Humanly Sports Pages – Issue 32

PLAYING FOOTSIE
There was an unusual incident in the recent franchise tussle between Rich plc United and Even Richer plc City. In the sixty-ninth minute, the City striker, Gibrhail Gatsby was vomited on by Mikhail Peake, and the referee gave City a penalty.
Pundits immediately agreed that there was definite contact in the box, so the striker was not simulating in going full sprawl, arms outstretched, legs splayed, like a snowflake. As it turned out, Gatsby missed the penalty when he slipped on a bit of sick on the penalty spot. Despite protests, the referee refused to order the kick to be retaken. Instead, the member of the crowd behind the goal, who ended with sick on their favourite piece of merchandise, has filed for compensation. Meanwhile, Peake was substituted suffering from food-poisoning. His agent/lawyer has blamed United for deliberately bad catering. However, the club denied the allegations citing their signs that all their pies contain guts.
The game itself was a stats-fest, goalless stalemate. There were more free-kicks than any other game played on the day, and amongst seven yellow cards, two players were booked for the upcoming pantomime, Pussy In Boots; a witty parody of football, penned by the social satirist and critic of left-wingers in sport, E N Belton.

IT’S JUST NOT CRICKET
The gritty antipodean, Jake Handwarmer was held by British customs police after trying to smuggle guns and other weapons into the country in his kit bag. The biggest individual cache of over-aggression was found, clumsily concealed, in the twelve massive bats he was planning to use before lunch on the first day of the forthcoming first test.
Margery Chunderson, the local chief-officer summed the incident up with, “Such a lovely, pointless pastime, played for such astronomical sums of money: I can’t understand why you talk of war and killing. It is after all, just an esoteric game.”
Handwarmer also had a crease to mid-wicket arsenal in his array of boxes (colloquially known as jewel protectors). The friendly customs officer added, “I’d heard stories of the lad having big cojones but still smelled a rat at the actual size of his equipment.”
An innocent bystander, being held because her case was the wrong colour, said, “He’s lucky he’s not being charged with hate crime, after the things he said about the cricket matches being like a war, implying that the opposition were enemies.”
The over-zealous opener will still be released to play the first test but his captain said, “It’s unfortunate that Jake will now be on the back-foot when our coaches emphasised the need to be on the front-foot when batting in English conditions.”

THE FLOATING PUNT
The newcomer, Aquaplane has won the Epsom Salts Challenge at the Mill-On-The-Foss course in Sand-down on his first try.
The track is on a high water table and very vulnerable to waterlogging. In fact, this latest meeting caused controversy when it was declared fit for racing. the new category of soggy-to-swampy upset quite a few purists in the racing community.
One horse in the last race on the card was forced to pull up when it, Eider Or, tripped over a paddling of ducks two furlongs from home. Further upset was caused when Paddy Field, the jockey of Mount Arrowroot III, almost drowned after being thrown by his horse.
The manager of the racecourse was unrepentant as he shouted to a startled grandstand as he was manoeuvring his long boat up the paddock, “You shouldn’t be surprised by a punt at the races!”

SHORT CAUGHT, OF COURSE
The Ukrainian Four-man Bob team manager lodged a protest at the team’s placing at the recent meeting in Inclineschaft. The team finally came eighteenth despite being in the top five after the first run.
The basis of the protest is the discovery of some dubious yellow slush on the first bend. The organisers were quick to investigate the incident. The conclusion, much to the embarrassment of the committee, was that someone or something had urinated on the bend and caused a spot – of around ten centimetres – of non-compacted snow, consequently, the Ukrainian Bob was unfairly hampered and unable to make up the half a second hinderance of the offending patch of yellow snow.
Despite the presence of private security on the course, somebody had managed to get onto the track and sully the course. The organisers apologised to the Ukrainian team manager, the four members of the team and any members of their family who had attended. However, they explained that the result must stand as others hadn’t fallen foul of the hinderance. They did, though, offer the whole Ukranian entourage an all-expenses trip and entry to the next meeting in Schitzshovel next month. Disappointed but reasonably humble, the Ukrainian team accepted the apology and offer from the committee. Snow further news.

OU EST JEAN?
Jean Dark-Matter, the former Montpellier midfield genius, is missing following a goal celebration last week.
The Homme de Terre was starring for his current club, Cogito Ergo Sum City, and was so taken by the latest cosmic achievement – he successfully projected the ball sixteen metres under no pressure other than gravity and H2O – that he ran into a frenzied group of celebrating home supporters. The ensuing group hug was so vigorous, it is believed by most people, that Jean was squeezed into another time-space dimension.
“I heard a pop but thought it only my ears at the din of our supporters. It was apparent that Jean had disappeared when I tried to kiss him but was greeted by the club mascot’s, Henri Oeuvre, puckered lips instead. We all shouted for Jean but had to concede that he was gone, somewhere, who-knows-where?” said a modestly puzzled City fan and philosophical raconteur of some repute, after the match.
City were allowed a replacement after a short logical, ethical discussion with the fourth official but Jean’s absence was materially felt as City conceded two late goals to register their first defeat of the season. The club medium and dilettante cosmic scientist, Madame Keppler-Wessell, is currently in attendance to detect any signs of Jean in any alternate existence.

TESTES TIMES
Roy of The Rovers had his recent yellow card rescinded when he proved that what was interpreted as a dive lacked such intention. The previously unimpeachable fellow was able to convince the FA jury that his leap was actually an attempt to subdue a bee that had become lodged in his shorts. Behind closed doors, Roy presented his swollen gonads as evidence to explain his actions versus United plc last week. In between bouts of raucous laughter, the jury concluded that Roy was innocent, some say too innocent, and removed his ban and fine for the incident. Roy, meanwhile, is undergoing delicate treatment to reduce the size of his undercarriage in time for his side’s next game against PLC Wanderers.

UNWHOLESOME WHOLENUTT
Martin Wholenutt, the much vaunted bar-footballing legend has been accused of making a rod for his own back with his latest brush with commerce.
“Well, doing those feeble advertisements for a wood treatment firm that does exactly what it says on TV, has raised the expectations of his fans and critics alike.
“Everyone now expects his finishing to be unbelievable but most of this season he has been wholly believable and consequently disappointing. Not a day goes by without my belief in Wholenutt losing me money at BetUDon’tBreak Even plc,” said a casual punter who has a regular betting account with the well-known turf accountant.

SOPORIFIC TV ON SUNDAY
It is being mooted, in the corners of churches – not by mice – and some deep recesses of academic theology that TV Football on Sunday is turning audiences to reconsider the existence of God, any God.
The repetitive boredom of sporting events, particularly the beautiful game*, being analysed out of all proportion is causing glazed-eyed contemplation of the meaning of life on the Sabbath. Apparently, in one establishment in Burnley, one exasperated punter, after watching a decidedly tedious encounter between Stuck City and Bordomemouth wherein even a recreational sniper in the crowd failed to execute a shot on goal, stood up and shouted, “Oh My God! Is this all there is?”
“If we constantly watch sporting activities that are unbelievable then, logically, that leaves the back four open to the idea of a non-corporeal deity getting in behind them and introducing a hire purchase, sorry higher purpose in life,” said an ecclesiastic enthusiast of sport.
Another sporting pundit and respected celebrity and part-time theologian has been quoted as saying that “when watching football, it becomes clear that some, if not all teams, believe in divine intervention to win a game. Not only do they get penalties on the strength of being contacted by The Holy Ghost, they also expend so little effort and mental energy in producing obvious cause and effect attempts at goal. One doesn’t have to be a seasoned theologian to see that God exists in sport, and some pantheists have albut deified the England cricket ODI team and its equipment bags.”
*Often believed to be Association Football but in Andorra this term refers to knitting.

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