Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Dazed and Confused on Grand Slam Sunday

Sunday was a hard day for the remote control. Following the events in Croke Park, Stamford Bridge and Old Trafford required a dexterity and nimbleness usually neither necessary nor recommmended in the post-Sunday roast hours.

Still, it was 'Grand Slam Sunday'. The temptation, therefore, to leave the Premiership's false gods alone for an afternoon and keep holy the Gael's most sacred Sabbath had to be resisted in the fore-knowledge of the interminable Bolton v Fulhams of Sundays to come, lest we be left cursing the missing of the day all of the big four were in action.

How to manage it? How to retain some sort of handle on what was going on, and avoid the dangers of televisual gluttony?

The dangers? How could I forget Champions League 2004-05 last 16?

Milan v Manchester United, Chelsea v Barcelona. Start off in Milan. Fifteen minutes of nothing. Over to London: 2-0 Chelsea. Crap! Back to Milan for a bit. Flick: 3-0 Chelsea. Bollocks! Right, this game's over, back to Milan. Flick: Ronaldinho penalty, 3-1 - Classic! Throw remote control out of window.

A cautionary tale.

Down the country at a wedding over the weekend, Operation Total Sporting Immersion took place at my girlfriend's parents' house. Two televisions, four remote controls (one for the kitchen telly, one for the sitting room telly, another for cable and then that other one that is always lying around someone else's living room and might be for a DVD player, maybe a music system, or might, just perhaps, be for controlling a revolving wall behind the fireplace which hides a secret lair in which previous visitors are imprisoned and heinously tortured. But probably for a DVD player).

Anyway, Micheal O'Se shared airspace with Ian Darke, Richard Keys and Michael Lyster duelled bon mots, Andy Gray growled while Martin Carney whined. Pimply-faced minors earning minimum wage pumping petrol on Saturday afternoons gave way to Coles and Ballacks sashaying around Stamford Bridge on about a grand a minute. Lehmann squared up to O'Shea then Brady roughed up Donaghy.

And it was all more trouble than it was worth. As Alan Partridge said about ladyboys, "I don't find them attractive, it's just confusing." I even missed the best bits of Roy Keane's studio analysis, arriving late from Brolly and O'Rourke just in time to notice his woefully constructed tie knot.

It seems you can't have your cake and eat. Unless you have some cake, and then eat it (Ah, but then you wouldn't have it anymore - so that's what that saying means!). No. Next year, I will watch Donegal's historic triumph over Kerry in the All-Ireland, then leave Grand Slam Sunday to be enjoyed in the pleasantly sedate company of Adrian Chiles and Match of the Day 2.

I may even have some cake.


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