For some reason or other, I have found myself in a bit of a sporting mood recently. So, with inspiration taken from the hours and hours of watching people I’ve never heard of playing sports I didn’t know existed; here is my top five of unfortunately named athletes, and yes I’ll even throw in a list of all those poor souls who didn’t quite make it. Enjoy!
5. Lee Bum-Young: This ingenious hyphenated wonder could have remained hidden for years if it wasn’t for a certain penalty last night. It can be taken two ways (giggidy); some of you might choose to condemn LEE for his paedophilic double barrel moniker whereas others might adopt the ‘has off to him, he’s started early’ response with a look of sex-related respect. However you see it, you must thank Great Britain for entering a football team in this year’s Olympics, without which this gem might well have slipped through the net.
4. Phil Pfister: Dear dear, now this is an unfortunate one. A name with of the subtlety of…well fisting I guess. And just to make sure it’s stays fresh in your mind way after witnessing this guy benching cars and planes and buildings and all kinds of unimaginable stuff on World’s Strongest Man, he’s even got the alliterative first name to top it off. The only thing that can make this terribly unfortunate occurrence any worse, is when you the size of that guy’s hands. Jeez.
3. God Shammgod: Wow! How often do you think this guy goes to church? I can’t possibly imagine how this name came about but at least the crowd is left under no illusion whether this chap is a follower of the faith. This former NBA point guard must have thoroughly enjoyed his away games through the hugely god-fearing bible belt, if only the oppositions felt the same fear, he could have been a legend for more reasons than one. As it is, I’m pretty sure that the only record this blasphemous baller holds is for least shirt sales at the merchandise stands.
2. Misty Hyman: Cheers Mom and Dad. This is easily the most successful, terribly named athlete on our list having won gold in the swimming at the Sydney games in 2000. But with success comes notoriety, and that might not be completely welcome when your name sounds a totally uninviting lady garden. To be honest though with THAT surname, even the most normal of first names isn’t going to help much, somebody put a ring on her finger quick!
1. Gaylord Silly: Here he is; number one. Well, in this competition anyway. Gaylord (yes it is a real name, and we just thought Meet the Parents made it up) is a Seychellian…Seychellese…is a long distance runner from the Seychelles and legend amongst the running world, and you know it isn’t for his ability. What an absolutely brilliant name though, yes it’s less rude (and blasphemous) than the others but the combination of a completely outrageous first name which frankly borders on child abuse, and the overly mild expression of shenanigans, is, well, just downright silly. Apparently when he’s not racing he works as a tree surgeon in France, as well day-maker for anyone who happens to flicking through the ‘T’ section of the French yellow pages. All I can say is, if I was French home-owner with an unruly garden, I’d be the happiest man in the world.
So there it is, my list of unfortunate sporting names and I must admit it’s been a joy to research this one. As promised here is a list of those unlucky candidates who didn’t make the cut:
Dean Windass – Ex Premiership Footballer and nightmare to be behind in a queue
Stern John – Ex Premiership Footballer and generally angry man
Saatanan Saatana – Slovakian Ice Hockey Player and the devil incarnate
Dick Trickle – Nascar Legend and spokesman for Tena Man
Phyllis Mangina – Women’s Basketball Coach and unluckiest woman in the world
Dick Felt – Former Boston Patriots defensive backer and overly friendly team mate
Rusty Kuntz – Ex Baseball Star and unpracticed lover
Kim Yoo Suk – South Korean Pole Vaulter and big self-hater.
Well we’re nearly there; the whole nation holds their breath in anticipation for the most exciting event in Britain’s recent history. Yes the time has come, for the BBC’s montage marathon.
It started innocently enough, at the end of sporting contests to summarise the course that the tournament took and the high and lows along the way. But from these humble beginnings, the simple montage’s stature has grown to become an ever-present feature before, during and after each athletic feat.
To me it’s as if the guilty TV companies are saying that real life is no longer appealing enough for the average audience. That reality is doesn’t incorporate the excitement that the typical, reality-TV loving viewers thrive on. No, life needs to be dramatized to really get the point across, to really manufacture that sense of power and intrigue, or people might switch off!
So as we welcome the Olympic Games to London, with the BBC promising extensive coverage of every sport, athlete and queen-loving patriot exploding with national pride directly into the camera, expect to get familiar with a few of these summation traits.
Music is the key factor in making any run-of-the-mill montage into something on the scale of summer blockbuster epicness. Basically there are two options; the overblown chanting and drumming option which offers the ‘going to war’ semantic, you know, like they always do with the Welsh rugby team, or the acoustic cover of a previously famous option, you know, like they use on all those clever and heartfelt adverts where you watch someone get old in half a minute. There are a few ground rules that the editors have to follow when deciding between the two options; any rivalry or chance of violence = epic war music, individual sporting competition and lots of shots of relaxed athlete = acoustic cover. There are also the factors such as race, stature and sex; any Eastern European competitor falls into the bracket of war music as well as anyone bigger than us, whilst the majority of female athletes will get lumped into the acoustic cover category, or maybe, if they’re really lucky, the current pop song bracket, because girls love dancing and that don’t they?
If anyone can remember back to their English GCSE days then you will already be aware of our next trait. The phrase is pathetic fallacy, and it has nothing to do with erectile dysfunction. This is the montage maker’s mantra and is basically when the weather reflects the mood in a film or a book. However, in the case of montages, it can quite often be the reverse. You can often find that if there has been rain at an event (with tennis and cricket being the obvious exceptions, you can’t make a montage out of nothing , although I’m pretty sure it will be tried soon) then the mood will be set as a battle with lots of slow motion shots of bedraggled competitors and rain lashing down past a scoreboard of some kind or a symbolic piece of equipment. If the weather is sunny then everything takes on a jovial mood (despite the athlete clearly sweating their nads off) and the montage will be laden with footage of ladies in sun hats and children eating ice creams and maybe someone will have been slipped a tenner to get into a fountain somewhere, you know, to really get the message across. Even the typical British cloud, the most boring type of weather possible, gets manhandled into meaning something, usually as a sense of impending doom or loss for the home team.
So as the whole nation is plunged into a slow motion world of tears and smiles, pain and adrenaline, defeat and success, all condensed into a minute and served up with a helping of emotive music, just remember that this emotion is already there in reality, not just in this Hollywoodisation of life, created by the BBC and Sky. These feelings are being felt, in real time, in real life.
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Top 5 (6) BBC Sport Programme Music
Some of Britain’s most loved theme music comes from the BBC’s collection of sports programmes. These longstanding iconic tunes have, on numerous occasions, bookended epic moments in sporting history and for that reason will always have a poignant resonance for thousands of people across the nation. Here is tribute list to those infectious melodies that have soundtracked our lives:
6. Golf: This classic could have been a lot higher on the list for pure entertainment but alas it’s nostalgia value (for me obviously, I mean, who likes golf as a child?) has resulted in its low position. If this song had not been selected for its golfing role I like to think it could have easily been the opening credits of some weird seventies sci-fi programme. Try thinking about William Shatner when you press play…see?
5. Match of the Day: I know, ridiculously low down for such an important piece of cultural history. Having been the focal point of thousands of households’ Saturday night for tens of years, this theme music is buried deep into the mind of every British person regardless of the interest in football. It’s triumphant and morale boosting, even when you’ve just watched City wipe the floor with United 6-1! Now that’s some powerful music!
4. Snooker: A break away from the classic BBC orchestra style of sport programme theme music, this guitar riff conjures images of Ronnie clearing up with ease, of the Nugget on top form, and Dennis Taylor with his Dierdre glasses on upside down. I’ve always found a resemblance to ‘Top Gear’ with this tune but thankfully, this music isn’t often succeeded on screen by a knobhead unless, of course, Peter Ebdon is playing.
3. Ski Sunday: Possibly the happiest music ever! If I ever go skiing this song will be on repeat on my mp3 player for as long as I can carry on going. This one really takes me back, although I’m not exactly certain why. I’ve never made an effort to watch ‘Ski Sunday’ and don’t really enjoy skiing in general but still this song comes fully charged with nostalgia.
2. Wimbledon: The sound of summer is here! It had to be high up just for those memories of sunny days and epic matches, only marred by Tim Henman’s constant semis (finals that is, you dirty minded bastards) and of course Cliff Richard praying for rain so that he might get a bit of attention. Bust out the strawberries and celebrate being British before everyone stops caring about tennis because we never win anything.
1. Grandstand: Of course it’s Grandstand, what else could it have been? By far the best sports music ever, narrowly pipping the Champion’s League music to the title. In its positive notes it encapsulated all that is happiness; a shit load of sport, the realisation that the weekend is here, and the acceptance that you don’t have to do anything for hours and hours except for maybe playing some sport, before returning home to continue watching even more sport! What’s best about the theme tune is that middle breakdown section where it gets really powerful and heroic. Thank you Keith Mansfield, for blessing the world with this superlative piece of history.
So there it is, you can see why it had to be a top six. I hope through reading and listening to this you have been flooded with memories of youth and happiness. Sadly now, you will have to return to your grown up, Grandstand-less lives and just try to make do with the Sky Sports News music. I know, I know, it’s not the same but what choice do we have?
Enjoyed this list, or think you’d do things differently? Leave a comment.