Blazers, Polos and Strawberries and Cream

Time to bust out the strawberries and cream with your suave blazer and head to one of the most prestigious sporting events on the calendar, Wimbledon!roger_federer_of_switzerland_arrives_for_his_first_4591499564

The history and class of Wimbledon is second to none and is one event I need to attend before I kick the bucket. The lush green grass, perfectly manicured courts, immaculate garden arrangements and of course the players step-up their fashion game to the point they could all be straight off the catwalk in Milan, hell even Pippa Middleton was there.

The player, who most embodies what Wimbledon is truly about, is Mr Class himself, Roger Federer. It’s all pristine white polos and blazers for Roger. He loves the history, loves the esteem and loves winning (7 freaking times!!!)

Last night (Australian time) saw the first serves being hit, with plenty of no-names playing in matches trying to make a name for themselves. And for one lowly ranked, unheard of Belgian it was a night to remember.

The 135th ranked player in the world, Steve Darcis (who?)  KO’d superstar Rafa Nadal in straight sets.  Rafa, fresh off another French Open win, losing in the first round? Whaaat? It happened, and to some guy I have never heard of. After the match Nadal refused to blame his bung knee, but we all know that he isn’t losing to this chump if he was healthy, which begs the question- Is Rafa done?

Now his power play style would have taken a huge toll on his body over the years, not just his knees, but he is a warrior and he won’t die. I would put good money (haha you know, if I had any money) to make at least the quarters in the US.

Another warrior of the sport, our boy Ley Ley AGAIN went against the odds to beat seeded Stani Wawrinka in 3 sets. While watching the pregame with my housemate last night, he asked who Ley was playing, I said “Wawrinka, he’s top 20 I think, should wipe the floor with Hew”, to which he replied “so Lleyton will win then?”. And whaaadya know, the Aussie dug deep to dismiss the doubters (I know you enjoyed that).

He has faced calls for him to retire for probably 5-6 years now and he loves to stick it right back at us. I say as long as he remains competitive and is enjoying the grind that playing on the tour presents, keep playing! If that’s till next week or till he’s 40, who cares? A lot of people love to hate him, but I think there is not a lot better than watching him knock a seed of their perch with his grizzly, grinding out rallies. Good on ya cobber! (NB- never saying cobber again).

As for the womens side of the draw, I am more interested in the feud between Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams. I have no idea why they don’t like each other, but I am all in on this and would love to see a final showdown between the two, starting with shots fired at each other in the press and ending in both having to be held back from attacking each other by their partners. Oh the drama!

Anyway, my tips for the tournament:

  • Lleyton to make the 3rd round
  • Roger to come out to his quarter final match in a Tux..
  • Andy Murray to win (and subsequently use his prize money to fix his teeth)
  • Two 100-and-thirty-something seeds playing a match that goes for 4 hours and no one caring.
  • Sam Stosur is bomb out… again
  • At least one story about an Aussie getting in a fight with a Brit in the crowd.
  • Pippa Middleton to marry some unknown blogger from Adelaide……
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Angels and Demons- The coaching game

Who would be a coach ey? First to receive criticism after a bad loss and the last to get a pat on the back for a victory, coaches are often under-appreciated and overly analysed to the point where they are in a lose-lose situation.

 
Yesterday the Melbourne Football Club relieved senior coach Mark Neeld of his position after a horror 18 months on the job. In his time Neeld only won 5 of 33 matches as top dog for the Demons. Looking at those stats you could hardly blame the Dees for giving him the flick, but there is plenty of behind the scenes info that needs to be taken into consideration.

 
It doesn’t take a sports scientist or a genius to realise that there is a serious culture within the MFC both on and off the field. Miserable on field results, ever decreasing crowds, an unhealthy balance sheet, senior players/personnel leaving and the passing of a club legend and saviour – all things that could contribute to the clubs performance over the past few years and issues that need addressing, but to blame it all on a rookie coach is too much.

 
Neeld came with little fanfare, but a huge backing from colleagues around the league. Word has it he nearly pinched the Adelaide job until Sando really stood up for the position. At the time he looked like he ticked all the boxes:

• Successful past
• New ideas/game plan
• Solid team around him (Neil Craig)
• Passion and enthusiasm for the job

But slowly and surely the downward spiral of the Demons continued on his watch. Watching his team play was hard on the eye, no passion, no guts, no clear game plan, some shocking displays of skill and record losing margins.
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Hindsight is 20/20, and we can all sit back, have a shot at a coach who tried his best and never fully had the backing of his players and say they should have hired a more experienced coach, but realistically, who was available and willing? Paul Roos was chased pretty hard by all reports but declined, then who?….. Exactly, no one.

 
Neeld’s list management was probably a downfall, turning over so many players it was clear he had a mission and looking back its easy to say that he might have been better served take a slower, more calculated approach but again, that’s hindsight. He had a plan and has the balls to stick to it and you have to commend someone for that.

 
The real harsh words should be kept for the players on the list, who week after week collected their pay but offered little resistance each Saturday. If you are paid to play football, you PLAY FOOTBALL. It shouldn’t matter if your opinion differs from the coach, or what the score is, you earn you keep. Too many of Melbourne’s 22 listed players each game didn’t bring the effort and attitude required to be elite players and an elite team.

 
Now you can say that it’s up to the coach to motivate them, but I am in the other corner, if you can’t motivate yourself after earning $200k+ a year and having the chance to play football for a living, than you’re in the wrong industry.

 
Imagine the task of captaining this squad? You would think that an experienced, strong-minded leader from within the group, right? Wrong, they pick two 21 year olds with not even 50 games experience in the big league. Now, both Jack Trengrove and Jack Grimes are terrific players and future leaders. But the key word is future these are players with talent to burn, great attitudes and skills but to force them into such a negative limelight this early, was in my opinion a mistake. Look at the Crows, when Simon Goodwin retired and the captaincy opened up, there were many calls for young gun Patrick Dangerfield to take the reins, but they took the safer option, allowing Dangerfield to progress naturally. His skills and leadership have blossomed without the added responsibly and daunting task of captaining the side.

 
Speaking as a sportsman at a fairly high level (humble brag at its best) who has been in a similar situation (don’t worry though, the mighty Mavs will be back!), playing in a losing side is tough, very tough, and it takes strong characters, leaders and a huge amount of work to get back on top. Melbourne must put the right people in all positions, both on the field and off the field.

 
The mark of a man is his demeanour when he is on the floor. Neeld was on the floor, bleeding for most of his unsuccessful tenure, but manned up to the media with a smile on his face each and every day, rain hail or shine after 100pt losses or thrilling wins over GWS. Mark Neeld wasn’t the problem with the Melbourne Football Club and anyone saying so it overly naïve and most likely an idiot.

Movie Music Magic

I love music and I also love movies and television shows. That’s why I freaking love it when they have music scenes in movies or TV!! So I have decided to list 5 of my favorite music scenes in movies or TV. Now before everyone gets on my back about them, these are my favorite, not the best songs, the best acting, the best dancing, but the scenes that make me either sing along, get irrationally happy or get up and dance.

In no particular order, here we go!

Ferris Beuller’s Day Off

Ahh Ferris, the fun loving, cheeky troublemaker who finds the line and not only crosses it, he picks it up and plays jump rope with it. This scene encapsulates the essence of the movie. Ferris does what he wants, when he wants and everyone seems to love it.  At the start of the scene, Cameron’s anxiety about college, Sloane is being the ever perfect balance of friend and amazingly stunning, out of this world babe, while Ferris crashes a street parade… I mean, this sums up the movie. I love this film, I love this scene and I LOVE SLOAN.. Plus, Twist and Shout is a great song!

Robin Hood- Men in Tights

What can you say about this half piss take, half re-make of a classic childhood story? In one of the first movies I ever remember watching, I can nearly recite it line for line. But this is my favorite scene, by far. Unfortunately in this clip you miss the start, but when they are complaining, “only a man could wear tights” it has to be one of the most subtly funny moments in the film. Plus the added bonus of having Blinkin front row, punching this and messing up that.. comedic gold Mel Brooks, comedic gold.

Shawshank Redemption

From my favorite movie comes on of the more surreal music scenes to me. When Andy locks the guard in the bathroom and escapes (in his mind) off with Mozart to a world where he was free, as Red describes, makes your heart melt. For Andy, it was these moments that kept him sane, making the library, doing the taxes, just things regular Joe’s took for granted, but without them the ending could have been a whole lot different. You can see the peace in his eyes when he lays back in the chair, just free to be in his own world for once.

The Replacements

This clip has it all, a bar fight, followed by a jail scene and ending with a dance along. After a punch up with the overpaid pretty boy, strike players, the replacements are sent to jail and it serves as the turning point for the team, a bonding as you will. After a good beating, some laughs and an unexpected dance off, the team rallies to make the playoffs. What I truly love about this scene is when you see coach McGinty come down the stairs the players scatter like tenpins, apart from Franklin and Murphy (who is of course deaf), hilarious.

Community

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHMkT_p7Xfc

In typical Community fashion, season 3 kicks off with a parody song, taking the absolute mickey out of shows like Glee and High School Musical. The comically choreographed routine and lyrics show the world, ex-high powered lawyer, Jeff would love to live in.. Until he is woken up from his daydream and snaps back to reality. What’s better than one show taking the piss out of another show? Nothing, nothing at all.

There we have it, my top 5. Want to add some? Let me know in the comments!

Choking Hazard? That’s old news..

Looks like we jumped in Doc Browns Delorean and zoomed back to 2011…. Every NBA fan is back on Lebron James back after a disappointing NBA Finals game.

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Today the age old San Antonio Spurs took a 2-1 lead in the Finals behind some record breaking, long distance three ball shooting from none other than

Danny Green and Gray Neal… yep, I didn’t expect to be writing that sentence any time soon either..

Two story lines came from the 113-77 rout of the Spurs.

1)   Green and Neal combined for 13-19 shooting from the land of plenty, as the Texan twosome helped the Spurs to a record break 16 made three pointers in the Finals.

2)   For the third game in a row, Lebron James scored under 20 points, putting up a 15/11/5 game in his teams crushing loss.

If you jump on Twitter, Facebook or forums around the world, all you can see is “OMGGG Lebron is chokinggg!!11!”. But lets put it into some perspective, today the Spurs shot the bananas out of it, well actually- 2 role players shot the bananas out of the ball. In game two he had a TRIPLE DOUBLE, let that sink in for a while, plus his defense was phenomenal. Game 1? Well we all saw how well Parker played at the end and it was Lebron who sparked the Heat all game.

In other words, Lebron is not choking. This is coming from a MASSVIE Lebron hater. I hated how arrogant he was when he came into the league, I hated that he pussied out and joined Wade and Bosh in Miami, I hated how good he was the past two seasons and when Dirk and the Mavsknocked him off in 2011, it was probably one of my favorite all time sporting memories as a fan. But what he does in each game cannot be questioned.

As seen in the playoffs, the Heat has an on/off switch. At times during the ECF against the Pacers, with their backs against the wall, it was Lebron who put the team on his shoulders and carried them. His game 2, 18-18-10 was what most people would consider a top game, but we know he had so much more, he just didn’t need to DO IT!!!

Comparisons to previous Lebron playoff failures, 2011 Finals against the Mavs and 2010 going up against the ultra bullies the Boston Celtics have got to stop. He shrunk in those moments, he is taking this team as far as he can. Leonard and Green are terrific defenders, dogging him all game and with Bosh playing like the dinosaur he is and Wade doing who knows what, his help is severely hampered.

The Spurs are a juggernaut, going 9 deep with each and every player knowing and playing their role to a tee. Game 3 was a perfect example. Danny Green(light to shoot thaaa rock if ya know what I meeean!) plays tough D on Wade and Lebron and shoots open 3s, Kawhi Leonard is hounding Lebron for 40 minutes, Tony Parker is quarterbacking this side and Manu is just coming in for 5-6 minutes a quarter and wreaking havoc, doing crazy Manu things.

In other words, this Spurs team is rolling. But did you know what? This Heat side has not lost consecutive games since Jan 8 and 10….. think about that, I mean seriously think about that.

After Lebron comes up with a 35/10/8 monster in game 4 (which is totally conceivable), I’m betting the bandwagon will be full and the MJ comparisons will start right up.

So a few words of advice, stop being so fickle, enjoy the series for what it is. Two super talented teams going head to head, two styles of power vs precision, and an obscene amount of time left for anything to play out. If he goes for two more 7-21 games, in two blow outs, then lets have this discussion again..

In the mean time….. GO SPURS!

Who wants to be an idiot?

The past week in AFL has been a rollercoaster ride for fans, players, members of the media and even club officials. Nearing the end of Friday nights opening match of the much-celebrated Indigenous Round, celebrating the huge contribution Indigenous players have made to our nations game, Sydney Swans star, Adam Goodes was racially vilified by a young, immature 13-year-old fan.

As the game was a blow out at that stage, I had started watching the latest episode of Parks and Recreation. Checking my twitter feed I saw some unusual tweets talking about the game and namely Goodes and a spectator. My first thought was “you cannot be serious, in this round?” mixed with “kick this idiot out of the stadium and ban them for life”.  Flicking back onto the footy and reading reports on the net, the nation and myself were shocked to find the offender was so young.

My attitude then changed, this girl probably had no idea the ramifications of making such a comment, which therein lays the problem. The girl is a product of an environment created by years of casual/inadvertent racism.

Saturday morning Goodes gave one of the most professional and intelligent press conferences I have seen. He spoke of educating the fan and other young children, he took the blame off her and dug deep to share the pain he felt when he heard the comment.

Just as it seemed the issue was dying down, another video surfaced of a Collingwood fan screaming at the umpires to give various Indigenous Swans players free kicks due to the color of their skin…. Disgraceful, I was so disturbed by viewing the video I took a few minutes to reflect. What exactly run through these people’s minds? Did they think it was clever?  Or even worse, true? How are these attitudes formed?

While a blanket statement that Australia is a racist country is totally inaccurate, (racism happens all over the world regardless of which country you are in), it still happens too often.

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After Friday night’s incident, President of the Collingwood Football Club and media personality Eddie McGuire personally sought out Goodes to apologize and aim to rectify the situation. Even the most loyal haters of Mcguire could see the class shown in the tough and sticky situation that he faced. He attacked the issue head on and should be applauded for how he handled himself and represented his football club.

After the writing the above 68 words, it pains me to say he blew all the work he did Friday night and then some, out of the water with a few STUPID comments on his radio program with Luke Darcy. McGuire suggested Goodes could be used to promote he musical ‘King Kong’. Here is the transcript:

McGuire: “Get Adam Goodes down for it do you reckon?”

Darcy: “No I wouldn’t have thought so, absolutely not.”

McGuire: “You can see them doing that can’t you?”

Darcy: “Who?”

McGuire: “Goodsey.”

Darcy: “What’s that?”

McGuire: “You know with the ape thing, the whole thing, I’m just saying the pumping him up and mucking around and all that sort of stuff.”

Just reading that makes me shake my head. He has since come out and issued an apology.

“I’m happy to stand here in front of everybody, in front of the country, and say we do not stand for racial vilification. I let myself down because I had a slip of the tongue.” He said in a press conference.

Now I do not for one second think that Eddie is a racist and that his slip of the tongue was a dumb mistake.Every human on this earth is entitled to make mistakes, its what helps you grow as a person and helps us grow as a society- As long as you learn from it.

But for a highly educated, media savvy, strong minded man like McGuire to have such a ginormous meltdown, in the one forum he has total control over his words, it unacceptable.

Pies player Harry O’Brien had this to say about his Presidents huge mistake. His comments come from the heart and the head. Something needs to be done.

This casual and accidental racism is prevalent in society and needs to be stamped out through education and enough people having the balls to stand up to someone when they make a flippant remark.

I cringe every time I hear the words “I’m not racist, but……”. For one, it is generally followed up by a ridiculously offensive statement.And two, if you aren’t racist, why must you tell everyone that? Couldn’t you let you actions and attitude do the talking? I often feel like doing this.

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AFL and sport in general, have such a large influence in Australian society, and the recent incidents could possibly help bring light to the issues faced, educate others and take a step in the right direction.

20 years ago, St Kilda star and Indigenous player, Nicky Winmar stood up to the crowd one Saturday after at Victoria Park, striking the now famous pose, pulling up his guernsey and pointing to the color of his skin. The image (Left) is now etched in Australian sporting folklore. In 20 years, we could possibly be saying the same out this iconic Goodes photo too….

Pics-http://zerotheabsolute.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/racism.jpg,  www.heraldsun.com.au

Daft Punk’s Discopalooza..

ImageWee Waa, New South Wales- Population 2000, AKA the ‘ Cotton Capital of Australia’….. and for the past week, the world dance music mecca. Wait what? That doesn’t sound right?

Alas, as most things French DJ duo, Daft Punk do, it sounds perfect. Wee Waa recently held the album launch of the much-awaited new album ‘Random Access Memories’.

The seedy Frenchmen (I’m sorry to portray stereotypes, but I hate Frenchmen for some reason. Possibly this Tony Parker advert) announced that the sleepy town in little old Australia would be the home to its release of an album four years in the making. A little odd, right? But that’s the way they do it and that’s they way we love it.

The annual Wee Waa Farm Show this year slashed as a dance party with nearly 2000 people attending the opening and for one night, doubling the population of Wee Waa!!!

One conversation that all music lovers would have had at some stage, who is the one band/DJ/act you need to see? For me, that has always been Daft Punk. There is something about their music, stage presence and fun party atmosphere they convey, that I feel I NEED to see.

Now I am the first to admit, I am most likely not their biggest fan, know all their songs or even like all their songs, but seeing an act live is more than just about music. So chances are if DP are ever in AUS, you will see me in the middle of the dance floor making a fool of myself but having the time of my life.

Onto the album itself though, and as usual it has its lovers and its haters. The album features many collaborations, most notably the ageless Pharrell, combing with the Frenchies on hit singles ‘Get Lucky’ and ‘Lose Yourself to Dance’. The distinct disco feel, mixed with modern electronic noise, make you feel stuck in a time warp between 80s London and late noughties club nights.

After RAM was released, a quick look on my Twitter timeline (shameless plug, what of it?) saw a few complaints about the album. Many twits claimed t was boring, slower or ‘had no bangers’. Well as my resident hipster friend, Daviid, pointed out to me, the album was never going to be Discovery mk 2. From the time the duo announced that music supremeo, Nile Rodgers, was co-producing, everyone with an ear (you know, for listening) should have known RAM wasn’t going to be your average electro discography.

One thing that may have caught your average, electro loving, wannabe-hipster-but-also-mainstream club going young adult is the distinct theme of romance spread through RAM. But can you blame Thomas and Guy-Manuel, I mean they are nearly 40!! Priorities change, but sheesh they did it well.

 

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Things I rated:

  • The disco theme- I mean, who doesn’t love to move their hips to some disco? I thought Pharrell was a perfect wingman to fly with the Daft Punk boys backto the 80s to get everyone shakin’.
  • When it comes to music, I love a tune that can both get me up and about ready to party, or help ease me out of a jaeger induced coma on a Sunday. Half the album I feel fits this description to a tee, namely Lose Yourself to Dance, Instant Crush and Doin’ it Right.
  • I’m a softy at heart and the romance seeps out of The Game of Love and Instant Crush. Doesn’t it just give you that warm fuzzy feeling?… no?…. yeah… me either. Moving on…
  • Paul Williams voice on Touch, nuff said.
  • Give Your Life Back to Music- Flight Facilities take on Justice? Thumbs up!

Things I didn’t rate:

  • The autotune, especially in Beyond? Little too much for me. Felt like a bad Yeezy (or Yeezus?) song from 808s and Heartbreak!
  • Now I’m a 90s kid, I have zero to no concentration span. You can’t be giving me 8-9 minute songs! Sorry Touch and Giorgio by Moroder, you gotta go!
  • Picking nits here, but each song was just a liiiiitle to repetitive for me. Not enough to warrant negative really, more of a slightly raised eyebrow. Like this guy!

Consider RAM the evolution in the music life of Daft Punk. I mean if you asked a 29 year old if they loved their 21st of course they are going to say yes, but would they want to throw the same party for their dirty thirty? Chances are no. In a world filled with DJ whatshisname pumping out music so close to being copyright its not funny, you have to take your hat off to the Frenchmen for taking that next step in music production and not making the same album with a different cover.

Daft Punk moved back in time to move forward with music. Taking the best of the 80s disco scene and mixing it with today’s technology to create another branch on dance music’s ever-growing tree.

They they say change is as good as a holiday, well I say this album is as good my trip overseas will hopefully be- SCHWEEET 7/10 thumbs up!

Don’t agree? Let me know, chances are you know more about music than I do, so educate me!

Pic- http://www.daftpunk.com, http://www.news.com

Welcome to the House of Fun!

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If you are reading this you are either a good friend helping a poor student out, a Twitter follower of mine who actually thinks what I say means something or you are lost…

Either way, welcome to the house of fun that is my blog! For a uni course of mine I have decided to write a few thoughts down on anything and everything sports and pop culture. So have a read, comment on my dribble, share on Facebook/Twitter/Linked In, Instagram (somehow?) or good old fashioned word of mouth! The more interaction I get, the higher grade I might end up with!