Real Kultcha

Confession Time.

In my last literary masterpiece I said Novak Djokovic was going for a Golden Grand Slam in the US Open tennis final.  For those of you who might be interested, a Golden Grand Slam has the player (male or female) winning the four majors in the same year (Australian {on a synthetic surface}, French {clay}, Wimbledon {grass} and the US {synthetic again}) and then taking out the Olympic Games’ gold medal.  

As tennis has only recently been returned to the Olympics, this is a newish opportunity and it only comes around every four years.  It’s fair to say therefore, it’s a biggy!  Well, I got it wrong.  Alexander Zeverev defeated Novak in a semi-final in Tokyo so a Golden Grand Slam at the US Open wasn’t up for grabs after all!

BUT, did any of you mental athletes spot it and let me know?  Just one, that’s how many.  And he’s an old school friend and I have to admit, was quite gentle in how he informed me of my clanger.  And that just goes to show we writers (and sports dribblers) aren’t always right!  What do you expect from somebody who follows St George (I’ve got several shirts and even a jersey with my name on the back) and St Kilda (yep, more shirts and even some work socks).  If you’re really upset then why not have a go at writing your own 900-word rant for the editor of this Internationally acclaimed newspaper!  Have a go, ya mug!  What have you got to lose, besides your physical lethargy and your mental torpor!

Meanwhile, the annual cricket Big Bash comps have begun.  I have to admit I’m a bit old (“How old?” I hear you shout.  Let’s say, it’s been a few years since I saw my 70th birthday cake!) but I was mightily impressed with the standard of cricket played in the first couple of Lady’s matches.  Several of the catches will not be equalled in the men’s comp, the fielding was very impressive and I’m still getting used to seeing a young girl (and several of them were in their teens) field the ball just inside the rope and throw the ball back to the wicket-keeper, on the full and within a (and here I’m showing my age) foot of the bails!  When I was young, girls didn’t throw things with such vigour (and accuracy) because it wasn’t considered lady-like.  The games I’ve seen so far have been thrilling to watch and I’ll be watching for the rest of the comp.

With regard to the football grand finals, I managed to pick one:  The Melbourne Demons.  The Storm  got swamped and when the dust settled, The Penrith Panthers  had pinched the lollies from Wayne Bennett’s  Bunnies.

And speaking of Wayne Bennett, the ARL has decided (over objections by the other clubs) to expand the NRL to 17 teams for the 2023 season.  And who got the guernsey?  The Redcliffe Leagues Club – The Dolphins – just to the north of Brisbane got it.  And what’s all this got to do with Wayne Bennett?  He’s been appointed their coach, that’s what.  The team will play the bulk of their games at Suncorp Stadium, some at their own field at Redcliffe and some on The Sunshine Coast, drawing in fans from as far north as Gympie, Nambour and Noosa.  The old fox was very tight lipped (like he always is) when his contract with  The Bunnies  ended after the Grand Final appearance and didn’t everybody think they’d sign him up to another contract, seeing he’d got them to  The Big Dance?  As usual, the dribblers got it wrong.  You should also be aware  The Dolphins  have some pedigree.  Their favourite son and arguably one of Australia’s greatest players, was Artie Beetson.  It’s a shrewd selection by the ARL as most people were expecting the Central Coast (Gosford) would get the nod in any expansion talk.  It may yet but not this time.

The Child Bride  and I have been watching the MLB games (that’s US baseball – please try to keep up) and it came as a bit of a surprise when we noticed we’ve managed to record 28 games!  Don’t know what we’ve clicked, touched or prodded on the remote (it may even be the result of it once falling on the floor) but we have a veritable cornucopia of sports to watch between now and well into next year.  Sorry, we refuse to watch  The BacheloretteLove Island  or  The Farmer Wants a Wife:  they’ll turn your brain to mush.

And finally there’s our Chloe McCardel.  On 13 October she swam The English Channel for the 44th time!  If you dig just a little deeper though, you’ll discover she swam the Channel for the 42nd time on 21 September, backed up for her 43rd crossing on 7 October before hitting the water again a week later for her 44th!  That’s impressive any way you look at it!  She now holds the record for the most English Channel swims by anybody!  And would you believe in 2015 she made three (count them: one, two, three) crossings of the Channel in just 37 hours!!!  Oh, and if that doesn’t grab you, she also holds the record for the longest, unassisted ocean swim of 77 miles (124 klms) from South Eleuthera Island to Nassau in the Bahamas.  I’m tired just reading all that!

Talk at you next month,

The Hillside Critic

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