Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Various sports, passive and active


I have in the past posted about my results in the NY Times gridiron tipping competition.  I do at least follow gridiron and have some idea of which teams know not to hold the ball sideways when punting.  With baseball I know very little more than the vital fact that any team from Massachussets sucks.

However I make no claims to such expertise in baskeball.  I do however recognise that the real deal with basketball, now that Michael Jordan has retired, is not the NBL but the NCAA finals series.  So, as the Times was running a bracket on this year's comp I had to have a go at it.  For the first couple of days I wasn't going too badly with my psychic tips although having the team I'd tipped to win it all (UTEP - see below for an exlanation) whupped in the first round wasn't too good.  By the end of the second round I was about 39,000th out of ???.  However I had tipped Duke to get to the Final (which they won) but to lose to UTEP and as a result after the final Four I was back up to 12,905th spot.  A few - possibly 170 - punters below me had tipped Duke to win and thus I ended up 13,075th or somewhere in the top third.

The reason I picked UTEP is beacause that school is the current manifestation of Texas Western,the college whose exploits were summarised in Glory Road - one of the best sports films I have ever seen.  Unfortunately UTEP were not rank outsiders so didn't do the business.  Butler, the other team in the final were 5th seed in their Division and thus were definitely punching above their weight to get beyond the second round.

After watching a reply of the game - which was very good - I found that I had chosen the wrong film to guide me.  Had I gone for Hoosiers I'd have scored a lot better!

I am gradually getting back to running after a few months of very little action due to sciatica.  Hopefully this will let me cross two lines (start and finish) in the Rex Foulkes Half Marathon in early May.  However the real reason for including this topic is note the performance of the small dog this morning.

When we acquired her I suspect her longest ever walk was about 3 km when we visited her owner.  I don't think she had ever run further than was necessary to scare the pigeons off the lawn.  I found she could hold on for 1km when I first took her for a waddle but on the way back every tuft of grass got sniffed  - and she is cunning enough to do this as a ploy for a rest.  She has been joining Frances and I for Frances' runs in the mornings (a tad under 3km of running in a route of 4.2km). Today I wanted to do 5km and took her with me (largely as a reward for having been left at home on her own so much recently).  She slowed up a bit in the last half km but most of the time was way out in front (OK, the lead is 5m) and I had to keep the lead slack.

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