Formula One – Pinnacle or Circus

Posted by batman on May 26th, 2011
2011
May 26

It has been a long, long time since the Formula One season has been this intriguing, with something happening all of the time andredbull1.jpg no opportunity to get up and quickly grab a beer – you WILL miss something. I remember years gone by where one could get up and get a haircut at the local mall – and not miss anything. This year there has been an abundance of overtaking and pitstops – and it is almost unheard of for a faster car to be stuck behind a slower car for more than one lap, or two at the most.

But I find myself questioning it all – should Formula One be a circus primarily designed to entertain the crowds, or should it be the pinnacle of motorsport designed to determine who can build the best car, and then drive it to glory?

Lets examine a few sports a bit closer…

TENNIS

When a guy like Rafael Nadal (or Roger Federer, or Pete Sampras) is good enough dominate, then they are allowed to reign for five or ten years – regardless of how boring or uncompetitive the sport becomes. The concept of having to play a match with only seven sets of tennis balls that are designed to degrade faster, forcing the players to adapt to a soft ball towards the end of its life just to spice up the tennis – is quite frankly ludicrous. Would you force tennis players to have to wear two different brands of tennis shoe during a match, or carry water on their backs as a penalty for their world ranking? Of course not – it would be absurd.

GOLF

Nobody complained when Tiger Woods was winning everything in sight – in fact he has been the biggest drawcard golf has ever had. Could you just imagine if these same self-serving puppet-masters could randomly remove a club from a players’ bag? Or have degradable balls that only last eight holes – a player would need to derive a strategy for getting around the course with a soft ball, or else incur a penalty for taking a new one. That’s just not golf, and the purists would simply stop watching the sport.

CRICKET

OK, nobody can dispute that the IPL Twenty20 is a circus – just close your eyes and swing, with dancing girls, colour and music. But lets rather look at “proper” cricket – the limited-overs game, and good old-fashioned Test cricket. Patience and , classic strokes the order of the day. Third umpires and review systems, while not yet perfect, are certainly the way to go. There is no glitz or glamour, and they don’t change the game – all that happens is that a player is almost guaranteed of just getting a fair decision – and nobody can ask for more.

I do dislike the “free hit”, “super-subs”, on-field microphones and other such gimmicks. Imagine how one could desecrate this game into a circus – 11 batsmen get to bat – they then get substituted with a combination of 11 Jonty Rhodes (in the field) and Dale Steyns for bowling. The argument for this is that the public would get to see 11 of the best batsmen, facing the best bowlers – after all – who is entertained by watching a bowler try to bat? But then it would no longer be called cricket – as has been played by gentlemen for decades, if not hundreds of years. If a sport has survived unchanged for this long – then leave it be. If not – then it’s probably not that much of a sport to begin with.

BACK TO FORMULA ONE THEN

I think reports of randomly causing artificial rain on a track is crazy – teams and drivers are doing their very best to win races, and the puppet-masters are continually looking for ways to make the race more unpredictable and more difficult in the interests of amusing the spectators.

The current KERS and DRS also seems artificial – to see the slowest car on the track potentially blast past the fastest (assuming he was within one second at some arbitary corner before the straight) somehow just doesn’t gel. Having cars (tyres) by design degrade by large margins after 5-10 laps, and then have to pop in and get a second, third, fourth or fifth set is cheesy, and very “Playstation-like”. In addition – isn’t it just over-complicating something that should be quite simple? Who is monitoring if drivers use their DRS (or KERS) in places where they are not allowed to – and what are their penalties if they do? Would they really give race-leader Fernando Alonso at the Spanish Grand Prix a 10 second “stop-go” because he inadvertantly opend his rear wing at the wrong place? Or do they need to develop new systems to only allow DRS to be activated between two specified points on the track? If they are serious about cutting costs, then stop requiring teams to develop silly little tricks and gimmicks like this!

What’s next – having remote-controls (in the hands of the puppet-masters) that can cause an engine to blow, wheels to lock up, engines to lose KERS ability and then have it re-instated, gearboxes to “lose” a gear – the mind just boggles, and it wouldn’t surprise me if Formula One lost more followers than it ever did during those “monotonous years”.

THE GREAT ECONOMY RUN

I agree that costs are high and need to be curbed – but I strongly disagree with anything that makes Formula One look like a cost-saving, budget-orientated economy run. Last week at the Spanish Grand Prix the teams reduced qualifying to a farce by only doing one run (some not at all) in the interests of saving their tyres. Surely that’s not what Formula One is about?

I accept the eight-engines-per-season rule – that is fine, and reasonable – a team that can’t make do with that deserves to be penalised. But when restrictions and penalties “remove the race from the race” it is taking something away from the spectator – everyone wants to see the fastest ten cars and drivers thrashing it out in “Quali 3″ – with no restrictions of fuel or tyres.

Everyone wants to see the fastest car at the front – the current approach seems to throw as many curve balls at the teams, and whoever has the best strategy will win – and that just plain sucks!

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DLF IPL impressions so far

Posted by batman on Apr 28th, 2009
2009
Apr 28

WHAT’S HOT

There have been some pretty awesome opening bat pairings – Sachin Tendulkar and Saneth Jayasuriya’s 137 runs for the first wicket at St Georges Park last night was breathtaking. Or Adam Gilchrist and Herschelle Gibbs – also yesterday – I don’t think I’ve ever seen Gilly hit it so sweetly.

The old guys (read 35+) have been showing the young guys a clean pair of heels. Big performances by Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist, Shane Warne, Saneth Jayasuriya, Sachin Tendulkar and Herschelle Gibbs – even Rahul Dravid has a strike rate of over 120!

Some of those who didn’t get paid 1.5 million USD, but who proving to be great bargains. AB de Villiers for the Dehli Daredevils at only 300K, or Yousuf Pathan for the Rajasthan Royals. Hayden and Gibbs too are proving great value for money – whatever they were paid.

The crowd support has been fantastic (Newlands, St Georges Park and Durban at least). These grounds now get a rest, and the IPL moves inland to Johannesburg and Centurion. Surprisingly, the atmosphere at St Georges Park has seemed to be the most lively and festive of all, even though the ground only holds about 13,000. Good on you Port Elizabeth, and your brass band!!!

The IPL’s HEAT initiative – providing funding and sponsorship to students and schools of South Africa – it’s an awesome initiative – a BIG THANK YOU – IPL!

The cheerleaders – need I say more?

WHAT’S NOT

Kevin Pieterson by now must surely be the only person left on the planet that thinks he’s seriously cool, a great cricketer and a team player. On the one occasion he didn’t get a duck, and with his team in trouble, one might have thought that he would put his team first, and play with some responsibility (granted it is still T20). But no – he just can’t resist being an irrepresible show-off, trying to play his sad little “switch-hit”. Its always just about you KP – and I really feel sorry for those who paid 1.5 million USD to have you in the team!!! This time let it be me that categorically states “you are NOT a South African!!!”.

Chris Gayle and Brendan McCullam on paper should be an awesome opening pairing for the Kolkata Knight Riders. But they just haven’t yet fired – and Gayle will be leaving soon.

A batting order with the top three containing Jaques Kallis and Rahul Dravid for the Royal Challengers Bangalore – although in fairness both have been adapting to this game, and are surprisingly both have strike rates above 120. But compared to the explosive performances that other opening combinations have – it is just not enough.

Apologies to the Royal Challengers Bangalore – this seems all about you. But its not surprising considering that you are holding the last place on the log, and unlikely to change it. The team just has no team spirit, no sense of unity, and certainly no will to win. They look like a bunch of guys who just have to pitch up and play in order to get their USD. And I blame a lot of this on Kevin Pieterson – he is just a one-man-show – and should NEVER be put in charge of other people – it is just not going to work!!! Prediction – when KP leaves and Jaques Kallis takes over as captain – it will be a changed team.

The Super Over is great in concept – but for heaven’s sakes – does it need to take as long to bowl two overs as it does to play an innings? The batsmen and bowlers need to be identified and nominated before the start of the game. In a sport where everything happens so quickly, where the batsmen sit in dugouts on the field so as to save time – can we not bowl two overs with “known” participants in under half an hour?

Interviews with people in the crowds – with responses limited to “yes”, or “no”. Not interesting enough for the viewers.

Even though it’s all about the sponsor DLF – it gets quite annoying hearing about “DLF Maximums” instead of “sixes” – especially when Tendulkar and Jayasuriya are batting.

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IPL: Indians left in the cold?

Posted by batman on Apr 24th, 2009
2009
Apr 24

The Indian Premier League may have brought money and fame for many, but the glitzy Twenty20 tournament is proving a bitter pill for many home-grown players. Organisers insist the IPL is a domestic Indian tournament with teams allowed to field only four foreign players per match, but local cricketers are already feeling the pinch in the event’s second season. All eight teams are coached by foreigners and only four sides are captained by Indian players.

The fascination with international stars does not end there. Among those cricketers bought at IPL auctions, seven of the top 10 earners were foreigners. “This whole talk of IPL being a domestic Indian tournament is a joke,” former India captain Ajit Wadekar told AFP. “It is Indian money, our country’s money on which foreigners are thriving. But they do not think twice before sacking an Indian.”

India star Mohammad Kaif, 28, was shown the door by Rajasthan Royals two days before the IPL’s second season started in South Africa because skipper Shane Warne said “he did not fit into the scheme of things”. The removal of Kaif, who has played 13 Tests and 125 one-day internationals, left many fuming. “It has exposed the complete ruthlessness of the owners,” said Sharda Ugra, sports editor of the respected India Today magazine. “Eventually for them it’s business first.

Unfortunately the Indians seem to be losing out, even the great players.” India’s most successful Test captain Sourav Ganguly was replaced at the helm of Kolkata Knight Riders by New Zealander Brendon McCullum, a move masterminded by their cricket head, former Australian coach John Buchanan. Rahul Dravid was dumped as captain of Bangalore Royal Challengers after Kevin Pietersen came on board this year while Venkatsai Laxman was sacked as skipper of Deccan Chargers in favour of Adam Gilchrist. When Pietersen leaves the IPL in early-May due to England commitments, South African Jacques Kallis will take over as captain for the rest of the season.

Wadekar said he wished Indian coaches were taken on by the rich owners. “Some of the foreign coaches have not even played Test cricket, that’s why they don’t know how to respect talent at the international level. No wonder, players like Ganguly are being ill-treated.” Ugra fears it may not be long before the restriction on four foreign players per match is removed.

“There was already an attempt to amend the rules and have six foreigners in a playing eleven before the auction this year, but luckily it was shot down,” she said.

Article courtesy of Sports365 , Thu, 23 Apr 2009

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IPL comes to South Africa

Posted by batman on Apr 20th, 2009
2009
Apr 20

The Event

South Africa will stage the 2009 Indian Premier League after officials decided to move the Twenty20 tournament to a neutral venue because of security fears due to the elections taking place simultaneously in India. Ironically South Africa will be holding their own general elections during the tournament, and one hopes all goes smoothly.

England was the alternative choice for the highly-lucrative event, but IPL chairman Lalit Modi confirmed South Africa as hosts. Modi said after the meeting: “We are very happy to confirm that South Africa will host the 2009 DLF Indian Premier League tournament.

Gerald Majola, CSA said : “The South African public loves T2O cricket and CSA successfully hosted the inaugural ICC World T20. Both of these factors weighed heavily in South Africa’s favour, and we look forward to a successful and exciting tournament being held at venues throughout South Africa.”

“This event will strengthen the ties even further between South African and Indian cricket, as well as binding our nations even closer together.

“We are looking forward to hosting some of the world’s best cricketers, and we can assure them they will be provided with the very best facilities to show their skills.


The Teams

Hyderbad Deccan Chargers

ipl_deccan_chargers.jpg

Owner: Deccan Chronicle
Captain: VVS Laxman
Icon Player: VVS Laxman
Coach: Robin Singh

Kolkata Knight Riders

ipl_knight_riders.jpg

Owner: Red Chillies Entertainment
Captain: Sourav Ganguly
Icon Player: Sourav Ganguly
Coach: John Buchanan

Rajasthan Royals

ipl_rajasthan_royals.jpg

Owner: Emerging Media
Captain: Shane Warne
Icon Player: Shane Warne
Coach: Shane Warne

Chennai Super Kings

ipl_super_kings.jpg

Owner: India Cements
Captain: Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Icon Player: Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Coach: Kepler Wessels

Dehli Daredevils

ipl_delhi_daredevils.jpg

Owner: GMR Holdings
Captain: Virender Sehwag
Icon Player: Virender Sehwag
Coach: Greg Shipperd

Kings XI Punjab

ipl_kings_xi.jpg

Owner: Ness Wadia
Captain: Yuvraj Singh
Icon Player: Yuvraj Singh
Coach: Tom Moody

Mumbai Indians

ipl_mumbai_indians.jpg

Owner: Reliance Industries Ltd
Captain: Sachin Tendulkar
Icon Player: Sachin Tendulkar
Coach: Lalchand Rajput

Royal Challengers Bangalore

ipl_royal_challengers.jpg

Owner: Vijay Mallya
Captain: Rahul Dravid
Icon Player: Rahul Dravid
Coach: Venkatesh Prasad


The Grounds

The Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg

Newlands, Cape Town

Kingsmead, Durban

St Georges Park, Port Elizabeth

Supersport Park, Centurion

De Beers Diamond Oval, Kimberly

Outsurance Oval, Bloemfontein

Buffalo Park, East Londen

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You’ve got to be kidding!

Posted by batman on Jan 27th, 2009
2009
Jan 27

The human race never fails to amaze me – there’s always one wiseguy that thinks that the existing competitions are too boring, and wants to create something highly unique. Some of them are just crazy, but some of them are actually irresponsible if one looks at the amount of wastage that can be generated. There are after all people that haven’t had a decent meal in a week, but that’s one for another day.

I hope you enjoy these ones…

Rock Paper Scissors League

Exerpt from Wikipedia:

The United States of America Rock Paper Scissors League is a national competition league for the hand game rock paper scissors. The first national champion was crowned on 9 April 2006 at the USARPS League Championship, which was held at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada and televised by the A&E Network on 12 June. The champion is awarded a $50,000 cash prize.

See: Official USARPS website

Tuna Chucking

A very interesting sports competition is taking place in Australia – tuna throwing. The contestants twirl the frozen fish around above their heads (a rope is tied to fish’s tail) and then toss it far ahead vigorously. Sean Carlin, a former Olympic hammer thrower is the absolute champion in the tuna-throwing competition. His record is 37.23 meters, the local Adventure newspaper wrote.

Fortunately (for the environment, economy and plain common sense), organizers of the Tunarama Festival, held each January in Port Lincoln on the remote Eyre Peninsula, are altering the highlight event – by replacing the actual tuna with polyurethane replicas. Previously, the tail came off, the fins came off, the eyes fell out and then the underbelly broke, and it really got to be extremely messy.

See: Daily Waste

Bog Snorkelling

This year a record number of entrants donned a snorkel, flippers, and in many cases fancy dress, to cover 120 yards in a peat bog in Llanwrtyd Wells, Powys, Mid Wales. Just to make it that bit harder, they weren’t allowed to swim using conventional strokes, with officials insisting they doggy paddle or hold their arms out in front of them. Despite the rain, which turned the car park into something resembling a bog itself, hundreds of people turned out to witness the eccentric spectacle. Competitors came to the event from as far afield as Australia. Some took part in their pyjamas, some in camouflage – and one man even had an ironing board and iron strapped to his back.

See: Metro

Stinging Nettle Eating

Nettles first came to the fore at the Bottle Inn around 1986 when two farmers were having an argument as to who had the longest nettles on their land. The Landlady then was Francis Vincent who commented “What makes you to think you have the longest nettles, we’ll have a competition open to every one in the area and we’ll see who has the longest nettles”! The Longest Stinging Nettle Competition was born. The competition had been running for three years when local hospital porter and Ex Guardsman, Alex Williams entered a stinging nettles 15’6″ long, he said at the time “If anybody beats that I’ll eat it.

An American couple on holiday staying in the area came up with a nettle 16′ long and Alex true to his word, promptly ate the nettle!! (though to this day, he disputes the measurement). After that traditionally if Alex didn’t win the competition, he ate the winners Nettle. In 1997, when Shane Pym became landlord of The Bottle Inn, he decided to have a musical celebration of the Summer Solstice, the idea being a kind of Medieval Fayre with jugglers, stilt walkers etc.. One night at the bar looking for something as a side show to the event we now call Midsummer Madness we suggested to Alex that we might put him in a corner of the beer garden and and challenge anybody to eat more nettles than he could.

As Alex pointed out throughout the course of the day he was likely to consume a great deal of stinging nettles, we therefore decided to run a competition calling it the World Stinging Nettle Eating Challenge and putting Alex forward as pub Champion. Thus was the Stinging Nettle Eating Challenge born. It has been a successful competition gaining much media interest nationally and inter-nationally.

See: The Bottle Inn

Swamp Soccer

Swamp Soccer originates from the swamps of Finland in northern Europe. Started by some cross country skiers who were training in the swamps during the summer months, Finland held its first tournament in 1997 with 13 teams. Now this event has become a massive football competition with over 200 teams. Annual tournaments now also occur in Sweden, Iceland and of course the UK.

See: Swap Soccer

Cheese Rolling

If you’re a whiz at cheese rolling, you may want to head to Brockworth in Gloucestershire, England, at the annual Cooper’s Hill Cheese Roll held each May. The ancient festival dates back hundreds of years and involves pushing and shoving a large, mellow, seven- to eight-pound wheel of ripe Gloucestershire cheese downhill in a race to the bottom. With the wheels of cheese reaching up to 70 miles per hour, runners chase, tumble, and slide down the hill after their cheese but don’t usually catch up until the end. The winner gets to take home his or her cheese, while the runners-up get cash prizes.

See: How stuff works

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