SUP-Aaargh?! Slowmo Review – 11 (START -v- FINISH – Edition)

Athletics_start : Runner in start position illustration Stock Photo

To be pro-start or pro-finish?  That was the central question.  Well, if by “central question” you are referring to a centrality as posed in the blogpost that previewed the match-ups I selected to PUNt over the weekend, then okay.  My allegiance to either camp, start or finish, was severely tested and as the sporting weekend played itself out I found myself switching sides more than Nicolas Anelka, even though deep down I yearned for the loyal single-mindedness that has characterised Stevie G, Giggs & Maldini.  I am not too sure if you are pro-start  pro-finish,and whether your resolve was also tested this weekend, BUT, as I have mentioned already, mine was, and here is why.


  • Miami Heat – v Toronto Raptors &  Boston Celtics (NBA):- = my PUNt  was that  I expect that streak to extend to 23 STRAIGHT VICTORIES WHICH WILL INCLUDE WINS OVER TORONTO AND BOSTON!!
  • The streak I was referring to was the impressive run of 21 straight victories that the NBA Champion MIAMI HEAT were on at the time of PUNt-ing Ahead , which was third longest streak in NBA history!  After the HEAT’s 108 – 91 thumping of the Raptors & 105 – 103 edging of the Celtics, It was good to see them fulfilling that PUNt to extend the win-streak to a now NBA all time second best 23 games!  That leaves the Heat 10 shy of the 1972/73 LA Lakers’ record of 33 straight victories which also had Big 3 inspiration from Jerry West, Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain & Gail Goodrich!  As impressive as the Heat record is, it is not what the their BIG 3 (of Wade, James & Bosh) set out to achieve when they joined forces.  Their brash proclamations at the start, of delivering ….”….not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven….” were NOT in reference to consecutive wins.  NO!  It was, instead, in reference to the number of NBA titles they would win, and a quick look up at the rafters of the American Airlines Arena will indicate that they are still at step one of at least 7 along that journey.  Last season was their Waiting To Exhale pro-start  moment.  This season is a switch to pro-finish mode BUT should they fail to raise another championship banner, their next viral video won’t be a celebratory version of the Harlem Shake BUT rather a more timid reprisal of Didn’t We Almost Have It All. 

And I may gladly take the lead on that rendition because of the misfortune I experienced with this weekend’s PUNts.  The emergence of each final whistle and Chequered Flag left me humming “It’s NOT Right BUT It’s OKAY!”  at my near misses, and here’s the reason.

SUP-Aaaargh!? QUICK-PUNt

  1. Everton -v- Manchester City (EPL):- my PUNt  = LOW SCORE DRAW!  Which basically meant that I was pretty certain that Citeh would NOT break the Everton hoodoo, without being to convinced that the Toffees had it in them to actually win.  BUT Citeh go on to fail to get a positive result, even with the benefit of having an extra player for the last third of the game, not to mention having 72% ball possession in the 2nd half!  So the eventual 2-NIL VICTORY FOR EVERTON meant that my PUNts were off to a poor start, BUT there was a slight silver lining in it all.  I also mentioned that “Citeh’s title ambitions could well and truly be finished!”  if Manchester United went on to beat Reading.  United held up their end, though unconvincingly, and now with a 15 point gap I guess we can now apply the finish to Manchester City’s desires of keeping the EPL trophy from making it’s re-appearance in a trophy cabinet at Old Trafford.
  2. Bayer Leverkusen v Bayern Munich (Bundesliga):- my PUNt = MULTI-SCORE DRAW!!… It was all going swimmingly for me until the dying stages of the match.  Up until then Munich had taken a 37th minute lead only for Leverkusen to equalise with just 15 minutes to play.  I must confess that I switched channels, around the 85th minute, to take in some other sports action, only to switch back to the harsh reality of a 2-1 BAYERN MUNICH WIN!  My initial disbelief soon turned into indignation when I then realised that the Bayern “victory” was due to a Leverkusen own goal, in the 87th minute!  Another PUNt dashed by a bad finish!
  3. So off we went, to the PUNt redemption of the 6 Nations title decider between Wales -v- England:- where my PUNt was for a WIN FOR WALES!  FINALLY some good fortune I thought BUT alas, even though the Dragons did indeed win, they huffed and puffed and blew the other part of my PUNt away which had boldly proclaimed that the Welsh victory would be in the context of = ENGLAND ALSO DOING ENOUGH TO STAY CLOSE ENOUGH TO ULTIMATELY WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP……BUT NOT THE GRAND SLAM! BUT wait, there was more…. I even went on to further clarify that “That should make for a really awkward atmosphere in Cardiff as the Dragons have to endure a “hollow” victory and be gracious enough to witness England parade the trophy in the immediate haze of a hard-fought defeat.”  WELL didn’t the resounding 30-3 WELSH WIN just put me in my place?  And as the Welsh fans toasted their team’s remarkable victory, courtesy of a fantastic finish, I was the one left to endure the awkward atmosphere of a hollow victory.!!
  4. Surely my PUNt for Alonso, Vettel and Webber ON A FERRARI TOPPED PODIUM! in the Formula 1 season opening Australian GP (F1) would vindicate me?  Short answer, NO! Vettel and Alonso did make the podium BUT it was Lotus who dominated it as KIMI RAIKKONEN WON!  So yet again it was a case of being close, BUT sadly with no celebratory champagne being sprayed on me.

NB* stats as per OPTA,,,

  • HEZV-Oh!! Moment from the Blindside!
  • Rafael Nadal’s comeback has gone far better than most would have anticipated and this Sunday’s 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory over Juan Martin del Potro  in the final of the BNP Paribas Open landed Rafa his 3rd title from 4 events (making the final in each event) of 2013!  It was Nadal’s 600th career victory and it gave him a record 22 ATP Masters 1000 titles, one more than Roger Federer!  Not bad for a guy whose career was stalled for 7 whole months by dodgy knees.  Some went as far as to suggest, at the time of his injuries, that his dominant presence on the tour was finished! BUT this phenomenal re-start has rubbished those claims as nothing but lousy, ill-advised, knee-jerk reactions!

NB** stats as per

PUNk(s) of the Week!!

  • Speaking of career starts, Wigan’s Callum McManaman had a senior League debut with details that he he wishes he could erase.  Even though his Latics won a crucial tie against Newcastle United, it’s his crude tackle on Massadio Haïdara that has dominated the headlines and will probably be the lasting memory of the start to his professional League career.  The FA’s decision NOT to take retrospective action means that there will be no immediate interruptions to McManaman’s young career.  BUT as his career goes on, Mark Halsey (the referee who “did not see the bad tackle incident” ) is reported to be considering calling time on his career in the aftermath of the abuse that he has endured since the match.  This is NOT the way to finish a career, if it does end this way.  The PUNk(s) in this instance are Callum, for the tackle (which could have finished Haidara’s own career), Mark Halsey and his assistants who “did NOT see” the incident, and the FA for doing nothing about it all.
  • The Greek Football Federation escapes being bestowed with honorary PUNk-hood because of the swift and decisive manner in which they dealt with Giorgos Katidis.  This PUNk’s NAZI salute celebration has led to a suspension from his club AEK Athens, BUT more impressivley a Life Ban from international football meted out by the Greek Footy Federation.  Such stupid acts have NO place in society and decision to finish his international career should be saluted……in the appropriate manner of course.

PUNisher of the Week!!

  • Hashim  Amla (122) and A.B. de Villiers’ (128) shared a WORLD RECORD 3rd wicket stand of 238 runs which helped the Proteas pull  2-1 ahead of Pakistan in their 4 match ODI series, via a 34 run victory.  This feat was made more remarkable by the fact that it was achieved with both men being clad in PINK!! ….. All for the great cause of creating awareness, and providing support, for Breast Cancer.

Mark-Oh-Row-Coat-Oh! / Congratulations! to those who finished what they started.  Considering that I had to wait for my final PUNt of the weekend to get something right, I guess I will be throwing in my lot with the pro-finish camp.  Here’s to hoping that the next PUNt-ing Ahead will be more accurate and NOT go into touch on the full, otherwise there will be more desperate pleas to pardonthePUN-dit.

Until the next PUNt, be blessed and be GR8!!…….and finish strong!!

                             Athletics_start : Marathon Athletes Stock Photo

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