I am gearing up for the London Olympics, which begin on July 27. I’m afraid that this four-yearly event just about exhausts my capacity for watching televised sport. However, there were some remarkable highlights on the weekend which I was instructed to watch on the internet. One was a 110-metre try in a Rugby League match between the Canterbury Bulldogs and Melbourne Storm. It’s really quite remarkable to see Ben Barba pirouetting through tackle after tackle.
The other was, of course, the victory of Australian mare Black Caviar at Royal Ascot, Britain’s premier race. This incredible horse has won all of her 22 races, but the weekend's photo finish was the narrowest yet and she is badly bruised as a result. As you might guess, this was avidly watched by thousands Down Under.
What I found more engaging, however, was an event I attended on Saturday morning in Hobart. Soccer for 6-year-old girls is a sport to which I never paid much attention until now. I wonder if anyone has thought of televising these amazing matches? Admittedly, the players do not have the same degree of stamina and professionalism as Ben Barba, but the result is nearly as entertaining.
This particular fixture pitted Waimea Primary against Sacred Heart Primary, with Waimea having a home ground advantage. Each team had four players and there were no goalies.
The whistle blew and the ball took on a life of its own. It headed off in a diagonal direction followed by eight girls. When they caught up with it, the ball doubled back to the other end of the field, again followed by the pack. This happened over and over. It reminded me of dog races in which greyhounds chase – and never catch -- a mechanical rabbit.
In the most dramatic moment, one of the girls took a mighty kick at goal from about two metres out. There was a huge gap in the defence. It seemed an absolutely sure thing and from the sidelines the crowd went wild. The ball turned over and over and over and slowly crept to within about a foot of the net. Then it stopped. Perhaps the wet grass had slowed it down. The players all paused for a few seconds and quietly contemplated the motionless ball. What was it doing there anyway so close to the net? Finally, one of the defenders booted it away and the greyhound business started afresh.
I think that the rights to these matches would be worth millions if they were marketed properly. Anyone out there interested?
This week, we have two articles on same-sex marriage. Robert Reilly reports on Gay Pride Day at the Pentagon (that’s today, by the way) and I comment on the surprising desertion of a champion of traditional marriage.
Peter Stockland writes about a recent decision by a judge in British Columbia who has ruled that the current ban on assisted suicide is unconstitutional. And Theron Bowers wonders who is crazier in Norway – the right-wing extremist who murdered 77 people or his psychiatrists and prosecutors.
Finally, some lighter fare from Clare Cannon. She offers a holiday reading book list, complete with one of her entertaining videos.