At their prime they were the best in their class… but twenty years down the track do they still perform? Do one, or the other, or both offer value for money into future years or does their advanced years and way too many kilometres on the clock mean that they should be avoided like the plague. Socrates test drives the 1983 model Storm hooker and the 1977 model Bucc quarterback, rates their present-day performance, and considers the likelihood of them providing a satisfying driving experience into the future. Is one a better buy than the other? Is one more likely to win future championships than the other? Don’t consider buying a Cameron Smith or a Tom Brady without having read Socrates’ road test comparison report first!
What do Luis Suarez’ teeth, Nancy Kerrigan’s knees, Cameron Bancroft’s pockets, John Hopoate’s fingers, an Olympic Games Intellectually Disabled basketball competition and the Barbados national soccer team (oh… and lots and lots of other soccer teams and players) have in common? They all take center stage in some of the world’s nastiest and most hilarious sports cheating scandals. Titus O’Reily’s brand new book takes an inside look at the phenomenon of cheating in sport and lays the boot into the cheats while providing some answers as to why they carry out their despicable behaviours. Throughout the text he also reminds us that cheating usually has consequences and that the victims of cheating often suffer long term impacts that go further than merely the disappointment of being deprived of a victory. Socrates read O’Reily’s fascinating book in a small number of sittings. he found it difficult to put the thing down. Here are his impressions. Press the pic and read on!
rugby league shock
In an exclusive that is sure to shock the sports loving world, Senior Journalist for Sportsocratic, Socrates revealed that, according to a top football administrator, the popular State of Origin rugby league series format is about to be given a major shake up.
A senior Australian Rugby League official recently leaked to Socrates that the ARL are looking at tweaking the State of Origin team selections approach for future interstate matches. While not being totally dissatisfied with current arrangements the official argued that it was experimenting with selection rules that turned interstate Rugby League fixtures into the success that it is today, and decision makers should not rest on their laurels by not considering possible future selection possibilities. Get the details about the changes ahead in Socrates’ exclusive report. Click the pic and start reading.
The body and how it communicates
Socrates wonders why the surfing images he likes the best aren’t always the best surf shots or best surfers. Sometimes he gets a gut reaction to photos of ordinary surfers doing seemingly ordinary things. Dancer and choreographer Lewis Major thinks that the audience for any dance performance should naturally understand what a good dance is trying to communicate because, like the dancers on the stage, the audience have bodies. They bypass a theoretical understanding of the action. They have a visceral reaction! Their bodies get it. Socrates thinks that surfing is the same. We appreciate surfing and surfing photos because our bodies help us to get what is going on. It’s a gut thing! When watching (or looking at photographs) we can join in the dance. And it doesn’t have to be a technically brilliant dance to appreciate it!
learning about life through sport
While preparing a thesis on Friedrich Nietzche, philosopher John Kaag took at trip to the Swiss Alps to experience some of the places and pastimes that influenced the 19th century Swiss/German philosopher’s writing. While Nietzche didn’t specifically discuss his exploration of the high mountains in his work, the impact that the mountains had on his thinking became clear to Kaag has he emulated Nietzche’s hikes around Splugen and Piz Corvatsch. The significance and importance of suffering and the impact that walking has for humans in the way that it provides immediate physical benefit as well as liberates the mind and unleashes it’s potential for creativity were just some of the things made real to Kaag. The way that mountains enable humans to sense their own ephemeral nature also became clear. Take a walk with the young John Kaag and discover how important hiking, movement and mountains can be in the search for the understanding of human existence, knowledge and experience.
This excerpt from John Kaag’s book Hiking With Nietzche (Published 2018 – Farrar, Straus and Giroux) is reproduced with his permission.
To share John Kaag’s journey click on the pic… and discover how his search for Nietzche’s philosophy nearly cost him his life!
This good looking young bloke was a handy rugby league half back and a cracker fielder on the cricket oval (though he couldn’t bat or bowl to save himself). He also had a pretty handy back hand in tennis. The handy back-hand he still has! Anthony “Albo” Albanese may be a sports tragic who would still love to win a competition or two but he knows that sport has more going for it than the buzz you might get out of winning the next match. Great sport is about great community thinks Albo!
Waves of Pain
The ocean never fails to surprise with its choices for methods of torture of its adherents… as Byron Bay young gun surfer, Jack, discovered a few years back. While Jack had his heart in his mouth when he turned up for his surf lesson to discover that the Ocean at Tallow Beach was in an angry mood, he would never have imagined, in a million years, that his session would end up as it did. Click the pic and read about Jack’s adventure and discover how weird the ocean can be when it gets grumpy.
Imagine growing up around big waves, being addicted to surfing and then being transferred to a work place more well-known for its bears, forests and snow than surfing breaks. It can be a cruel world! Under such circumstances young folk would do almost anything for a surfing fix. Imagine yourself taking your “once in a blue moon chance” to get a wave and having that wave work you over so bad that it not only bloody nearly ruins your year but almost ruins your career. That’s what happenned to one young fella from Perth. Now that is a serious “Wave of Pain”. Usually, a day in the waves is bliss. Ocassionally it is hell. Read about one rare hell day here.
Philosopher’s Sports Bar
Multi-skilled and multi-award-winning sports presenter, sports expert, sociologist and philosopher, Aaron Kearney, joins Socrates in the philosopher’s sports bar to run through some of the changes that we might expect in our sporting lives when the dust from the Covid19 epidemic settles. Not only does Kearney describe a bunch of changes that are likely in the world of sport over the next twelve months but he has a bit of a wish list as well. Let’s knock the boring sports celebrities down a peg or two might be one of his hopes! Other than a democratization of the world of sports stardom there is not a lot of negative in the sporting world of 2021 that Kearney imagines. Check out his conversation with our beloved “Round Mound of Scrumming-Down” (Socrates) here. Just click on the pic.
When the dust from the corona virus finally settles what will our sporting world look like? Will everything just pop up again as if nothing had ever happenned… or will the world of sport be a completely different place? Who knows? Socrates decided to invite various sports philosophers to the sports bar to ask them about where they thought that sport would be in 2021. He started off with the republican author, columnist and rugger bugger with the penchant for red hankies… Peter Fitzsimons. Not surprisingly, one of Peter’s strongest messages was that he hoped that in a new world (with many genuine serious social, cultural and financial needs) it wouldn’t be sport that gets pushed up to the front of the queue when it comes to handouts.
Like many others I have always viewed horse racing with ambivalence. Previous and current generations of my extended family have had strong equestrian links but, on the matter of horse racing, opinions of family members have been split down the middle for decades. Attitudes were so powerful and entrenched that it was strictly forbidden, at family gatherings, to mention to Aunty Betty and Uncle Dick that cousin Matt and Uncle Dave kept race horses. And so, as this recent Melbourne Cup came around, yet again, my feelings towards the event were mixed. I had immense admiration for the athlete horses and jockeys for the extraordinary and difficult sporting event that they were going to participate in but I had huge reservations about the potential cruelty of the race and the gambling, drinking and foolish outfit wearing (described by many as “fashion”) I found repulsive.
Anyway, the first Tuesday in November came and went and, yet again, the horror stories that came out of the event far outweighed the heart-warming and life-affirming stories. Another horse had died during the running… and yet another jockey was handed a punishment for excessive use of the whip. As the news unfolded about the running of the race, my former ambivalence was rapidly swinging towards opposition.
The next morning, I heard Sydney academic Paul McGreevy on the radio discussing the Melbourne Cup. In the course of the interview he raised an issue that surprised me and, I suspect, would surprise most people. He and his research colleagues compared the performance of horses competing in “hands and heels” races (races where whipping is not permitted) with performance of horses competing in traditional, whip-use-permitted, events. They discussed their findings in a report for “The Conversation.” Here it is. Click the picture above to get the story… and read on!
Sports curmudgeon, Socrates, reckons that sports coaches have lots of pretty darn stupid things to say to their players but he ranks “I wanna hear lots of talking” up there at the top is the stupidest. Socrates wonders why coaches would want players to babble on pointlessly when the noise that they are making may well drown out genuinely important messages that players may wish to deliver to each other. Click the pic to get Socrates’ latest sports rant about the “talk it up on the pitch” phenomenon.
What is the secret to football (soccer) greatness? Socrates digs into the ancient Japanese philosophy of “Ma” to reveal the element that transforms soccer technical skills from mere trickery to sporting greatness. “Negative space” (or “Ma” as the Japanese call it) lies at the heart of beauty and functionality in art, culture, music, design, architecture, theatre and even spirituality. Here Socrates shows that “Ma” is also critical in sport… and especially soccer. Socrates describes how great soccer players and brilliant teams use the space between objects and gaps in time to create sporting magic.
I love the “hit up” in the game of Rugby League. Seeing blokes like John O’Neill, all those years ago, demanding the ball so he could terrorize his opponents with devastating runs, is one of the things that makes Rugby League great for me. Even so, would you believe that the passing game, statistically speaking, makes twice as much ground than passing the the ball one pass off the ruck for a hit up! Yet the hit up is done twice as often as passing the ball. Does this make sense? I love the “hit up” and it’s a key part of any great footy team’s arsenal but statistics seem to suggest that the “hit up” and the passing game should be used more wisely. Check it out.
aphorisms, insights and wisdom… about fishing!
sports style – or lack of it!
There are hundreds of fashion choices that look ridiculous, foolish, horrible and offensive in a sporting context but seven particular style choices brand the “sinner” almost beyond redemption. Socrates smugly sticks his massive nose in the air and points the finger of sartorial disgrace at the “sins” he finds most hideous.
Have you ever thought about living a life of adventure? Of buggering off to another land with a different culture, language and entire way of life and never coming back? That’s what John Morrell did decades ago. He went for a short visit… and never came back. If you went to Hokkaido too maybe you would do the same. Find out why John and his family are still loving the aspirin snow. Get his story in his chat with Socrates right here!