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A graduate of Sports Studies at Paisley University, which is about as rewarding as being the best dancer in the Spinal Unit.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Racism: Unpopular

Many of you were probably wondering why the Worcester Wolves arrived on the 29th of November fielding a team of children. Details of what had transpired days earlier were sketchy and there were rumours abound as to why pretty much the entire team had been sacked and the coach had resigned. The Rocks took almost full advantage of the bizarre and (as far as my knowledge stretches) unprecedented situation by beating the Wolves by 50 plus, even showing a sporting display in the fourth by allowing the shot clock to expire twice.
According to the Worcester News, at a post match video session Head Coach Chuck Evans spent a couple hours berating players on their performances “using comments that were seen to be of a racist nature”. In response to this, the players then took steps of a striking nature which then led to the coach exiting in a resigning nature. As a result, the management terminated the contracts of Evaldas Zabas, Vidmantis Uzukurailitis, Nerijus Karlikanovas, (no, im not just mashing the keyboard with my fist), Chey Christie, Skouson Harker and ex-Rock Randy “Chino” George. Mercifully, the BBL have granted a few postponements to several of the Worcester fixture as new coach Paul James takes charge.
"It's a challenge that I am glad to take on as the club officials clearly have a passion for the game," he told BBC Hereford & Worcester.
"The foundations are there to be one of the big runners in the league."
James has the pedigree needed to turn around the Wolves' fortunes having formerly coached the England squad at all levels and also enjoyed highly successful spells with Bracknell Tigers and Guildford Heat.
No one really knows what to make of this outside of the Wolves current and former circle. Its utterly bizarre on every level and you can’t help feel for the individuals involved. Essentially, their livelihoods and security have been cut short as a result of (allegedly) the fallout of one person’s verbal outburst. More importantly, it’s not really in keeping with the tone of this column, so here’s a picture of a dog wearing a festive hat. LOOK AT HIS WEE FACE!

Further scandal this week as No1 Magazine’s search for a Scottish man Without Translucent Skin and a Gut came to a dramatic end. NONE of the Scottish Rocks made the cut, even the one that entered. Instead judges took “much deliberation” after “a few turns on the catwalk” (stringent, these competitions. Ability to walk: Check.) they finally decided on Gavin McDonald, Lumberjack (Yes, really) and rugby player (he also lion-tames on the weekend, im sure).
According to No1 Magazine’s website, “He will receive £500 worth of Slaters vouchers, a luxury trip to New York, A modeling contract with Colours, the title of No.1 Hunk and Mr Scotland as well as a photoshoot with No.1 magazine.”
Shortly after being announced as the victor, Gavin said, “It's amazing. I'm so excited."

Ironically for a lumberjack, he was effortlessly upstaged in his first official photo since winning the competition by a flamboyantly dressed tree that ran into shot.
Swings and Roundabouts, eh Gav?

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Crimes Against Humanity and Other Short Stories

Scotland’s hottest celeb gossip magazine continues its relentless expose of the survivors of nuclear holocaust search for the nation’s most attractive males in the latest edition, on sale now.
I threatened last Slate to bring you the inside scoop on No1 Magazine’s HUNK competition and like any semi-efficient, spit-chinned messenger of doom, I return with news.
As reluctant a hunk as Scott Russell is, he still found time to drag his fellow team-mates down to his level and get them photographed for a promotional picture.

Trouble is, as far as i can tell no one thought to tell them. Everyone looks like they’ve been caught off guard, apart from Mike Copeland who appears to be midway through an audition for Kaazam 2. Also, spare a thought for Gareth Murray, whose uncomfortable expression is explained by the fact this is the first picture he’s had taken without holding a police number card.

My insiders managed to get me a list of questions that are presented to every hunk, and its with sweaty glee i present them here. At this point, i encourage you to take a few minutes, imagine for a second that youre good looking and answer them yourself:
- How did your entry come about? Did you do it yourself? Girlfriend?
- Did you know you were being entered? What were thoughts on it?
- What does a No.1 Hunk do on a daily basis to keep himself in tip top shape?
- What will you do if you win? If you don't win, what position would you be happy with?
- What do you think of your competition so far? (other entries)
- What do you think it takes to be a No.1 Hunk? Why should people vote for you? What makes you the one who should win?
- What would you like to say to your fans and those you want to vote for you?

Let me be frank. The fact that some of the entries are plumbers and pipe fitters is not by accident. No one had a modelling career that fell by the wayside after that position came available at KFC.
No1 Magazine have stopped taking entries but voting lines are now open. Scott needs your votes, so get on to the website like youre voting for Jedward.
Its always good at this point to get an outside prospective and who better than ex-Rock Julius “JJ” Joseph, who weighed in with a message on facebook. Upon seeing the pictures, he summed up the situation with the academic grace of Choamsky.
"Oh man the worlds about to end, send this to big Mo, he'll wet his pants!!! LMAO!!!"

Thursday, 22 October 2009


In a move that may open the flood gates from many Rocks and SSF Employees to do the same, our very own Scott Russell has been entered (by his lovely, abeit optimistic girlfriend, Laura) into No1 Magazine’s HUNK competition.
Sometimes, these articles just write themselves.
Over to the No.1 Magazine Website for more:
“The hunt is on! No.1 have teamed up with luxury menswear brand Slaters and the Scottish Sun to uncover the hottest hunk in Scotland! From Elgin to Edinburgh, Dumfries to Dundee and Glasgow to Gretna – we are scouring our bonny country for a man with the X factor!”
From the places mentioned, im guessing the “X-Factor” criteria doesn’t necessarily include teeth or a full set of eyes.
This year’s No.1 Hunk will win:
• A luxury trip to New York.
• A year’s modelling contract with the exclusive modelling agency Colours.
• The Scottish Sun’s title of Mr Scotland plus the opportunity to compete in Mr World.
• An on-location modelling shoot with No.1 magazine.
• The winner of the No.1 Hunks competition will be considered for a future advertising campaign with luxury menswear brand Slaters.
On initial inspection of the No.1 Hunks entries page, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve accidentally stumbled across some kind of offenders register. Nestled amongst the unemployed and the future stars of Barlinnie’s North Wing sits our Golden Boy, gazing into camera in a fashion that makes any responsible father nervous.
I know what your’e thinking. Scott Russell entering a modelling competition would be like watching Stevie Wonder manoeuvring the Total Wipeout course.
It would be brilliant. So get ready to get voting. The campaign starts here and you will be the front line. They are still taking entries so voting won’t actually begin until sometime later, meaning you will need to check back on a regular basis. But please do. Ill be keeping you updated with every Slate edition including all the news, gossip and progress of Johnstone’s finest export (if you exclude cabbages, those plastic bits on the end of shoelaces and the recently deceased).

Jamie Barr (Hunk no. 37)


"The time spent going through in detail each and every part of our preparation programme," says Chris Spice, Performance Director. "From scheduling, coaching, scouting, team administration, sport science and medicine and most importantly, performance at the EuroBasket tournament.”
Good one, Spice. Lets be honest, you were free wheeling and enjoying a post in British Sport that is like being the best dancer in the spinal unit. Great Britain tragically regards basketball with as much respect as is warranted to John and Edward on a Saturday night. Its only when a genuine NBA star took interest in the team that you suddenly had to stub out the fag, dust the Pringles off your jumper and put some effort in. We were all impressed when Britain “almost shocked the world” when they got beaten by Spain. Anywhere else, a loss is a loss. In the UK, because we made it past 70 points it must be the beginning of a new era. The next game was an 18 point rout by Serbia. Eleventh loss in twelve games.
Phew, back ‘on track’.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Ode to a Basketball Referee

Refereeing are the sporting equivalent of Traffic Wardens.
They stalk their respective domains looking for misdemeanours, dressed in a uniform that is only less favourable to that of a Nazi officer, doing an essential job of which the only guaranteed outcome at the end of every day is that they will be universally, unequivocally and profoundly hated.
Who would be a referee?
Its a thankless task, where no matter how efficient you may be, you are still unpopular. You have to be prepared for criticism, ridicule and in many cases physical abuse from both players and spectators. YouTube is packed with videos where a referee has made a decision (one of potentially hundreds during a match) and has had to endure a swift barrage of awkward looking kicks from players, on his way off the pitch to be greeted by 80,000 even angrier people. In Wicklow a few years back, a few folk took offence to a referee’s view on the game and expressed their displeasure by catching him after the match, batting him around the head a little before locking him in a car boot for a few hours. Referees in Brazil pay for that stuff on the weekend in comparison to the consequences of a dodgy call. Over the years they have been routinely shot, stabbed, set on fire or tortured as a result of a single decision.
So who would be a referee? Why would you want to be a referee?
Some would argue that they are people who wanted to be involved in sport but were unable due to lack of general athletic ability. Others might suggest the more interesting theory is that the feeling of power attracts them. The attention, good or bad inspires them to continue making people miserable or indifferent. But surely, it isn’t a sports enthusiasts ambition to become a ref?
 Pierre Luigi Collina as a youth enjoyed playing the game but was not interested in refereeing until a fellow secondary school student suggested it might be fun to attend a short course for potential referees. This casual invitation was the catalyst which launched Collina on a remarkable career in Italian and global football. Recognized for a natural ability to control matches (due mainly to a card-accompanying stare that could strip paint) and admired for his courage in adjusting to the illness alopecia, which left him hairless at twenty-four, Collina emerged as an exceptional personality on the world football stage. He become an idol of millions of fans, players and officials, and provided a welcome boost to the image of the man in the middle. These types of role models are few and far between in the referees’ world.
And yet we need them. People may throw tantrums all they want, throw insults, punches and coins. The fact of the matter is these (power hungry or selfless, however you want to look at it) people in the world are as important in our sport as the ball itself.