the interwebs I’m reading the debate.
Ben commented on it yesterday, the NY Times ran a story about cage fighting churches, Justin Taylor quoted this rebuttal to the kind of Christianity modeled in the times piece and Mark Driscoll has been banging on about UFC for years. Cage fighting is well and truly established there and I haven’t read a middle ground response from the Christian community – you’re either in the Jesus was a cage fighter camp or the sissy pacifist camp… which led to this quote.
It discourages and mocks godly men who aren’t macho. There is an undercurrent of disdain in all of this. Proponents of this testosterone Christianity can’t help but take shots at guys who wear pastels and drink cappuccino. You might not like guys with manicures, but there’s absolutely nothing morally wrong with it. A reserved, quiet, well-groomed man can be a good Christian. Believe it or not.
I think the debate is pretty silly and out of all the Christian interactions I’ve read or experienced they descend in to ad hominem non-arguments the quickest (though arguments about Genesis 1 and alcohol consumption are up there).
From the NY Times:
The goal, these pastors say, is to inject some machismo into their ministries — and into the image of Jesus — in the hope of making Christianity more appealing. “Compassion and love — we agree with all that stuff, too,” said Brandon Beals, 37, the lead pastor at Canyon Creek Church outside of Seattle. “But what led me to find Christ was that Jesus was a fighter.”
Some of the arguments for cage fighting are just stupid. Jesus was not a cage fighter. No matter how hard some of the Americans want to believe that to be the case. Being a cage fighter does not make one a man, it does not even make one more manly. If this is just a correction to the feminisation of the church then it’s an odd and ill directed attempt to get more men along – but Craig was right. This is a discussion we need to have. Cage fighting is huge.
While I think some of the extreme positions on the pro fighting side are silly I wonder how much of the bellicose criticism coming from the anti-violence side of the debate is just ill-conceived grandstanding.
Gentleness is a good thing. Sure. And Christians are called on to turn the other cheek. But to suggest that a sporting endeavour where two combatants engage in a competition with agreed upon rules and parameters is somehow definitively ruled out in the Bible just seems odd to me. It’s a conscience issue – surely.
I’m not out to change anybody’s opinion on this matter – if you think violent sports are wrong then don’t watch or take part in them. I watch boxing. I enjoy WWE (which isn’t real). I haven’t watched much UFC – but I don’t have a problem with it – really. It’s just not my preference. I’d rather watch a bunch of other sports. I love the violence and physicality of league. Anybody who says they don’t watch league for the collisions is just a touch football fan in disguise. Does this make me a bad person? Anybody who thinks that league players don’t go out of their way to “hurt” others has never seen a forward make a tackle or a hit up (and they certainly haven’t spoken to any successful league players).
Why are we pain averse? I don’t understand why causing other people pain it’s clearly expected and mitigated by rules is possibly wrong? Is it less good than not causing them pain? I don’t know… but lines drawn in this debate seem completely arbitrary. League is ok (or perhaps Union), UFC is not – where does the line fall? How do you decide? As an aside – in the comments on Craig’s post Kutz suggested we need a doctrine of sport. I like that idea.
The clincher (for me) came up in the Sydney Anglicans discussion. I love the stories of violence in the Old Testament – I don’t glory in them (too much) – but I see them as pictures of justice and of the struggle between good and evil. The Bible contains more violence from righteous men than UFC will ever produce.
If it comes down to a question of “purpose” and violence not being suitable for entertainment then I wonder how many of the brothers coming out against UFC enjoy violent movies or TV shows? How can one affirm the quality of the Godfather while decrying a sport?
If it’s a problem with the unholiness of the entertainment then what about every TV show that contains sexual immorality… if it’s that the sin is real and not imagined then what about game shows where contestants are motivated by greed?
I don’t see why the objections to this passion or interest are so heated and so different to the reactions to anything else – except perhaps for a declaration that one considers the earth to be billions, not thousands, of years old or the suggestion that beer is one of God’s best ideas.
It’s Australian Open time (which you should know – unless you’ve been living under a rock). I like tennis – and I’m hoping that A-Rod does me proud this year.
I like that tennis players are really gentlemanly (or ladylike) and do the little courtesy wave thing they do when they hit the let cord during the point.
But I don’t get why they feel the need to. If I was a tennis player (which I’m not) I would practice hitting the ball into the let cord with enough topspin that it would trickle over every time. It seems like an awesome strategy.
Also, while I’m on the subject of cool sporting strategies – if I was a Rugby League coach I would tell my team to kick field goals at every opportunity. It works for Rugby Union. You really only need to get to about the forty metre line each set and blast the ball through the posts. Then you get the ball back.
When playing pool with friends I like to wait until they get onto the eight ball, wait for it to be behind the D that you break from, and then sink the white ball. You can’t hit backwards from the D and a foul shot on black is an automatic loss.
When I play indoor soccer I like to defend. I like to stand just inside the person running towards me so that they move towards the side netting – and then I like to step into them so that they run into the net. We played our last game of mixed indoor in Townsville (possibly forever) tonight. I have a bruise.
Have you got any dirty tricks for winning at sport? Share them in the comments.
I can’t get enough of those “how stuff get made” videos. The World Cup is this year. Here’s how they make the balls.
FIFA’s goal of the year candidates are pretty special. You
Tim posted this a while back. I’ve been meaning to use it as a YouTube Tuesday video ever since. It’s brilliant. Check it.
- Almost cooking two minute noodles.
- Almost reheating anything in the microwave on high.
- Trying to buy a packet of chips in a crowded pub.
- Danny Green beating Roy Jones Jr in a boxing match.
I went to the pub to watch the match tonight. I had been quite excited all day. My inner pugilist was looking for a tough encounter. Probably going the distance.
How disappointing. You should have heard the lull in the pub when people realised it was over.
Manly Captain Matt Orford is heading to England to play for the Bradford Bulls.
He led us to successive grand finals and won us a premiership.
But he has a crap kicking game.
I’d say I’m ambivalent about this piece of news.
We went to the Fury game last night. And despite what Joel says about football there is something thrilling about a tight, low scoring game that isn’t really decided until the final whistle.
And there’s something beautiful about a player who knows the rules gazumping a pack of whingers who don’t…
Robbie Fowler is a class player. Tim was going to post this video too – I don’t think he has yet…