[The following was penned by our new sports bureau chief, Ray. Please send your sports-related questions along with a double vodka martini to Ray care of 'sports desk,' Kingston, Jamaica, one four seven seven two.]
Man did you catch the big game again last night? Seeing was a necessary but not sufficient condition for believing! Three points down, six ticks on the clock, Vultures ball with no timeouts ahead, staring into the teeth of the Hyenas' relentless pressure defense and a hostile crowd of panicky wallabees, when the referees motion for the action to begin ... but nothing. Dead silence. Then a pin drops, and then another, and Hammaburthi lofts the ball high in the midnight air, a pink dot describing an indescribable arc, hurling ever upwards until it becomes just one more point of light among the literally billions of stars in the football universe, pausing briefly at its zenith as if deciding all right I have gone far enough with this it's time to get back down to earth, then slowly descending toward a point being estimated and converged upon by several hulking contestants, swiftly churning arms and legs, glancing up every few seconds to adjust speed and course -- when suddenly out of nowhere here comes Johnny "Big Uncle" Brownstone and WALLOP!, he lays it on the guy, completely flattens his pancakes, just cleans out his cellar, throws out all his old yearbooks, and it's game over, lights out, end of story. I'm telling you you never seen anything like that again in your life and I know I can barely imagine it happened myself.
I'm Ray and this is my first sports column ever so in case it's my last I just gotta say right here: that's what I love about sports so much. The thrills, the passion, the pure poetic prowess, the punishment, the pain and the poignancy, and the pretzels, by god those pretzels. The infinite space for creativity within rigid structures, the endless array of dazzling passes and angles, the saga, two great rivals pushing each other to new heights, a bunch of grown men running around in circles while outside the arena the world hurtles toward collapse, the unexpected twists, the invertebratability of the greatest athletes, their uber-ultra-attitude, the egomonomaniacalism, macrocosmic over-the-top confidence, or plus-de-chalance if you will. Sorry, I'm getting a little worked up here, thinking back on the time we won our first cup, holy frijoles what a fine group that was, the way they conquered The Demons in the final minutes and grabbed their slice of immortality, by god I will never forget that team, what was number 47's name?, etc. etc.