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Monday, June 20, 2005

[Sport] Cambo: First Blood

More on that title (which I was the first to use by the way) later.

Please note that, while I continue to write about sport, I do not wish to distract you from the impending doom that will be upon us in the next 50years. Please refer to the countdown in the side-bar.

Now let’s get you distracted with sport.

The Indianapolis F1 Grand Prix was run last night. The “Schu” (Michael Schumacher) won at the Brick-yard again (his 4th US victory). Of course he was only racing five other cars and the only one that really had a show of beating him was his team-mate Reubens Barrichello.

Why only six cars on the grid? Because, they were from the only three teams that use Bridgestone tyres. The other teams use Michelin tyres and after Ralf Schumacher’s crash on Friday (and the subsequent withdrawal of a new batch from Michelin) the Michelin tyres were deemed unsafe. Apparently an extra chicane would have solved the problem but the F1 officials said “No dice” (I don’t know if that is what they actually said but it is a good enough approximation).

So the drivers and teams that pulled out are angry at F1 and the guy who runs it, Bernie Ecclestone. Bernie Ecclestone is pointing the finger at Michelin. I don’t like Bernie Ecclestone (more on him later) but I have to agree with him. Michelin knew what the track was like, they knew all the specs and they knew that they have multi-million dollar contracts with each of those teams. Maybe they should have made a tyre that didn’t spontaneously deflate on a high speed corner.

The fans were, understandably pissed off. Some apparently even threw cans onto the track.

However who said it was all doom and gloom. From FoxSports:

The happiest driver may have been Tiago Monteiro of Portugal, whose third place gave him his first F1 points and first podium finish.
Monteiro, who drives for Jordan, qualified 17th on Saturday and knew he didn't have a competitive car - until the boycott eliminated almost all of the competition.
"We always hope for a crazy race, to get the points. But I would never imagine a situation like that," Monteiro said. "It is a sad race. It's a shame what happened, but I'm happy, really excited, myself."
Have a look for Tiago on the leader board. And just for fun, here are the constructors’ standings.

Now back to Bernie Ecclestone. He has quickly climbed the ranks of my “idiots I hate” list. Mr Ecclestone has made comment on female driving sensation (not my words though she is very bloody good!) Danica Patrick.

When asked by a reporter whether or not Danica would do well in the F1, Ecclestone said (and again I’ll paraphrase, read the link for the actual quote) “Yeah wasn’t she good, but she should really just stay in the kitchen”. Son of a _ _ _ _ _!

Despite the fact the F1 (and all other motorsport) is just a much faster version of driving a car and requires neither immense physical musculature nor any other “masculine” traits, women are still in the minority. (No women driver jokes, please). Women are also, as has been noted here before, lighter and so are better on fuel economy etc that F1 teams pay millions of dollars to engineer. Save millions on engineering, hire a woman.


We interrupt this blog to mention that New Zealander Michael Campbell has just won the US Open. Kia Kaha, ka pai! He’s going to take home USD$1,170,000 (NZD$1,633,738.59). He beat out Tiger Woods who ended up second, with two strokes over (Campbell was even for the tournament). This from ESPN made me laugh a little:

The Maori tribesman from Wellington has six wins on the European PGA Tour.

“Tribesman”? Any way, well done Cambo. You are now worthy of favourable comparison with the great Bob Charles.


I don’t like cricket much but I do like the Australians losing. So last night it was reported that Bangladesh had beaten (World Champion) Australia in a tri-series match. This morning Australia was beaten again, this time by England. See with cricket it can take just a single player of brilliance to win a match, and that is what Bangladesh had. Well done lads! We will want to see more of this, developing nations finding their footing and actually winning matches.

Back to rugby now. The Lions have added another person to their extensive entourage (theirs is only eclipsed by the large numbers who follow boxers). This one is a “code breaker”. Scott Johnson will prowl the sidelines of the first test match between the All Blacks and the British & Irish Lions. His official title is “water carrier” but what he is actually doing is analysing the opposition attack: line outs; back lines; scrums etc. When a Lions player is injured he can run on with water and tell the players what’s happening.

Naturally All Black management is unhappy about this. But rugby is a funny game, there this sense of “well we don’t like what they’re doing but we’ll let them do it because complaining about it will make us look like sissies”. Did any one else applaud Otago captain Craig Newby for saying “they cheated all night and got away with it, and good on them”.

This code breaker thing is unusual. Basically “code breaker” is an incorrect term, a better one would be “spy”. See his job is to interpret the numbers, gestures and play calls that the players make on the field so he can go and tell the players things like: “if they call blue at the line out, it’s a throw to the front”.

In American football the coaches cover their mouths with clipboards because opposition coaches learned how to lip read and the signals go through a microphone straight into the QB’s helmet. This “code breaker” guy is basically going to be close enough to the players to hear what they say on the pitch. It means (and please no jokes) you could take away the players brains because they don’t have to figure anything out for themselves. I still believe that on-field tacticians (like Carlos Spencer, Andrew Mehrtens and Taine Randell) have the edge though. A deadly, flat defensive line? Chip and chase or kick through. No one covering the fringes of the ruck? Pick-and-go.

To really counter this bloke the All Blacks should speak in te reo Māori. Then they could change the description instead of just using code words. They could describe in detail what is going to happen and none of the opposition would be any the wiser.

Ka kite

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