Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Obligatory 2006 Review Feature

- "But you have to do a review of the year!"

- "Why? Every gosh-darned publication, from the Donegal Democrat to the New York Times, pads out pages of festive space with 'a look back at 2006'...why must we in the new media, thrusting and groundbreaking as we undoubtedly are, conform to this tired old formula?"

- "Aw come on....It's traditional!"

So what makes it into the standard Review of the Year? Major events, of course. Your World Cups, your Champions Leagues, your Six Nations, your All-Irelands, your ploughing championships; a league title here, a sweaty victory lap there. Snip 'em out, paste 'em in, divide into 'Triumphs' and 'Disasters', furrow brow and issue nodding pronouncements like "this was a truly great year for bobsleigh" or "Irish bobsleigh went downhill in 2006" and you're done.

Then there's your retirements and deaths. They're pretty much same thing, of course, in sport. Those who hang up their boots, or bats, or steering wheels are mourned just like those who go to the Great Golf Course in the Sky. "We may never see his like again"; "One of the greats"; "He changed the face of bobsleigh as we know it." When the actual deaths come, only the most loved can glean more attention than that earned on their distant 'sporting' demises.

Of course, not everything that passes is mourned.

As well as those checking out, you have to look at the new faces, or indeed those returning to the scene, whether welcome, or, well, otherwise.

You've got your off-field controversies - drug shame, officiating controversy, corruption, scandal and vice.

Special bumper sections are reserved for regurgitating the year's most monstrously hyped and minutely observed occasions, for were we not to revisit them at the end of the year, we might feel a little silly for getting so excited about them in the first place.

Then just drizzle with some amusing incidents, like dogs (cute ones only) or poultry invading fields of play, or rugby players with no shorts on (as if!) and there you have it! A year annotated and presented like one of those gourmet cheese selections you may have consumed over the last week.

So adieu 2006, how's she cuttin' 2007?...and the last word on the man who didn't need the year reviewed for us to remember his contribution.


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