Archive for August, 2014

The Ballet Recital

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

My daughter suggested I write a post about this incident, and therefore without further ado I dedicate the following lines to her. Maestro please…….

My four year old grand daughter was performing in a ballet recital. We had tickets for the show which was held in a compact rural theatre, and ran for approximately two hours. My grand daughter’s involvement comprised five minutes on stage because several ballet classes of various ages were represented, but like good troopers we stayed until the bitter end. Poor little mites; they all looked very cute in their tutus, ballerina tights and enough make up to put Joan Collins in the shade. But just as well we weren’t judging them on talent.

It all began very civilized. Accompanied by my stepson and his wife we embraced our positions which left me sitting in the inner most seat of the row immediately next to a brick wall. It could have comprised another material or compound, but in the scheme of things  the composition of the wall was irrelevant. It merely represented an obstacle to my subsequent actions.

Amidst a plethora of squealing the show  began with a series of groups of little girls treading the boards attempting to remember their allegro from their arabesque. It was all very sweet and melancholy until I needed to go to the bathroom. Unfortunately I am of an age where bathroom breaks are necessary more frequently than I care to remember.

Luckily, according to the programme, there would be an interval where dinosaurs like myself could avail themselves of the facilities. I was nearing the abyss where crossing my legs and stamping my feet were having little effect on my unfortunate predicament. Reciting the alphabet backwards sometimes helped in these uncompromising situations, but my mental faculties were zooming in on a very active bladder which was about to explode.

Finally the interval arrived and I quickly rose from my seat with every intent on heading for the nearest rest room. To my horror Tom, Dick and Harry and their family ensembles rose as one blocking the central aisle to the exit doors. The people sitting in my row weren’t aware of my plight and were in no hurry to leave their seats.

There was only one thing I could do. I would have to climb over the wall. This wasn’t just a wall; a four foot steel fence was perched on top. Stepping on the three foot wall was easy, so straddling the fence couldn’t be that difficult. Could it? Okay, I hitched one leg and my torso onto the top of fence, but my trailing foot was trapped between two railings.  I was frozen in time, and my aging joints were beginning to seize up and I was losing any trace of flexibility.

I suddenly yanked my foot out from the railing, and in doing so went crashing unceremoniously over the top of the fence landing in an undignified heap on the floor. Unfortunately when I hit the ground the momentum threw me back against the fence and I felt a sharp pain in my shoulder.

The adrenalin was flowing like a flooded Chattahoochee  River and coupled with my humiliation, I ignored the pain and bounced quickly up off the floor, not daring to look back at a packed house, and made a bee line for the exit door and the rest room.

A few minutes later, I bumped into my wife in the foyer and she furtively asked if I was okay. I replied that my shoulder was very sore, but it didn’t hurt half as much as my dignity! She then mischievously asked: “Was that an attempt at a pirouette, a western roll or a Fosby flop?”  I certainly didn’t score many marks for presentation or content, but I gather the entertainment value for a captive audience was priceless.



A Monk’s Tale (Man Utd 1-Swansea City 2)

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Last Saturday (August 16th) Swansea City created history by defeating Man Utd at Old Trafford in the league for the first time ever. Ever! Ever! As manager Garry Monk succinctly said in his post match conference nobody outside of Swansea gave them” a cat in hell’s chance” of beating the Mighty Red Devils on the opening day of the new season.

All the focus surrounded the Dutch Master, Louis van Gaal, late of Ajax, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and fresh from his exploits in steering Holland to third place in the World Cup. United had enjoyed a very successful pre-season and van Gaal was confident his Holland blueprint had been taken on board by his players at his new club.

NBC‘s coverage of the game in USA focused entirely on the new manager and placed so much emphasis on the Neanderthal man Wayne Rooney being made club captain. Whoopee! Could somebody please tell him that his hair transplant needs reseeding?

We in the US of A were treated to the Dutch Master entering the arena and shaking hands with supporters and waving to the rest of crowd in anticipation of a thumping victory of the Swans who were not even cast as bridesmaids, but were viewed as lambs to the slaughter. By jove, it’s difficult attempting to separate the stereotype  Welshman from sheep even in print.

Moving on, nobody had given the Swans the script because they grabbed the lead around twenty minutes into the game with a goal scored by Michael Laudrup reject, Sung-Yeung Ki, who was shipped unceremoniously to Sunderland by the former manager where he spent last season on loan. Laudrup probably had a bad Chinese meal in Swansea’s High Street and exacted his revenge on the South Korean.

The Swans protected their lead until half time, but shortly after the resumption Rooney equalized with an exuberant scissors kick which brought the Old Trafford faithful to life. I must admit I was expecting the flood gates to open and I was resigned to losing 1-3, or possibly 1-4.

Swansea Captain, Ashley Williams, had a magnificent game and steadied the ship. So much so, I thought maybe we could escape with a draw. Surprisingly the Swans held their shape while a very mediocre United team huffed and puffed but offered very little in attack. Twenty minutes left, and I was still clinging onto the possibility of a point when Bony took a quick free kick and found new signing Montero who bombed down the left wing and crossed the ball into the middle which was met by an advancing Routledge.  He fluffed his shot which fortuitously rebounded to Sigurdsson who gratefully turned it into the net for the winner.

Game ball is awarded to Garry Monk who came with a game plan and outcoached the much vaunted van Gaal on this occasion. The Dutch Master entered the Old Trafford arena resembling a Roman Emperor, but exited like a punch drunk Primo Carnera who had taken two many shots to the head.

It was a great result for the Swans, but the performance left a lot to be desired on times. Williams, Sigurdsson and Bony were magnificent, but several of their team mates were prone to give the ball away too cheaply and the passing was not as crisp as it should be. I’m not convinced that Ki and Shelvey are a winning combination in central midfield. Shelvey is a loose cannon who is capable of producing a magical moment yet not a hair’s breadth away from a red card.

Saturday’s game at home to Burnley will be crucial. Burnley are newly promoted, so it’s a fixture that Swansea would expect to win. The momentum gained in the win against United would be seriously undermined if they were to lose to the Clarets from Lancashire. However, let’s savor the moment since its not very often we defeat one of the top six.


The King is Dead; Long Live the King

Monday, August 11th, 2014

Rory McIlroy’s second major of the season may finally put the Tiger era to rest, but don’t count on it. The American sports media continues its irrational obsession with Tiger being the face of golf. They lament the fact that the number of people taking up the game is on the decline because of the waning powers of Woods. Realistically, the attraction of the sport for black people probably coincides with the demise of their champion.

Local talking heads on the sports channel in Atlanta were whining that the PGA Championship would not be good viewing on the weekend because their poster boy had missed the cut. How many other golfers receive intense TV coverage when they are six over with the completion of two rounds?

The obsession with Tiger Woods continued this morning (Monday 11th August) at Tom Watson’s press conference where the agenda was the forthcoming Ryder Cup. Tiger can only be in the team if he is one of Captain Watson three picks. Journalists peppered Watson with questions on whether he would select an unfit and out of form Tiger Woods for the Ryder Cup. Watson sensibly replied that he would pick him if he was healthy, but avoided the issue of his lack of form. Tiger does not intend playing competitive  golf between now and the Ryder Cup in six weeks.

One journalist had the temerity to ask Watson if he trusted Tiger Woods.  Watson hesitated for a moment and eventually replied: “Yes of course I do! (but thinking not with my daughter.)

Returning to the final round of the PGA Championship, it turned out to be compelling viewing. At the beginning of the round several players were in contention of Rory McIlroy who led by one shot from an Austrian not named Arnie or Adolph. By the turn, there were four players with a realistic chance of winning the tournament; the No 1 player in the world (Rory,) the young pretender Ricki Fowler, the middle aged Scandinavian with oodles of talent Henrik Stenson, and the old magician Phil Mickelson.

Approaching the 10th tee, McIlroy was 3 shots behind Fowler. Rory’s second shot following a perfect drive down the fairway was an exocet missile that curved from left to right landing approximately 10 feet from the pin. McIlroy took his time and knocked the putt in the hole for an eagle on the Par 5. This proved to be the pivotal hole as his rivals proceeded to drop shots coming home. McIlroy made a birdie on the 12th hole and the championship was back in his clutches winning eventually by one shot from Phil Mickelson.

McIlroy has won his last three tournaments; The Open, the Bridgestone and the PGA Championship. He gets the job done on the back nine which separates him from his fellow competitors. Can he win as many majors as Tiger Woods (14) let alone Jack Nicklaus who holds the record at 18? Rory admitted that he has been totally  focused on golf since his public break up with Caroline Whatever, and this has  proved to be the reason for his current rich vein of form. Whether he can retain that type of focus for X number of years is anyone’s guess, but it will be fun watching the best player in golf attempting to transform the record books.