BACK TO Home Page 50 CONVERSATION TOPICS Sport and Recreation

Stories you can use to start conversation or to add interest to speeches or presentations


Resources for Speakers - SPORT and RECREATION

Golf

In 1995 a famous American golfer watched Tiger Woods playing in British Open as an amateur. He put a 100 pound bet on Tiger to win 2000 British open, getting odds of 500 to 1

(Radio announcement on small Scottish station): On Friday, Gairloch Golf Club has its annual Paracetemol Open for members and guests. Tee time is 10.30 am and the captain recommends relative sobriety, though this is not essential.

A group of players bet Erick Lindgren that he couldn't play 72 holes of golf in one day. He had to play off the pro tees, walk the entire way, carry his own clubs and score under 100 on every round. Lindgren completed the task in searing 100 degree heat and won a reported $340,000.

Severiano Ballesteros obit: Helped by his right arm being several inches longer than his left and having large hands that could each hold five golf balls, he appeared to have a God-given gift to hit a golf ball.

Bill Gates's wedding on New Year's Day in 1994, was held on the 12th tee of the Four Seasons golf course in Hawaii.

Ticket Scalping

Markets work best when all of the buyers and all of the sellers of a particular item are confined to the same place at the same time. The most easily understandable example of this is ticket-scalping. When the state strictly enforces anti-scalping laws, scalpers and their customers will transact surreptitiously and in many places. As a result, ticket prices will vary widely. And since the scalpers have better info than the buyers, prices tend to be high. Enlightened communities have discovered that when scalping is allowed, say outside the main gate shortly before the event, prices are low and uniform.

Extreme Sport - Banzai Parachuting

The ultimate learn-by-doing experience might be a lesson from Japanese parachutist Yasuhiro Kubo, who holds the world record in the activity's banzai category. The sky diver tosses his chute from the plane and then jumps out after it, waiting as long as possible to retrieve it, put it on and pull the ripcord. In 2000, Kubo - starting from 9842 feet - fell for 50 seconds before recovering his gear.

Fantasy Teams

Millions of sports fans "draft" their own "fantasy" sports teams--and even the bass-fishing tournament circuit has its fantasy league, where fans select anglers good at exploiting choice spots on the lakes. In March, Alaska Dispatch News reported that, for the fourth straight year, there would be an Iditarod Fantasy League, with a "salary cap" of "$27,000" to pick seven mushers with the best chances to push their dogs to victory, with all-stars going for around $6,000 and promising rookies selling for much less.

Extreme Sport

One day a year, a few hundred athletes gather in the foyer of the Empire State Building, shun the elevator and sprint to its 86th-floor observation deck. The fastest man will reach the top in about 10 minutes. The race is the Empire State Building Run-Up, a vertical quarter-mile. It began as a novelty event in 1978. By 2010, there were more than 160 staircase races in the world. The longest is in Radebeul, Germany, a 39,700-step slog designed to cover the same distance as an ascent of Mount Everest from sea level to the summit. The longest single-staircase race is the Niesen Treppenlauf, in Switzerland, 11,674 steps beside a funicular with spectacular Alpine views.

Is it a hobby, or just recreation?

Gareth Lloyd, 49, admitted that he is the one who made about 5,800 random phone calls (over a 90-day period, averaging 64 a day!) to people just to listen to their reactions when he told them that his penis was stuck in a household object (usually jars or a vacuum cleaner). A Flintshire, Wales, court sentenced Lloyd only to probation (with restrictions on telephone use).

Olympics

The American entry in the pentathlon at the Stockholm Olympics in 1912 excelled in swimming, riding, fencing and running but missed out on a medal because he failed at shooting. It did not prevent George S Patton from going on to become one of America's most celebrated Second World War generals.

Baseball

11 year old kid at American baseball game caught home run ball in stands. Camera zooms in on him. He looks lens straight in eye and says, dead pan, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman"

American Football

The new coach of the Minnesota Vikings had unpronounceable Polish surname Zygrmt. Local sports writers just call him Triple Word Score.

One of earliest recorded football pranks: On the night before the Yellow Jackets were set to arrive in Auburn for an 1896 game (yes, 1896), Auburn students greased the train tracks leading in and out of the local station. When Georgia Tech's train came into town, it skidded through town and didn't stop for five more miles. The GT football team had to make the trek back to town, then went on to lose, 45-0.

In 2007 Australian Wayne Scullino, then 30, quit his job in Sydney and somehow convinced his wife they should sell their house and move to Wisconsin for the sole purpose of rooting for the Green Bay Packers, about which he had enjoyed an inexplicable fascination since age 15. Said Scullino, "At some point, you've got to . . . start living the life you want to." After one season, the Scullinos returned home, but in February 2011, he was of course back in the U.S., on hand in Dallas for the Packers' victory in Super Bowl XLV. Scullino says his Australian friends are still bewildered. "I try to talk to them about it," he said, "but they just don't get it."

Diehard Fans of American Football

Roy Miracle, 80, of Newark, Ohio, passed away in July, and his family honored him and his years of service as a prankster and superfan of the Ohio State Buckeyes with a commemorative photo of three of Miracle's fellow obsessives making contorted-body representations of "O," "H," and "O" for their traditional visual cheer. In the photo, Miracle assumed his usual position as the "I" - or, rather, his corpse did. (Despite some criticism, most family and friends thought Miracle was properly honored.)

Boxing - Mohammed Ali the Poet

It was on the eve of the first Liston fight that Ali revealed his talent for verse:

Now Clay swings with a right,
what a beautiful swing,
And raises the Bear straight out of the ring;
Liston is rising and the ref wears a frown,
For he can't start counting 'til Liston comes down.
Now Liston disappears from view,
the crowd is getting frantic,
But our radar stations have picked him up somewhere over the Atlantic.
Who would have thought when they came to the fight
That they'd witness the launching of a human satellite?
Yes the crowd did not dream when they laid down their money
That they would see a total eclipse of the Sonny.

And Other Keen Fans

In October [2011], the super-enthusiastic winners of a Kingston, Ontario, radio station contest claimed their prize: the chance to don gloves and dig for free Buffalo Bills' football tickets (value $320), buried in buffalo manure in a wading pool. The show's host, Sarah Crosbie, reported the digging live (but, overcome by the smell, vomited on the air). More curious was a runner-up contestant, who continued to muck around for the second prize even though it was only tickets to a local zoo.

American Sports Are Socialist

Pointing to the practice of relegation in European soccer leagues, he said European sports tend to be more capitalist by nature, while their American counterparts tend to be more socialist. 'It's kind of ironic, American sports are socialist.' With provisions like salary caps,revenue sharing and drafts that generally allot the best new talent to the worst teams, American leagues intentionally promote parity while suppressing the natural tendency for some clubs to dominate others.

Skateboarding

To keep his business going in these tough economic times, Pete Hamborg is counting on people to continue to spend money on basic needs: "food, shelter and a really big skateboard." So far, enough people share Hamborg's view of life's essentials to keep his family enterprise afloat. Hamborg is the creator of the Hamboard, a nearly 7-foot-long skateboard he says mimics the feel of a surfboard on the water.

Ice Skating

The Space World theme park in Kitakyushu, Japan, opened a popular (with visitors) ice-skating rink in November but was forced to close it two weeks later for being hugely unpopular (with social media critics). The park had placed 5,000 fish and other sea animals in the ice deck of Its "Freezing Port" rink so that skaters could look down as they glided along, gazing at marvels of nature (all dead in advance, of course, purchased from a fish market). Nonetheless, the park manager apologized for grossing out so many people and closed the exhibit (melting the ice and conducting an "appropriate religious service" for the fishes' souls).

Ice Fishing

Leaders of the ice-fishing community, aiming for official Olympics recognition as a sport, have begun the process by asking the World Anti-Doping Agency to random-test its "athletes" for performance-enhancing drugs, according to a February [2013] New York Times report. (The chairman of the U.S. Freshwater Fishing Association said, "We do not test for beer" because "everyone would fail.") Ice-fishing is a lonely, frigid endeavor rarely employing strength but mostly guile and strategy, as competitors who discover advantageous spots must surreptitiously upload their hauls lest competitors rush over to drill their own holes.

Tennis

(commenting on Monica Seles) "I'd hate to be next door to her on her wedding night"

Briton Robert Dee, feeling humiliated at being called the "world's worst tennis pro" by London's Daily Telegraph (and other news organizations) sued the newspaper for libel in 2009. After taking testimony in February 2010, the judge dismissed the lawsuit, convinced by Dee's having lost 54 consecutive international tour matches (each in straight sets). Fearful of an opposite result, thirty other news organizations had prematurely apologized to Dee for disparaging him, but the Telegraph had stood its ground (and was, of course, humble in victory, titling its story on the outcome, "'World's Worst' Tennis Player Loses Again.")

Lighton Ndefwayl, the Zambian tennis player, responded to defeat by Musumba Bwayla in a local tournament with a speech that requires no further comment. 'Bwayla is a stupid man and a hopeless player. He has a huge nose and is cross-eyed. Girls hate him. He beat me because my jockstrap was too tight and because when he serves he farts, and that made me lose my concentration, for which I am famous throughout Zambia.'

Ultrarunning

"Ultrarunning" (whose signature event is the 100-mile marathon)takes such a degree of commitment that five to ten percent are said even to have permanently removed their toenails in order to eliminate one of the potential sources of runners' discomfort. A sports podiatrist told the New York Times in October that many "ultras" consider their toenails "useless appendages, remnants of claws from evolutionary times," but on the other hand, said one ultrarunner, "You know any sport has gone off the rails when you have to remove body parts to do it."

Just Running

The Earl of Barrymore lost a bet against a Mr Bullock, a rotund man who said that he could beat him over 100 yards with a 35-yard start. Mr Bullock chose the course — a very narrow lane in Brighton where the Earl could not overtake.

Offbeat Sport

Ashrita Furman, 54, holds 101 records in the Guinness World Records book, for strenuous and offbeat stunts like sack-jumping, underwater pogo-sticking and balancing stacks of beer glasses on his chin. Mr. Furman, a vegetarian and a celibate bachelor, is part of a group that follows the teachings of the spiritual guru Sri Chinmoy, who believed that extreme physical challenges help deepen one's spirituality.

At the 10th Arab Shooting Championships in Kuwait in March, as medals were presented and winners' national anthems were played, officials were apparently ill-prepared for medalist Maria Dmitrienko of Kazakhstan. Consequently, her "national anthem" was, inadvertently, the humorous ditty from the movie "Borat." (Instead of such lyrics as "sky of golden sun" and "legend of courage," the audience heard "Greatest country in the world / All other countries are run by little girls" and "Filtration system a marvel to behold / It removes 80 percent of human solid waste.") Dmitrienko reportedly kept a mostly-straight face throughout, although Kazakhstan later demanded, and received, an official apology.

Shooting

The Knob Creek Gun Range Machine Gun Shoot, where 60 people get to fire their machine guns into field of old cars and trucks, using up thousands of dollars worth of ammo. Other weapons are also available, including another crowd favourite, flame throwers. One man decided to marry his girlfriend after taking her to the event, impressed that she cd accept flame-throwing as a hobby

Equestrian

Horse showjumping is a long-time Olympic sport, but for the last ten years, equestrians have been performing in "horseless" showjumping, in which horse courses are run by "riders" on foot (who, by the way, do not straddle broomsticks!). According to an October Wall Street Journal report, an international association headed by retired pro equestrian Jessica Newman produces at least 15 shows a year, with from 40 to 130 competitors, galloping over jumps that vary from two to four feet high (five feet in "Grand Prix" events), with the "riders" graded as if they were on horses (timed, with points off for contacting the rails). Explained Newman, about the shows' success, "It's just fun to be a horse."

Bodybuilding

The Belgian Bodybuilding Championships have ended in chaos after the entire line-up of muscles from Brussels fled the contest as fast as their inflated quads could carry them. Organisers of the annual battle of the brawn staged the event just across the border in the Netherlands, allegedly a ruse to avoid the jurisdiction of domestic drug checkers. But to the disappointment of 300 spectators, all 20 of the over-developed iron men lost their nerve before they had the chance to flex for glory when three Flemish anti-doping doctors turned up at the weigh-in.

Glenn Crawley, 55, who describes himself as a "man of the water," flipped his catamaran off the coast of Newquay, England, in September for the 13th time and had to be rescued, running the costs of attending to his miscues to the equivalent of nearly $50,000. Although officials have pleaded with him to give up sailing (terming him "Captain Calamity"), Crawley said, "I do what no one else is doing. So I'd appreciate it if people would get off my case and give me some support."

Mountaineering

Mountaineers rope themselves together to stop the sensible ones going home



The top of Everest was visited by 234 people in 2012 on the same day, most of them paid clients. More than 260 people have died attempting to climb or descend from Everest, 90 of them Nepali Sherpas who do almost all the grunt, dirty, dangerous work that literally and figuratively paves the way for climber and client alike to reach the top.

Yachting

Some four to eight thousand shipping containers fall off of container ships every year. Some sink, some float, but many lurk right below the surface, invisible to the eye, but deadly to any boat that might strike them. Add shipping containers to an already long and deadly list of underwater things that can kill boats: reefs, whales, even huge logs. For several years now, forward looking sonar has been increasingly popular and affordable in the consumer yacht market. An alarm can warn you if you're bearing down on a floating boat-killer at night, and 3D underwater landscapes can even help navigate narrow or shallow channels. Prices start at only a few hundred bucks. Yay for science.

Vanity Sport Photos

Of all the service industries that have sprung up there is nothing to beat vanity sports photography. Millions of amateur sportsmen and women who run, ride, climb, cycle, rally, row, golf and orienteer at weekends now get double the enjoyment: first in the doing, then, when they look up the pictures online on Monday morning, in seeing how they looked. Of the two, the second is often the bigger turn-on.

Motor Racing

People watch most sports purely for the crashes. Nascar race highlights packages of 'Just-the-crashes'. The only Oxford-Cambridge boat races anyone remembers are the ones in which one of the boats sinks. First Space Shuttle launch after the Columbia disaster had 4 times usual number of people tuning in to watch, just to see if it would explode.

Para Sportsmen

At the 1904 Olympics, American gymnast George Eyser grabbed a bronze, 2 silvers, and 3 gold medals-all while competing with a wooden leg.

Between 1912 and 1948, Olympic medals were awarded for various arts such as painting, poetry, composing, architecture .... and town planning. In 1924 Jack Yeats, brother of poet W.B. Yeats, took the silver in painting. This was Ireland's first ever Olympic medal.

Sport Is Good For Your Health

The curse of the Super Bowl: Strikes pretty much anybody in the same city. You might think that males are more likely to be die-hard football fans, and thus more susceptible to a physical response to a loss by the home team, but a study of general mortality in the days following a Super Bowl loss shows that isn't so. The increased mortality that occurs after a loss struck the elderly preferentially, but that's about it. They also saw the largest protective effects when the home team won, as did - surprise - women. So, if your mom, wife, or girlfriend says she's not interested in the game, you should tell her to root for the home team for her own health.

Sport As Performance Art

South Africa, still transitioning to freedom after apartheid, has been slow to embrace the "performance art" that is a staple of American and European popular culture, but artist Anthea Moys is creating her own space, according to a December Wall Street Journal dispatch from Johannesburg. Recently she played an exhibition soccer game--alone against an 11-player lineup. Her "team" quickly fell behind, but sympathetic spectators wandered onto the pitch to help her, and she managed to lose by only 12-0. Before that, she had entered a 60-mile bicycle race in Johannesburg, and, dressed properly in helmet and Spandex, she mounted a stationary bike at the starting line and began pedaling furiously as the other cyclists took off. "I'm not very competitive," she said. "I'm interested in the joy of games and how people view them."

Nudity

Among the surprising legacies of the oppressions of communist East Germany is modern-day Germany's commonplace "clothing-optional" lifestyle (FKK, or "Freikoerperkultur" - Free Body Culture). A September Global Post dispatch counted "hundreds" of FKK beaches across the country and referenced a turned-up snapshot (not yet authenticated) of a young Angela Merkel frolicking nude in the 1960s or 1970s. Foreigners occasionally undergo culture shock at German hotels' saunas and swimming pools, at which swim suits are discouraged (as "unhygienic").

What's the new psychological trick for improving performance? Strategic lying. When amateur golfers were told, falsely, that a club belonged to the professional golfer Ben Curtis, they putted better than other golfers using the same club. For a study published in March, human cyclists were pitted against a computer-generated opponent moving at, supposedly, the exact speed the cyclist had achieved in an earlier time trial. In fact, the avatars were moving 2 percent faster, and the human cyclists matched them, reaching new levels of speed. Lying is obviously not a long-term strategy - once you realize what's going on, the effects may evaporate. It works as long as your trainer can keep the secret.

Fishing

Since 70% of earth's surface is water and 30% land, it's obvious God intended man to do 3 times as much fishing as plowing.

Fishing

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him to fish and you get rid of him for a weekend

Sport & Outdoor Recreation

I like long walks, particularly when they are taken by people who annoy me.

There is a very fine line between a 'hobby' and 'mental illness'

Sedentary Recreations

Jeremy Clarkson reckoned gardening was just like doing jigsaws: a pointless way of passing the time until you die.



A jigsaw puzzle enthusiast took 17 months to complete one of the world's biggest by gluing each of the 24,000 pieces to her living room wall. Amanda Warrington's 14ft by 15ft (426cm by 457cm) puzzle, called Life: The Great Challenge, depicts animals, marine life and planets. May seem risible to some, but often to be happy, all you need something to give you a purpose, and it matters little how big a challenge it seems to others. And, she has the completed pic to reward her.

Wacky Sports

You didn't hear it from us: On Saturday the Idiotarod, a take on the famous Alaskan dog-sled race (note that extra 'o') hits New York. Brace yourself: instead of dogs and sleds, this one features humans and shopping carts. Expect to see hordes of outlandishly costumed meta-mushers running, drinking and sweating as they make their way to the finish line whatever way they can. The first team to cross wins bragging rights, but points are also awarded for dirty tricks, and cheating say, liquoring up the judges is encouraged. To watch the race, check the Web site for details. The after-party can smell like wet dog, but it's still a really good time. "Olympics for Hipsters: The Indy 500 It's Not,"


Wacky Sports

Pic on left is from Dave Barry's book Dave Barry Is From Mars and Venus

Wacky Sports

A British architect has reclaimed the world record for wearing the most underpants at one time. Gary Craig squeezed into 302 pairs of pants last weekend, beating a record of 252 set by Janine Keblish, an American. Craig, 53, from Whitburn, South Tyneside, said: 'Putting on all those pants is harder than it looks, because you're carrying an incredible weight, but the crowd really spurred me on.'

Outdoor Recreation

US Park Rangers reckon people losing common sense - expect wilderness to be something like a Disney film set - horrified by reality. Calling in on their mobiles to complain that they've got sore feet, or to ask directions "Uh the trail forks, what shall I do?"

Paralympics

British comic was forced to apologise after a show in which he'd referred to the number of soldiers coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan amputees and saying "At least we'll have a great team for the 2012 ParaOlympics"

Outdoor Recreation

the Mother Nature Network website showcased an array of camping gear seemingly designed for the daintiest of those ostensibly "roughing" it. The Blofield outdoor couch inflates in minutes to produce a facsimile of a Las Vegas lounge sofa. The Rolla Roaster's 42-inch-long steel fork assures elegance (and evenness) in marshmallow-roasting. For fashion-conscious backwoods women, Teva makes high-heeled hiking sandals ($330). The mother of all Swiss army knives, by Wenga, has so many gadgets that it more suggests a parody of a Swiss army knife. To be a camper is to sleep in a tent, though, and why not the trailer-mounted Big Sky Lodge tent (seven feet high, 146 square feet of hardwood-floored space, including closets and a wine cooler)?

Underwater Diving

Artificial reefs in Australia complete with underwater speakers broadcasting reef sounds of fish feeding and prawns snapping to attract juveniles

Outdoor Recreation

A railway line in Central Otago NZ was ripped up and is now a popular cycling trek.

Outdoor Recreation

A famous painting by Graham Sydney showed the Wedderburn station but it was carted off by a farmer years ago. So much pressure from tourists that the locals bought it and brought it back.

Australian Rules Football

Adelaide stripper Helen D'Amico interrupted the VFL 1982 grand final between Carlton and Richmond by running onto the MCG in a Blues scarf. The now defunct newspaper Truth ran a front-page photograph in its next edition headlined "Cunning Stunt". She was fined $1000. Now a grandmother, this year she completed a nursing degree in Darwin

English Football or Soccer

British table soccer game Subbutco - you can now buy plastic streakers to go with the plastic players

A 22-year-old tipsy soccer fan celebrating on a chartered bus after a match in West Bromwich, England, in January, was run over by a motorist after he fell out the back door of the bus, believing it led to the restroom.

In March, at a soccer match in Hilla, Iraq, between two local teams, as a player with the ball approached the goal to attempt a tying kick late in the game, an overenthusiastic spectator drew his gun and shot him dead.

My favourite description of professional soccer players is, "A bunch of vain, illiterate, millionaire, borderline rapists, who's job it is to shepherd a bit of leather into a badly made outdoor cupboard". Bill Bailey.

As one manager put it: "In every squad there are five completely stupid players, and at least one of those would end up begging on the streets if he didn't play professional football."

Football - 50,000 people who need exercise watching 22 players who need a rest

Suggestion that should have the penalty shoot-out at the start of match, then the loser of that would have a reason to try much harder in real game.

In 1999 Darlington FC bought 50,000 worms to irrigate their flooded pitch. They all drowned.

There are 3 English soccer teams with a swearword in their name - Arsenal, Scunthorpe and Fucking Chelsea.

It all lines up in the end - sort of ....

Madrid's Getafe soccer club, struggling for customers, startled Spain this summer by commissioning a porn movie, with zombies,hoping to attract more fans. As if that were not quixotic enough, it then tied the movie to a campaign to solicit sperm-bank donations.Explained the film's producer, Angel Torres, "We have to move a mass of fans to seed the world with Getafe supporters." A promo for the film follows a Getafe fan, armed with a copy of the movie for his viewing pleasure, as he disappears into a clinic's private cubicle to fulfill his donation.

Long Term Physical Cost

Most professional football (all codes, League, Rugby, GridIron, Aussie Rules) players will eventually pay a stiff price for their years of competing. Most will suffer osteoarthritis, particularly if they have had operations to remove cartilage, from the repeated impacts of tackle collisions when parts of their bodies are travelling in different directions. The impact of head collisions leads to being slower than peers at processing information and a high percentage will suffer from depressive illnesses and other mental problems.

Deadly Sports

The most dangerous sport in terms of total fatalities is lawn bowls

Sumo

Japanese guy who was too short to qualify for Sumo school so had 6 inches of silicon implanted under his scalp

Dancing

He "Can I have this dance?"
She "I wouldn't dance with you if you were the last man on earth!"
He "I think you misheard me. I said 'You look fat in those pants.'"

Dancing

Today marks the 200th anniversary of one of the great fruitless Times campaigns. On July 16, 1816 this paper reported that 'the indecent foreign dance called the Waltz' had come to London. 'So long as this obscene display was confined to prostitutes and adultresses, we did not think it deserving of notice,' the report said, but now it was being forced on 'respectable classes'. The Times advised parents to keep their daughters away from it. The decline of civilisation can probably be traced to the public paying not a shred of attention to this warning.

Spectators

Olympics - extremely fit people on steroids watched by extremely fat people on hamburgers

What has 8 arms and an IQ of 80? 4 men watching rugby

Cricket

Australian cricketers renown for their sledging. An English player told "There's a piece of shit on the end of your bat" Holds up his bat to look at the end "No, the other end"

Indian cricket commentator "Pitches are like wives. You can never tell how they are going to turn out."

Some rate cricket highly, if just because it's the only sport which stops for meals twice a day (and is also regarded as one of the few sports in which participants can actually gain weight while taking part.

CRICKET is no stranger to class war and it is worth recalling an earlier England captain who led his team to Australia in 1932 for what became known as the 'bodyline' series - named after the ferocious thunderbolts that England's fast bowlers aimed at the bodies of Australian batsmen.

The England captain, Douglas Jardine, a Winchester and Oxford man, had no qualms about firing leather bullets at Aussies. But when one of his opponents called him a 'bastard', Jardine haughtily complained to Bill Woodfull, captain of the Australia team. Woodfull, the son of a Methodist preacher, called in his men and pretended to fix them with a baleful glare. 'Which one of you bastards called this bastard a bastard?' he asked.

Skiing

In US skiers spend roughly the same amount, about $250 million, on medical repairs (largely $10,000 knee ligament reconstructions) as they do on new equipment.

Colorado resort of Crested Butte has banned nude skiing, putting an end to a custom that began 25 years ago on the last day of each season - last year hundreds of nude skiers and thousands of spectators with video cameras

Scrabble

Bangkok economics student Panupol Sujjayakorn interrupted his studies in November [2005] to defend his World Scrabble Championship in London, one of many non-English-speaking competitors who achieved top-of-the-line ranking by memorizing up to 100,000 words in English without ever knowing their meanings. Like the others, Mr. Panupol learned first those premium words that overuse the prominent Scrabble letter tiles (such as "aureolae").(Alas, this time around, a native English speaker, Dr. Adam Logan,a number theory researcher, won the title, building actual words like "qanat" and "euripi.")

Poker

King Farouk of Egypt was fond of gambling. He once wagered a lot of money on a hand with three kings, but his opponent had a full house. When Farouk took the pot anyway, the other guy protested that he only had three kings. "No" said Farouk, "I am the fourth". And that settled it.

Cruciverbalists

For some of us the English puzzles are tricky enough. Charles Keenan wrote from West Kirby: 'Just doing the Times2 crossword on Monday when I was amazed at 9 across. Surely not, I thought. However, on a second look, I realised that the answer was 'Yuck'. Luckily I had my eraser handy.'

Scary Sports

The Country Afraid of Its Own Shadow: (1) Britain's Oxfordshire County Council, which oversees youth swimming classes, banned goggles from the pools in February because of the fear that kids might snap the elastic bands and hurt their eyes. (2) Malvern Primary School in Huyton, Merseyside, recently banned play with regulation soccer balls because they are made of leather. "Football," it ruled, must be played with less-dangerous sponge balls.

Some Rugby factoids:

Elvis Presley played rugby for British Columbia in 1990's (actual full name Elvis Sinatra Presley)

Boomsplat Pukepot played rugby for Thailand

Brazilian player rejoicing in name Jose O'Meara missed a whole season for his religious convictions - set fire to 3 churches and spent year in jail for arson

In 1991 World Cup final, Australia clinging to a slim lead, coach Bob Dwyer screams out "Kick it to the shithouse" and then remembered he was sitting just in front of the Queen

Wesley College (Auckland NZ) 1st XV forward pack 1990 weighed more than the 1990 All Black pack

Book Extracts on Sports



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