Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Of Turnarounds

turnaround [ˈtɜːnəˌraʊnd]
n
 a complete reversal of a situation or set of circumstances
(This is one of several definitions of course).
I am a supporter of Arsenal football club and the Indian Cricket team. What has happened - first on Sunday, as Arsenal beat Sp*rs 5-2, followed by today's incredible chase of India to score 321 in less than 37 overs against Sri Lanka, has been quite staggering.
Both these performances, on their own are tremendously impressive, but the background makes them quite unbelievable. For this to happen with both my sports teams is a very happy coincedence as well.
Arsenal, having probably their worst season in a long time; coming off back to back cup defeats - a quite clinical dismantling at the San Siro by Milan to lose 4-0 in the CL Round of 16 1st leg, followed by a rather dispirited effort at Sunderland to lose 2-0 and go out of the FA Cup. Facing their bitter local North London rivals, Tottenham, having probably their best season in 50 years, and ahead of the Gunners by 10 points - on course to avoid St. Totteringham's Day for the first time in 15 years ! Arsenal, in serious danger of losing their place in the Top 4 for the first time in Arsene Wenger's reign. Add up all this and you have a team in disarray playing their in form rivals and down 2-0 in the first half an hour at home. At that time, as a fan all you are doing is praying to avoid a humiliation. To then score 5 unanswered goals and play with a belief and style that has seemed long lost, is quite incredible. What was looking an ominous afternoon in a cauldron, in front of supporters, possibly on the brink of a mass mutiny, was converted by the end, into a carnival filled, with surprising joy and disbelief. It was a TURNAROUND of epic proportions.
India, on the last leg of a long, forgettable tour of Australia. Coming off two back to back defeats and virtually with no chance of making the finals; a team whose batting is in disarray and bowling is, rather inept. Facing a rejuvenated Sri Lanka side, who have among other things, just beaten Australia twice in a row, seemingly on top of their form. To then concede 320 runs and being asked to make an impropable chase of that in 40 overs was well, just not on. Or so we thought, before the team finished that off in just over 36 overs !!. It was a stunning TURNAROUND !
As a sports fan, you face defeat of may different types. This wonderful article mentions 13. Conversely, just occassionally, we get a chance to experience truly special, unforgettable victories as well. Over the last three days, I have just had two really special ones.
We all love stories of comebacks and turnarounds. In life, these things do take time. Coming back from a personal loss or a business failure or a serious illness, can take months, perhaps years. Sports, however, is life in fast forward. You can experience incredible lows, or as in these two cases, incredible highs, in a matter of hours, even minutes. It is moments like this, which justify my idea of never giving up ( or rather switching off) from a match which I have started watching (or as it happens more often these days - follow on the net). You just, never know. It is this, which makes it all worthwhile. And it can make you feel so good, like this.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

DON'T PANIC

Somewhere in the great publishing houses of Ursa Minor, a wholly remarkable book called The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is published. A book so remarkable that among other things, it is more controversial than the trilogy of philosophical blockbusters: Where God SRT Went Wrong,Some More of God's SRT's Greatest Mistakes and Who is this God SRT Person Anyway?
The back cover of this wholly remarkable book is presently undergoing a major change. The back cover which had the words DON'T PANIC inscribed in large friendly letters is now getting a picture of the greatest practitioner of this advice, someone who apparently once stumbled upon the Answer to the Question of Life, the Universe and Everything , and who happens to be a member of the human race (a carbon-based life form descended from apes).
This is how the back cover looks now.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Geoffrey Boycott Alarm

How do you get up in the morning ? Chances are you use an alarm. What sort of an alarm ? An old school alarm clock ? Or a bollywood hit  belted out on your mobile phone ? Well, for a long time I had "Emotional Atyachar" from DevD as my alarm ring tone, because getting up for office is exactly that.
Anyway, back to the point. I love Audioboo. I am not sure why it is not yet popular among my friends or say, the twitter junta that I interact with. I do keep checking it out randomly, and last night I discovered this.
The Geoffrey Boycott Alarm. I am not sure whether it is an imitation or it is indeed Sir Geoffrey's voice. But by God, it is fun. And your grandmum will like it. Check it out.

Geoffrey Boycott Alarm (mp3)

Friday, February 3, 2012

WOW - RAH !!!

I LOVE Robert Pires. He was the type of player who made me and many Gooners around the world, dream. Yup, dreamy is the word, Arsenal fans use about him quite often, especially The Arseblogger.
I remember that one evening distinctly in 2003. It was Oshtomi and we were playing at Anfield. I clearly told my parents that Pandal Hopping would have to wait this evening for me, for my Gods were on the telly. And with the game at 1-1, this happened !!!

It is probably one of my most favourite goals ever. I don't know why, I remember it so distinctly, I remember going beserk at that time, wearing a certain yellow t-shirt at home. I still have that and whenever I wear it, my mind keeps going back to that Oshtomi evening. And this goal.
Bobby was awesome. The Arseblogger wrote the following in his good bye post for Bobby, many summers ago, which sums him up beautifully:

".. He was clever on the ball and creative, although his cruciate injury robbed him of his deceptive pace, he passed it beautifully but his goalscoring and finishing was just top class. Not only could he score brilliant curlers and individual goals he was a brilliant poacher as well. He was always waiting for a rebound or a fumble or hanging around the back post, just in case, and that just in case became ‘Thank you very much’ plenty of times.
He was just clinical. Left foot, right foot, from distance, free kicks, even the odd header. His first goal for the club was an absolute belter against Lazio. His last was a scrappy one against Wigan. But there were so many great ones inbetween. The curler at Liverpool in the unbeaten season, the 35 yard lob over the keeper against Southampton before he scuttled in the winner against them in the cup final, the famous lob over Schmeichel which made Andy Gray wee in his pants, the belter against Birmingham and all the goals against Sp*rs who must be happier than anyone to see him go. He never once finished on the losing side of a North London derby and scored 8 goals in 12 appearances. "
The world is a strange place. It is 2012 and Robert Pires, yes the same, dreamy, brilliant, awesome Robert Pires is going to turn up for HOWRAH in a newly formed professional football league in Poschim Bongo !!! When they say, truth is stranger than fiction, they mean things like this. It is unbelievable in so many levels, that it makes me just shake my head, but also smile. Just read this and smile if you are a football loving Bong:
"Hernan Crespo, the famed Argentine striker, fetched the highest price of Rs. 4.2 crore and was picked up by Barasat. Fabio Cannavaro, the World Cup-winning captain of Italy in 2006 — was bought by Siliguri for Rs. 4.15 crore. Robert Pires, the French midfielder, was picked up by Howrah for Rs. 4 crore, while English striker Robbie Fowler (2.65 crore) and Nigerian midfielder Jay-Jay Okocha (2.75 crore) went to Kolkata and Durgapur respectively."
Now repeat with me: Crespo will play for Barasat, Cannavaro for Siliguri, Pires for Howrah !!! This is the type of  stuff you don't even think or dare dreaming. I know that they are old now, possibly spent forces and all that, but still. Jeez.
They are calling it Football's Expendables and I am absolutely clueless as to what impact this will have, if any at all, on Indian football, as Pires joins the likes of Cannavaro and Crespo in the Maidans of Bengal.
I will probably watch on sometimes as a curious onlooker when the thing happens, but just for now, I will go back to what some of us do about Bobby. SWOON
Swoon

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