Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Fair Play: Missing Maria and a Pacfreak

FIRST the Olympics, the US Open and now the Australian Open? It seems my long wait for Maria Sharapova won't end.

Jan. 19 has long been marked in my calendar. Surely, I'd get to catch her in action in the first Grand Slam, hear her grunts, probably get to see a picture of her in that shirt, “I feel sexy when I grunt,” or read some quotes, “I’m here to play tennis, not to be nice.”

But I have to wait some more. Sharapova has pulled out of the Australian Open.

Though her shoulder injury has healed, my Maria felt she wasn’t at her best yet.

So, instead of looking forward to seeing Sharapova against Ana Ivanovic, I’d have to content myself to watch a boring match between some Roger somebody against a guy who’s got a permanent wedgy.

Why the penchant for Sharapova? Well, like most male sports fans, I'm a guy first, a fan second. And for me, Sharapova has all the important qualities, she’s beautiful, sexy and she posed for Sports Illustrated;s swimsuit edition.

Before Sharapova, it was Anna Kournikova. She never won any Grand Slam, but a few friends who couldn’t tell a tennis racquet from the Space Shuttle were all excited when they learned Kournikova posed for FHM.

I think photographers also share the fascination with players like Sharapova, I mean check the photos. You’d get the boring shots from that Roger and wedgy guy, but for Sharapova? You’d be amazed.

Female players, since they don’t have pockets in their skirts, keep the spare ball, well, under their skirt. And one enterprising photographer submitted a closeup of that act, I mean a really, really, close shot. And then there’s the wind blowing the skirt….I guess they are guys first, sports photographers second.

WHAT’S A KICK? Manchester United beat Chelsea, 3-0, but the buzz these days seems to be the disallowed first goal off Wayne Rooney’s cleverly-taken corner kick.

Conventional corner kicks or quick corners all have a player, well, kicking or tapping the ball from the corner to the penalty area or to a teammate.

Now, Rooney and Man U did otherwise. And though commentators called it clever, it caught both Chelsea and the referees off guard, and was disallowed.

Rooney took the ball to the D in the corner, and gently tapped it in, while he was on the field. It seemed just a case of a team changing their minds on who will take the kick. Ryan Giggs walked to the ball, but instead of putting the ball back take the corner, he dribbled furiously before delivering the cross that Cristiano Ronaldo headed in.

Goal? No. Man U argued that Rooney’s act of putting the ball to the D, and tapping it in meant they have already taken the corner and the goal should have been allowed. But the referee would have none of it.

PACFREAK. My last column (Three Pounds and the Church of Pacfreaks, Jan. 10) attracted an e-mail from an avowed Pacreak (his words). Aside from accusing me of being non-Pacquiao fan, Ronnel Arabiran (arabiran.ronnel @sakhalinenergy.ru) said I should be careful with calling Pacfreaks an insult to Filipinos.

He said he was one of those who wrote an English writer who predicted Ricky Hatton will beat Pacman and he furnished me a copy of his e-mails to the writer.

In his first e-mail, he said the writer’s argument was “bullsh*t,” and the writer called him an idiot. He wrote back, asking why he should call him as such and added he won’t “stoop down to his level.”

When I pointed his use of the bad word got the writer to call him an idiot, he said: “Pre gaano na ba kasama na sabihin mo bullsh*t at ang ibalik sa iyo ay ikaw tawagin idiot at fool? Pwede rin naman na sabihin sa akin ay bullsh*t din, pero mas pinili nya ang term na magkakaroon kami ng exchange of bad words.”

Go figure.

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