Remember that epic Tiger Woods putt back at the Masters in 2005 when the ball sat on the lip of the cup for what seemed like half an hour, the Nike swoosh frozen in time? The corporation’s marketing people must have thought they’d died and gone to heaven.
Well, Pepsi probably felt that way too on Saturday morning when planet Earth – give or a take a dozen of its inhabitants – glued itself to an endless loop of slow-mo replays of John Mooney’s foot touching/not touching the boundary marker with their name plastered on it, and all the chat focused on whether or not the middle P had wobbled as he caught the ball.
(Coca Cola: “Of course it didn’t – get on with it!”)
A controversial moment, of course, and you were left wondering if Zimbabwe would forever talk of ‘The Foot of Mooney’ as we have done about ‘The Hand of Thierry’, Charles Colvile adding to their sense of grievance back in the Sky studio by noting: “There’s a shadow there on the Pepsi – it looks like it moved!!”
But former Irish captain Kyle McCallan didn’t really care, for what’s done is done and what’s won is won and what’s lost is lost and gone forever, to quote the song – and any way, he didn’t have the strength to debate it all, by then more exhausted than the team having endured those testing final moments.
“It’s been like sitting in a washing machine with you – up and down and round and round,” said Charles, and Kyle could only nod, the breath drained from his body after the ordeal. (Mind you, Kyle’s fatigue can’t have been helped by the fact that he had no chair to sit on – he, Charles and Marcus North standing around a breakfast counter all morning).
India and Pakistan to come in the pool, then – not quite walks in the park. And while no offence at all is meant to Jerry Kiernan, you just hope he isn’t called upon to give the lads a pep talk before the encounters.
“I spoke to John on the phone this morning,” he told Peter Collins yesterday ahead of young Travers’ appearance in the 1,500m final at the European Athletics Indoor Championships, and you wondered how upbeat the chinwag was with the fella he coaches when Jerry declared: “I can’t wait for the whole thing to be over and get on with my life.”
Mind you, when Jerry bows his head to look over those glasses, the sight can be so menacing you’d probably find a whole pile of extra fuel in your tank if he coached you, for fear you’d let him down with your performance. And Travers found that fuel in his heat, producing a personal best, and was content enough too with his seventh place finish in the final. “I think Jerry will be happy with that,” he said.
Was he? Well . . .
Peter: “Do you think John did himself proud?”
Jerry: “[pause] I think he ran a good race. [pause] Um, he’s happy. [pause] Um, yeah . . . [pause] I’m [pause] happy.”
He didn’t really look it, to [pause] be truthful, but he has “great plans for him”, so Travers’ race has barely begun.
David Gillick: “But I hope you give him a couple of days off, let him enjoy it a little bit . . .”
David: “You’re not smiling.”
Jerry: “He runs tomorrow. [pause] He will have an easy week where he will just simply run once a day . . . but [bows head, looks over those glasses] in a week’s time he’s back to twice a day.”
Success a Given
See, that’s possibly why us lot watch these people on telly and don’t actually do what they do: because it’s hard. And all that dedication? Just thinking about it would wear you out. But, evidently, it’s what you have to do if you’re to win things, like the silvery Mark English did yesterday and Padraig Harrington did earlier in the week.
And Shay Given on Saturday keeping a clean sheet to help Aston Villa into the semi-finals of the FA Cup. We’re the sporting master race.
“Fifty saves of Shay,” said Mark Lawrenson.
In time we’ll forgive him. But not soon.