Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Awards 2008 (as seen by Mouth of the Mersey)

Yes it's a cliche, but it's fun too. Comment is welcomed below, but pseuds' own nominations are welcomed posted to the address above. As personal as possible please! 

Team of the Year

Such is the volume of football available to the subscription holding viewer that it is easy to become sated with the game, but Euro 2008 lit up a dank English summer with free-flowing, imaginative and skillful play. In Spain, the tournament found worthy winners, the best national team since France's 2000 squad and amongst the top half dozen I've seen. England were not missed - naturally.

Man of the Year

Before the Beijing Bolt, the leading man in sports was Rafael Nadal. His extraordinary success on the clay continued at Roland Garros where he is unbeaten since 2004. But he stamped his mark on the season with his epic victory at Wimbledon over grass courts' acknowledged master, Roger Federer. It was a reward for his bold expansion of his game and a refusal to rest on his laurels. This bull of a man retains his boyish charm and is unfailing polite in the media, which allows us to forgive his on-court ticks.  

Woman of the Year

Sport celebrates its winners, but should acknowledge its losers too. Lolo Jones went to Beijing as favourite to win the 100 metres hurdles and was about to deliver the gold when she hit the penultimate obstacle and, at 26, her dream disappeared forever. Once the initial shock wore off, her reaction showed a depth of understanding of the nature of sport that reveals a more rounded personality than most sports stars, as this interview shows. Lolo comes from a less than privileged background, but she knows that her obligations run beyond winning races and making money. Her er.. natural advantages will guarantee a post-athletics career in the media, should she want one, but few would begrudge her.

Event of the Year

After seven races in just a few days, then adrenelin was ebbing, but the expectation was mounting. Merely Gold in the Olympic 200 metres suddenly wasn't enough: Michael Johnson's "untouchable"  world record was required now. It hurt, it really hurt, but Usain Bolt rounded the bend and stoppd the clock at 19.30: a new mark that nobody but he is likely to threaten for a generation. Orson Wells was cursed by his achievement of writing, directing and producing Citizen Kane at the age of 25. Bolt completed his masterpiece at just 21. 

Thanks to all pseuds who have written above and below the line and a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all.


mac millings said...

Yes, cliches they may be, but I can't help loving my end-of-year lists

Couldn't agree more re Spain - and Lolo Jones...yep, she's a class act.

Event of the year, yes again...but Usain Bolt as Orson Welles? I think we could probably stick to the sporting arena, and suggest World Cup '98-vintage Michael Owen. Let's hope Bolt can keep his focus - and stay injury-free - for at least the next 4 years. And some stiff competition for him would be nice, too.

Man of the Year? I admire Nadal, but I've got to look elsewhere. Over here in Good Old Uncle US of Stateside, the consensus (but not my choice) would be M Phelps. Where I live, it'd probably be this guy:

Hmm..who to choose...who to choose? That Andrew Strauss seems to be making a late run...

MotM said...

Cheers Mac.

Here comes another cliche, I felt Bolt's series of races transcended sport. It was more epic in its conceprion, its scale and its arena. It was a bit like Ed Moses' winning streak compressed into one week or so, but that doesn't work either.

Phelps? Yes I see that, but I mind multiple medals in the pool a bit samey - there's always a multi-medallist or two each Games. Not many do the Roland Garros / Wimbledon double.

What this guy did - - should really just close any argument, but, well, we all know why he'll barely get a mention in any of the lists around at this time of year.

mac millings said...

One Bolt comparison we probably don't want to make is Flo-Jo, even if, in terms of times and dominance, it might work...

Of course, I have to concede your Nadal grass-clay point. People bang on about Federer and Sampras - and naturally they're all-time greats - but I feel that Agassi's achievements are magnified by the fact that he won all four Grand Slam events.

MotM said...

I'm a huge Agassi fan. To have won on all four surfaces was a huge achievement as was his second career, almost second personality. If Federer goes level with Sampras' 14 slams, he's still only level with Agassi until he wins the French.

Flo-Jo? Hmm... Possibly, but at the time, it all looked wrong in terms of the history and the alien-like physique. Bolt, like er... Lance, was a supremely gifted junior who has, as so few of them do, kept improving at the same rate well past adolescence. Something special was clearly coming from Bolt, the surprise was just how special.

guitou said...

Clichés it's fine, like in photography, litterature has positive and négative clichés-
Your clichés are positives we can almost see the pictures and hear the music,like in this scene with
Orson's best smile

ElSell said...

Team of the Year
Sligo Rovers

Man of the Year
Paul Cook (Sligo Rovers Manager)
of Burnley/Tranmere fame

Event of the Year
Sligo Rovers qualify for Europe for the first time in 12 years on final day of season

MotM said...

Cheers Guy.

Such a fantastic film.

offside said...

I'll put Russia as my team of the year. Arshavin and Zhirkov were a joy to watch, and that center-back with a rocket launcher, whose name I forget (Kholodin?). Fantastic. They made me fall in love with football again. Shame it only lasted two games, their last group game and their quarter final against Holland, before they were stifled and smothered by... Spain. A much more efficient side and a more reasonable and worthy choice, Mouth.

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