Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Idler, Tuesday, February 7

Laughs in the locker room

FLASHBACK to the glory days. A book comes this way that conjures up the atmosphere of sweat and wintergreen in the changeroom, the drama and humour of sport … and also reminds us of that magical Rugby World Cup back in 1995.

Peter Fitzsimons played Number 8 for the Wallabies then went on to become a figure in Australian sportswriting and commentating. His book, Seriously … you have to laugh (Allen & Unwin), is a pull-together off all kinds of humour gathered over the years, not just in rugby – cricket, horseracing, football and other sports as well. Not all of it belongs in a respectable family newspaper

The flashback:

On the eve of the Rugby World Cup Final of 1995 in Johannesburg, I jagged an interview with mate and former opponent All Black captain Sean Fitzpatrick. The All Blacks had been imperious throughout the tournament thus far, led by their stunning winger Jonah Lomu.

At the end of the interview, Sean showed me a fax he had just received from and eight-year-old lad from a farm just outsie of Christchurch.

"Dear All Blacks

"Remember rugby is a team game. All of you, pass the ball to Jonah! Chris (8)"

Sadly for the All Blacks, it didn't quite work out that way.

Other bits:

·       At Sydney University, the rugby union players are somewhat of celebrities. After every game the players hang out at the local and enjoy hanging out with their fans, especially the female ones.

One girl liked the look of the new second-rower. Not only was he tall and good looking, but he was studying medicine!

"Hiya, big boy," she said to him before looking his 6ft 9in frame over closely from head to toe.

"Tell me, are you built in proportion all over?"

Without skipping a beat he replied:

"If I was built in proportion, I'd be 12ft 5in."

·       Former New Zealand Test wicketkeeper mIan Smiuth recalls an incident that occurred during a Test between England and New Zealand.

Way back when Smith is batting against England, a fast balls gets through and hits him in the netheries He falls down, sees stars and then hears pained titters from all the fielders around, glad that it wasn't them.

Then he looks up and sees the concerned face of legendary umpire Dickie Bird above him.

"Are thee OK, lad?" Dicky asks kindly.

"I think so," Smith groans.

"Can thee get up and walk, lad?" the sympathetic umpire asks.

"I think so," said Smith, still in exquisite agony.

"Then walk, lad," Bird said. "You're out LBW."

·       As rugby tragics will not need to be reminded, the 2007 Rugby World Cup was held in France. And, against all expectations, both the All Blacks and the Wallabies were knocked out in the quarter-finals. But at least the losers had a few jokes to share between gritted teeth.

     Latest news from the Rugby World Cup 2007 …England to meet France in the semi-final. South Africa to meet Argentina in the second semi-final. Australia to meet New Zealand at the airport.

·        The story goes that Sean Connery had fallen on hard times but brightened immeasurably when he got a call from his agent.

The agent said: "Sean, I've got a job for you. Starts tomorrow, but you've got to get there early for 10-ish."

Sean frowned and replied: "Ten-ish? But I haven't even got a racquet …"


A STUNNER of a girl is lying on a hospital trolley waiting for a minor op. A fellow in a white coat comes up, whips back the sheet and has a good look at her naked body. A second fellow in a white coat comes along and does the same. Then he goes off and comes back with a third fellow in a white coat. Same procedure.

Irritated, she asks: "Are these examinations really necessary?"

"Dunno, lady. We're here to paint the ceiling."

·       Stuart Appleby, during a Masters, being asked what he felt he had to shoot on the fourth day to be considered with a chance of winning: "Tiger Woods".

He didn't and Tiger won it.

Last word

Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining.

Jef Raskin

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