Funny old games: The sporting year in a year like no other.


Funny old games: The sporting year in a year like no other.

Crowds.

There weren’t any. And it took our pundits some time to adjust to the new normal. Eg Before Armagh played Roscommon at the Athletic Grounds:
Colm Cooper: “Playing at home is a big boost for Armagh.”
Kevin McStay: “I’m not so sure – there’s nobody here.”

Fan in the Stand.

That was the initiative introduced by Australian rugby league once spectators weren’t allowed attend games. To help them feel like they were actually there, fans were invited to send in photos of themselves or loved ones, and for AU$22 their face would be put on a cardboard cut-out and placed in the stands.

How did it go? Glitchy at first, especially that moment when serial killer Harold Shipman was spotted in the stands at the Penrith Panthers v Newcastle Knights game. And Dominic Cummings was seen at the clash of Sydney Roosters and South Sydney Rabbitohs, although presumably his eyesight issues made it hard for him to see the game.

But they weren’t alone in having issues, Leeds United’s similar ‘crowdie’ innovation suffering from some hiccups too. One fan who paid £25 to have his face in the stand tweeted his dismay to the club: “Thanks @LUFC, I’m next to Bin bloody Laden!!!” He was too.

Meanwhile, faces spotted in the stands at Cheltenham Town’s League Two play-off semi-final against Northampton included Piers Morgan, Cilla Black, Spider-Man, Eastenders’ Phil Mitchell, Only Fools and Horses’ Del Boy, Rodney, Grandad and Boycie and Donald Trump. For once, Donald would have been justified in howling ‘FAKE NEWS’ at the notion he attended the play-off.

Cocooning.

We’d hazard a guess that Ted Walsh didn’t enjoy the experience, not least because it prevented him from attending

We could be underestimating Ted Walsh’s interest in computery things, and apologies if that is the case, but you’d have half a notion that before this period in his life he, like most of us, would have thought Zoom was just a 1980s tune by Fat Larry’s Band. But there he was on Saturday, appearing at the Curragh via Zoom, his son-in-law Killian having set it up for him, warning him “not to touch any buttons”.

For sport-on-telly watchers, there have been quite a few peak Lockdown moments in recent weeks, but this was, perhaps, the peakiest of them all. It’d have made your heart go boom, too, Ted having been absent from our screens for far too long.

“Ted, you’re looking great,” said Hugh Cahill.

“I’m surviving any way,” he replied. “If Leo Varadkar had his way, I’d be in a six by four.”

Diego.

When Maradona celebrated his 60th birthday on October 30th, he was asked what would be his perfect present. “I dream of being able to score another goal against England,” he said, “this time with the right hand.”

Rascal. Within a month he had died. “I lost a great friend and the world lost a legend. ….. one day, I hope we can play ball together in the sky,” said Pele in his tribute.

Humility.

When Pele turned 80 in October, he had this very lovely tribute paid to him: “In Pele’s 80 years, the only thing that’s missing is to land on the moon.”

Who said it? Eh, Pele.

And later: “My father and mother closed the factory… there is only one Pele. Maybe because God loves me.”

Lousers.

The people who responded to Brighton’s generous announcement that they would give 1,000 free tickets to NHS workers for future matches, as thanks for their frontline work, with: “Haven’t they suffered enough?”

Trust.

When The Late Late Show assembled a panel for their St Valentine’s Day special to discuss love and stuff, they, naturally enough, invited Pat Spillane. When asked what was the secret to a successful marriage, he replied: “Trust.” And then he gave us an example.

Más información: THE IRISH TIMES.