THE VIEW FROM DOWN HERE #115 – The One Where Things Settle Down

 A short one because, let’s face it, nothing’s really happening in Australian sport at the moment.

Cricket
Second Test – India v Australia
Australia 1st innings 478; India 1st innings 495; Australia 2nd innings 223; India 2nd innings 2/207 – India won by 7 wickets
            India won the series 2-0
1st ODI: India v Australia at Kochi
            Match abandoned due to awful weather. Not a ball was bowled. Shame.
News
Following yet another series loss to India, and after disastrous forays elsewhere this year, captain Ricky Ponting’s job… is perfectly safe! The coach’s job… is perfectly safe! The jobs of the selectors… are perfectly safe! Now, I know I’ve harped on here about coaches copping the blame for poor performances and being sent to the gallows, but this has been a long time., At the elite level, cricket coaches don’t do that much (if anything), so who do we blame? Who takes the leadership role? Who selects the team? Australia are going to be soundly defeated in the Ashes on home soil if the current form guide is to be any indication. And yet nothing will change. It was once said that it is harder to get kicked out of the Australian team than it is to get in (unless you’re from South Australia where getting in is impossible). Recent results would seem to indicate that Australia will lose, the media will kick up a stink and Australian elite cricket will go along oblivious to even losing.

Soccer
A-League Round 10
North Queensland Fury 2 def Perth Glory 1
Melbourne Victory 3 def Sydney 0
Brisbane Roar 1 drew with Newcastle Jets 1
Wellington Phoenix 2 drew with Melbourne Heart 2
Gold Coast United 0 drew with Adelaide United 0
News:
Why bother?

Basketball
NBL – Round 1
Wollongong 83 def Gold Coast 77
Melbourne 68 def by Sydney 84
Townsville 79 def Cairns 70
Sydney 70 def by New Zealand 83
Adelaide 74 def Perth 69
News:
Another new NBL season. This time we actually have a team from Sydney, although we almost didn’t have a team from Adelaide as one of its main financial backers has been accused of some naughtiness. It has nothing to do with the team itself, and so I won’t go into details, but it did almost derail them at the eleventh hour.
            If this is anything like last year, there will be little actual news to report. The basketballers tend to behave themselves. But the administration is something else. They tend to be amateur-ish at best. This is the third or so revamp of a national basketball competition in recent years, and those in charge are pushing for basketball to be as big in Australia as they think it was in the mid-90s. That could be interesting. But things do seem to have settled down a bit, so we shall see if this one works.

Commonwealth Games
Final medal tally for the XIX CommGames, Delhi 2010*
Australia: 74 gold, 55 silver, 48 bronze, 177 in Total
India: 38g, 27s, 36b, 101T
England: 37g, 59s, 46b, 142T
Canada: 26g, 17s, 32b, 75T
Republic of South Africa: 12g, 11s, 10b, 33T
Kenya: 12g, 11s, 9b, 32T
Malaysia: 12g, 10s, 14b, 36T
Singapore: 11g, 11s, 9b, 31T
Nigeria: 11g, 10s, 14b, 35T
Scotland: 9g, 10s, 7b, 26T
            [* This final tally is completely dependent upon the outcomes of various random drug testing. So far two Nigerians – and maybe a third – as well as one Indian have tested positive in B samples, and a few others from other nations may also have not been entirely legit. So be prepared for changes…]
News:
Australia won. Didn’t crack that 200 medal mark this time, but you’re not going to do that every Games, seriously. However, the fun happened afterwards. An unnamed Australian athlete was sent home for allegedly breaking some unspecified rules (could have been a boxer dropping his pants to a judge?). The Games village had, for the first time ever, an open bar, meaning after the closing ceremony (very impressive, by the way) the Australians did what Australians overseas everywhere do – got drunk and acted like morons. According to reports, rooms were trashed, fittings broken, a washing machine was pushed out of an eighth storey window, lewd behaviour was the norm… Hang on. A washing machine? What, a TV is just too passé? Indian police described the Australians as “berserk”. The Australian officials described the incident as “exaggerated” and describe the team as being “in high spirits.” So good to see the reputation of our fine nation being lived up to by those sent to represent us…
            Much to everyone’s surprise, the Indians in the end did a fine job of hosting these Games. They may be paying for them for a while and may now own a few white elephants, they may have had some appalling crowd numbers, they may have had dodgy water in the swimming pools, but, really, the Games were damn fine in the end. Congratulations all round to the Indians for pulling it off, even if the rest of the Commonwealth did have their doubts.
            And now we wait two years for the London Olympics where Australia will see their true place in world sport – over-achievers who can’t really match the big boys but who will win a few medals and make lots of excuses.

Australia!
From reading the Internet and watching shows like Jon Stewart’s Daily Show and anything with The World’s Worst in the title I have come to understand that there are certain states in the USA where the population is regarded as, shall we say, educationally challenged.
            In Australia the place is called Queensland.
            Well, Queensland has taken a big step to join the twentieth century (no, that’s not a mistake). A couple was charged with offences related to having a non-emergency abortion. Yes, in Queensland abortion is essentially illegal. So, this couple were charged, taken to court… and the charges against them were dismissed. The statute is still on the books, but it’s good to see a court with common sense.
            Now, if we can just convince them that a desert is not a good place to grow rice and cotton, that cutting down every single tree in sight is probably not the best land or animal management strategy, that cane toads are a feral animal that should have its expansion encouraged, that corruption is not the ideal way to run a police force or government system, that education is something that should actually teach the children at a level comparable with everyone else in Australia…
            However, of course, if they do change, then who will be the butt of our jokes?
            Of course, Queenslanders shoot back with their glorious weather (rained last 3 times I was up there), their theme parks (Americanised, overpriced, poorly managed), the fact that the Gold Coast is one of the fastest growing areas in Australia (made up of ex-pat Victorians who’ll do anything to get away from Melbourne), their popularity as a tourist destination (which would be a lot lower if it was not for schoolies week, attracting not only kids leaving high school but also a certain amount of older men and women who go to pick up a drunk teenaged root), and their wonderful night-life (where you can get drunk any time of the day or night so long as you are nowhere north of Brisbane in which case the towns shut at about 5 in the afternoon).
            They had (and maybe still have, who cares?) a tourist tag line: ‘Queensland – beautiful one day, perfect the next.’ And it’s true, because everything’s beautiful and perfect when you’re drunk and stoned.

And that’s the View through to October 11, 2010.

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