Farcical Fixtures

The saying “anyone, anywhere, anytime” has taken a new meaning in the year 2020.

We’re dealing in the world of hubs. Games going ahead. Games not going ahead. Games being played here one day and another place the next.

If you’re after a fair and reasonable fixture in world sport right now, in the words of Daryl Kerrigan, “Tell ‘em he’s dreaming”

They say this year is an asterisk year, unprecedented, we’re all in this together or simply just a farce.

Farcical fixturing is the “new normal” right now but we’re going to go back to a time when a fixture farce really meant something.

AFL

You wouldn’t envy the likes of Gill and co who have to change the 2020 fixture at the drop of a hat right now.

We’ve seen West Coast, Freo, Port and the Crows call Queensland home for a number of weeks.

Essendon is still yet to play Melbourne in Round 3, but we’re going into Round 5.

Richmond was meant to travel to Queensland to play West Coast on Thursday night but will now play Melbourne at the G on Sunday, the Eagles will play Sydney – on the Gold Coast.

Collingwood and Geelong are planning to go to a hub in Perth, and play each other in Perth along with the Eagles and Dockers.

As you are reading this right now, the AFL could be moving every single team out of Victoria and the likes of St Kilda against Carlton could be played in Cairns for all we know.

Fixture farces were so much simpler not that long ago.

Geelong being made to play home finals at the MCG, Richmond having 19 games on the trot at the same venue, Carlton being scheduled every Friday night no matter where they were on the ladder, Port Adelaide thinking that 26 million people in China would want to watch them play or even Sydney playing at ANZ Stadium despite how awful it was for football – it was so much easier to complain about!

NRL

For 2020 standards, the good-ship Rugbah-Lig is steady as she goes.

Granted, the Warriors have had to move full-time to Australia and Melbourne Storm have relocated every second day of the week, but most NRL clubs are going back to their home grounds within the coming weeks (touch wood)

While things look like they are on the right path in the game, some still have hope that NRL Island might happen.

Back in April, moving the whole competition to Gladstone or Tangalooma on the picturesque Moreton Island off the Queensland coast to keep the players quarantined was a real option.

Oh, what we’d give to have the New South Wales and Queensland governments up in arms about State of Origin fixtures being played in Adelaide, Melbourne or Los Angeles. Now that’s a real farce!

And just think, what kind of farcical entertainment awaits us if the proposed Kangaroos v All-Blacks match goes ahead.

NBA

“This competition is a bit Mickey Mouse” has been thrown around about made-for-TV pre/post-season tournaments for various sports over the years but it has taken a whole new meaning for the NBA to finish off their 2019-21 season.

If I said to you “The NBA season will be played entirely out of Disney World” this time last year, what would you say?

The NBA’s plans to move the competition to Disney World is all up in the air right now but here are just some of the perks that some of the highest-paid athletes in the world can expect should it go ahead:

  • A players-only lounge with card tables, video games, arcade gaming, ping pong, movie screenings and DJ sets
  • Virtual chaplain services, yoga and meditation, and mental health services
  • Pools and trails
  • Barbers, manicures, pedicures and hair braiders by appointment
  • Team-sponsored outings — boating, bowling, fishing and golfing, as well as access to the NBA Experience and Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Wild Africa Trek.

Players will need to keep six feet (1.5 meters) of physical distance from one another when playing video games or sitting by the pool.

Doubles in ping-pong are not permitted and decks of cards must be disposed of after use.

If the boys want a hit of golf, no sharing of clubs and no caddies.

Oh, and they’ve also got to complete the schedule of NBA matches for the season in front of nobody.

Good luck with that!

Racing

The show has been able to go on in the world of Racing in these strange times but we have seen the likes of the Hawkesbury and Scone Cups being moved to Randwick for obvious reasons.


However, if you want a real farce just ask followers of Queensland Racing who had to endure its flagship race – The Stradbroke Handicap – being moved from Eagle Farm to Doomben in 2015 and 2017.

The dire state of the track at Eagle Farm resulted in the Group 1 feature being moved across the road to Doomben, changing the 1400 meter race to a 1350 meter race.

It was basically like the time it was revealed on The Games that the Sydney 2000 100 meters track was actually 98 meters.

Soccer

There’s been a fair-few once in a lifetime, extraordinary fixtures of recent around the world but the biggest farce the World Game has ever faced is still two years away.

Qatar 2022.

Need we say more?

Olympics

Tokyo 2020 has been postponed to 2021 due to COVID19.

It will be the first Olympics of both the summer and winter variety held in an odd-numbered year but still called Tokyo 2020. Go figure.

When Melbourne hosted the Olympic games in 1956, Australia’s strict quarantine laws prevented the Equestrian events from being held in the Olympic city resulting in any event involving horses being held in Stockholm.

In recent years, the Olympics have had some shocking moves such as Beijing having swimming finals in the morning to please American audiences and the entire organising of Atlanta 1996 and Athens 2004.

20 years on and Sydney 2000 still remains the best games ever for good reason.

Rugby Union

Any fixture involving the Wallabies or an Australian Rugby Union team since the 2003 World Cup Final.

Cricket

Cricket has had its fair share of farces over the years with plenty of Tests, ODIs and Domestic matches having to be called off to the climates of both the Mother Nature and Political variety.

From a local perspective, the 2016-17 Sheffield Shield final between Victoria and South Australia takes the cake.

Victoria had finished top of the Shield table and had qualified to host the final but the MCG was booked for the start of the AFL season.

The alternative venue, Junction Oval was under refurbishment so Cricket authorities decided to meet half-way smack bang in the middle – Alice Springs.

Cricket NT saw this fixture move as a positive with President Bruce Walker telling the ABC

“Every state and territory is being encouraged to play a shield game in Alice Springs at some point… because the wicket here and the way this venue operates mimics best the sort of conditions they would find in the subcontinent.”

Boxing

Arguably the most iconic fight of all time “The Rumble in the Jungle” between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman was held at 4:30 am local time in Kinshasa, Zaire to please US TV audiences in 1974, but that didn’t stop 60,000 locals packing the joint out to witness sporting history.

The real farce in Boxing is some recent Australian fixtures, such as Horn v Mundine, Jack McInnes and Quade Cooper’s undercard bout at the Adelaide Oval prior to Green v Mundine and the “Code War” fight between Barry Hall and Paul Gallen back in December.

No matter what place or time those fights were held, they are truly a farce.