The Sporting Web: Piccies, Pundits and Passings


I’m a sucker for clever imagery.  The thought that captures the image that creates the impression.  This is the start of last weekend’s Belmont Stakes in New York when California Chrome (second from the left in purple and green) failed in his bid to capture American racing’s triple crown.  The ghostly images of the starting stall attendant’s shadows towering above the departing horses make this a unique image.  Horse races are almost always captured from the side to show the desperate animals and jockeys lunging at the line.

This photo captures the tense expectation of the crowd in the stands and lining the rails; the sparsely populated green infield; and the workers in the starting stalls for whom this is just another day at the office.  The horses and jockeys are almost a retreating afterthought.

Of course the title of the piece grabbed my attention too – “The Sport of Fools”.  But rather than revisit my story from the recent excellent Crio’s Question thread, here is the full article from Grantland by Charles Pierce about the controversy generated by the comments from California Chrome’s angry owner (why do we always need someone to blame for our own failed fantasies?):


On ‘The Conversation’ website Almanacker and footy historian Roy Hay gives his optimistic take on Australia’s chances at the Football World Cup in Brazil.  Roy recently contributed to the Old Woollen Footy Jumpers series with this funny tale of how a Scottish mother got vertical and horizontal stripes confused when she bought her son’s first footy jumper (

But anyone getting up early on Saturday to take in the Socceroos against Chile should read Roy’s World Cup preview with their morning heartstarter:

(Never seen a link that long before – trust an academic site to take so many words to say something simple)

jim keays

On a sad note this week saw the passing of two legendary Australian rock front men of the 70’s and 80’s.  First Doc Neeson from the Angels, and now Jim Keays from the Masters Apprentices.

As this link to Jim’s fansite shows he was a passionate Red and Blue supporter in footy, growing up in Adelaide following the Norwood Redlegs and then transferring this passion to the Melbourne Demons.  The website says that he used his Scottish migrant heritage to choose the melody (Scotland the Brave) and write the lyrics for the Melbourne Victory team song (let’s hope we’re cheering Mark Milligan tomorrow morning).  The claim that he wrote the lyrics to the Brisbane Lions songs may be more of a stretch as there only seem a few word changes from the old Fitzroy song to the melody of La Marseillaise.  But if Jim says he scratched them out on the back of a beer coaster that’s good enough for me.

More importantly all Knackers and Rockwiz devotees would know that “Because I Love You” by Jim’s Masters Apprentices was the first single that ‘Swish’ Schwerdt owned (as a 10th birthday present).  At least you would know if you read Swish’s brilliantly funny and self-deprecating ‘Confessions of a Smart Arse’ series.  The footage ended up on the cutting room floor.

We’re much kinder here at the Sporting Web page, so for Swish and all Almanackers old enough to remember, here’s 4 and a half minutes of nostalgic “do what you wanna do; be what you wanna be; yeah” sing-along.

Vale Jim and Doc.











  1. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Thanks PB

    Sound advice from Jim, along with ‘Turn Up Your Radio’

  2. Luke Reynolds says

    Thanks Peter, enjoyed the links once again.
    Was a late convert to Jim Keays, was recommended his album “Dirty, Dirty” in 2012 and was immediately hooked. Gave it a listen again on Friday night before the footy after hearing the news. Superb album from start to finish, highly recommend it. And as a Melbourne Victory fan, love his work with the club song.

  3. Rick Kane says

    Hi PB

    I don’t know if you watch Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, but this week’s episode takes a satirical hammer to California Chrome’s sore loser owner. I was oblivious to what had happened until I read your piece here (and followed the link). Then I watched John Oliver. If you can, check it out. The same episode takes on FIFA and Syria. All of them come out smelling like roses that have been choked to death.


Leave a Comment