EVERY SUNDAY, TheScore.ie brings you some of our favourite pieces from the previous seven days.
1. “Fong, 48 years old, 6 feet tall with broad shoulders, pulls the ball into his chest and does a quick shimmy with his hips. He swings the ball first backward, then forward, his arm a pendulum of kinetic energy, as he takes five measured steps toward the foul line. He releases the ball, and it glides across the oiled wooden planks like it’s floating, hydroplaning, spinning counterclockwise along a trajectory that seems to be taking it straight for the right-hand gutter. But as the ball nears the edge of the lane, it veers back toward the center, as if guided by remote control. The hook carries the ball back just in time. In a heartbeat, what was a wide, sneering mouth of pins is now—nothing.”
Could this be the best bowling story ever told? After The Big Lebowski, obviously.
2. “For a generation that has had the rug pulled from underneath them, seeking work away from Ireland has become the norm. Families have been left behind, friends’ weddings have been missed, the births of nieces and nephews celebrated through the medium of Skype. For many of the Irish Diaspora, emigration has brought opportunities now not possible at home. However, with those opportunities has come a heavy heart, a palpable sense of displacement and a longing for that which is familiar.
“As one supporter put it: “I have travelled 10,000 miles to be here, spent over 30 hours on planes, saved up my wages every week for six months and now I have to go back halfway across the world again in a few days time. I’ll f**king sing if I want.”
Roy Keane is a very hard man to put back in his box, but this could just be the piece to do it.
3. “Roque didn’t join the local heroes Barcelona, but he did sign for the European champions Liverpool in 2005 after being scouted for Rafa Benitez in the youth sides of his nearest league club, second division Lleida. Roque moved to Liverpool and lived briefly with Anfield’s club chaplain Bill Bygroves. He remembers an “enthusiastic, talented and conscientious teenager who loved football and his PlayStation.” Roque then lodged with Geoff and Jean Park, the thinking being that Geoff, as a Spanish lecturer at Liverpool University, would be able to help a youngster who spoke Spanish and Catalan. It wasn’t needed. Rafa Benitez said that Roque spoke better English than any Spanish player he’s worked with. Geoff travelled to Catalonia yesterday to make a journey he never thought he’d have to make.”
Miki Roque, the talented former Liverpool defender, died this week at the age of 23.
4. “Cristiano Ronaldo will remember this night as the one on which he saved himself for the last penalty in the shootout, and never got to take it. A bizarre decision by the Portugal captain will give him plenty of reason for reflection as he considers his failure to achieve his aim of becoming the star of Euro 2012. Now this merely becomes the fifth major tournament on which he has failed to make an impact commensurate with his self-esteem. Spain deserved their victory for the way, after an uncertain start to the evening, they attacked the game with ever-increasing intensity.
“Despite having had 48 hours’ less rest since their quarter-final than Portugal, they raised the tempo significantly in extra time and were unlucky not to convert at least one of several chances in open play. But the authorities really should find a way of preventing these two teams from meeting in major tournaments. If this match, despite numerous clashes and tumbles, had a slightly more elevated tone than the thoroughly nasty encounter between the Iberian neighbours at the last World Cup, then it never seemed likely to live up to the promise inherent in the presence on the pitch of some of the great performers of the modern game.”
Richard Williams offers a damning critique of the Portuguese captain.
5. “The fact is, however much those who take offence at this view, and no matter how right they like to think they are, we are only separated by a difference in taste. I can see exactly what people love about Spain and Barcelona. It’s not hard to understand at all. It’s clever, skillful, patient and perhaps most crucial of all, successful. I can see all that. Fair enough.
“I just don’t enjoy it.”
John Nicholson, quite reasonably, wants to know why he’s so vilified for not loving the Spanish style?
What did we miss?