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Sports Articles: And Finally.....The Good Old Days?

And Finally.....The Good Old Days?
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And Finally.....The Good Old Days?



We all have different ideas of what the 'good old days' are. To Ed002, those three words no doubt conjure up images of a misspent youth with Father Yod and the Source Family or dodging bullets at anti-Vietnam War protests at college. For Ed025 they will be evoking images of the 'golden age' between the wars when he was a youngster and England were still relevant on the world stage (the Crimean and Napoleonic Wars of course). For me I am not sure those words even have any relevance, as I was born in the time when parents had children so that there was someone to change the channel on the TV, as there were no remote controls back then.


One thing I have noticed is that, no matter what time period you look at, there are always an older generation of people complaining about how much better life was in the good old days. Today we hear how kids are not playing enough football because they have too many distractions with video games and the like. As long ago as 1955 the then-chairman of Liverpool FC, William John Harrop, was complaining of 'other pebbles on the soccer beach' distracting children from playing the game. He said that: "We are constantly being told that modern football is decidedly inferior, even paltry, compared with what it once was. I hope I have not reached that deplorable and crochetty stage, said to afflict the elderly, where the present has little to commend it and nothing seems as good as it used to be."



Harrop also complained that: "The younger generation in almost all walks of life seems more concerned to get the maximum financial return for the minimum of effort. They will not work at anything with the persistence and determination of their fathers and grandfathers." He then went on to complain about the prevalance of so many varied forms of ready-made entertainment, such as cinema and TV.


It seems the good old days are the same for everyone, a rose-tinted glass view of the past, when everything was better because you only really remember the good bits. Like my grandad always telling me how modern music was destroyed by The Beatles because he once put on a charity event for the Ambulance Service and had The Beatles on the bill as number 10. Legendary comedian and singer Ken Dodd topped the bill, with Paul, John, Ringo and other feller I can never remember (well he never voiced Thomas The Tank so who is going to remember him?) meant to be doing two sets.


One before the interval and a second straight after it. They went down so well that Doddy turned to my grandad (coincidentally he was also named George Martin like the Beatles' producer) and told him he would have to pay them off in the interval because, if they did their second set, there would be no one left in the audience for Doddy to perform to! Ever since then, inbetween his sayings about Old Mrs Davis and her kippers, he would often tell me that the Fab Four could not play their instruments. But then he thought Demis Roussos was a great singer, so perhaps his judgement was flawed?



For my parents, the good old days would be those days before they got lumbered with a child and had dirty nappies (Americanese translation: diapers) to worry about. Not that my mother (for those of you who speak proper English: me ma) actually changed any nappies, that was why she had a little sister. It was probably for the best that she did mostly leave her little sister to look after me while she worked, as her idea of child care when she had a baby brother was to take the pram to the top of the nearest hill and let go to see how fast the pram could go. When (in her words) the little brat got too big for a pram, and it was her turn to look after him, she would drop him off outside the greengrocers, shove an apple in his mouth (proper English: gob) to keep him quiet and then tell the shopkeeper that her mother had asked if he could just keep an eye on him while she popped out. It worked up until she got home one day and my nan asked her where the baby was. Replying 'what baby?' was probably not the best response either.


One thing is for sure, the good old days for most of us who are above the age of about 30, will have involved a youth spent outside playing sports, and most of us will at some point have been chased by an enraged house owner telling us to go and play outside our own house. Though, for my mother and her brothers and sisters, the person who usually chased them off and told them to play outside their own house was their grandmother. To make it worse, she lived next door to them! Though she did have good reason, as my grandad, the Beatles fan of earlier, had become an expert glazer through fixing all the windows they smashed with their football. Well I say expert in the loosest sense of the term as his health and safety left a lot to be desired in terms of the equipment he used. His ladder did not have a non-slip base and he was once left dangling from the bedroom window of his own home while fitting a new pane.


Luckily for him my nan heard the glass smash on the ground as he dropped the pane while hanging on to the window ledge and came out to see what was happening. She then spent the next twenty minutes clearing up the glass shards, while he continued to hang on by his fingertips above, as someone could hurt themselves on it if they were not careful. I am not going to repeat what he was saying because the language was a bit colourful to say the least, but she did put the ladder back for him when she had finished. She then spent the rest of the day asking people what was wrong with him as 'he wouldn't stop grumbling about something'.


I am sorry I got completely sidetracked from an article that was supposed to be about how the good old days are just the same as the modern day, except that old people were younger and young people were not born yet. People were still moaning about there being too many distractions and young people not being willing to work for what they want. But were the good old days actually all that good?



These days we hear a lot about violence against referees in football, but it is nothing compared to the 'Sydney Riot' of 1879, which sadly did not involve thousands of people called Sydney rioting. Instead it was at a cricket match, which must have been the last cricket match in history with a crowd that did not mainly consist of heavily inebriated drunks sleeping off the beer. England faced New South Wales and a controversial call saw the Australian crowd storm the pitch and assault the English team, very unlike Aussies to react like that, I am sure you will all agree. Two thousand spectators took part, but the English players only suffered minor injuries. It has actually been blamed on gamblers in the area with large sums of money placed on New South Walesto win. Some reports claimed that they incited the riot to try and get the game called off after England took a big lead and have the bets cancelled.


In baseball it is not uncommon to see brawls, but one of the worst was a 1924 game between New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers, involving the two biggest star names in the sport, Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb, who were like the Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo of the time. The Tigers were losing and one of their players intentionally threw the ball at a Yankees head. A mass brawl broke out between all the players (can you imagine Messi and CR7 in the middle of a mass brawl? Messi would be trodden underfoot while Ronaldo would be just shouting 'not the face!') which spread to the whole stadium as hundreds of fans swarmed onto the field and began to fight. One fan even got knocked out by an umpire during the melee!


We have all heard the old joke about going to see a fight and an ice hockey game broke out, but, in the good old days of the 1950s, the fighting was not always constrained to the ice itself. In 1955 the NHL Commissioner of the time, Clarence Campbell, had suspended Montreal Canadiens fan favourite Maurice Richard for the rest of the season. Campbell then thought it would be a sensible idea to attend a Montreal game shortly afterwards. The Canadiens' fans showed their displeasure at his decision by bombarding him with food, while one fan slapped him. Security staff threw tear gas into the crowd to disperse the spectators, the game was ended early and awarded to the visiting team. Campbell said: "it could have been a lot worse."



The good old days? They do not seem so different to me, except that people had to actually talk to each other in the flesh, instead of ignoring each other, except when posting on anti-social media to tell us all what they had for dinner. Or to share pictures to show everyone how great their life is compared to yours. Or to film every event they go to, watching it through a phone screen, just so they can show off they were there, not actually enjoying it because they were too busy making sure they were pointing the camera in the right direction. Just don't get me started on selfies. I have changed my mind, life was better in the good old days!

Written by Ed001 December 10 2018 16:41:59


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