For the records
16:00, 31 Dec 2012
Build a bridge and get over it, they say.
As everyone knows, there's nothing better to traverse a gap in time than a bridge. Those who deliver come in different shapes and sizes, by personalities both sweet and dour. From a Power Taylor to the Katie variety.
It will take hurling's version of the Golden Gate Bridge to ever get one over on Henry Shefflin's record ninth All-Ireland title. Ah shur Henry's unreal, the best ever — the second-most made comment in Langton's after "same again".
Galway have been searching for a Celtic Cross for twice as many years as Shefflin has been operating at this altitude. Their flashlight is getting stronger... only that it worked a bit better before the evenings were robbed on us for the October replay. Twenty-five years, unbridged.
Multiply that number by three and carry the one for how big of a bridge Andy Murray had to build across for a phantom record. The flag chameleon cannae do it... do what, old chap? Be the first Briton to win a men's grand slam since Fred Perry dragged his long britches around New York in '36. Begod, Micko wasn't long out of the womb at all — nor was he long about starting his legacy. A legacy that fed into others, Páidí naturally being one of them.
But he did it at Arthur Ashe Stadium, aye. Scotland’s Andy (Murray, cos foreigners and their garrison games need surnames) was poxed too: Rafa (Nadal, although he'd survive on first-name terms in most places) and Roger (ditto) never crossed his path, while a storm meant Novak (perhaps it's not just in Kilkenny and Kerry where you know you've made it after your surname becomes superfluous) had less rest before an epic final. But as fellow Brit/Scot/sentient being Fergie had said to him beforehand, he'd need luck too. Everyone needs that. Or in the Rudolph-nosed manager's colloquial best: "there's no quesdin' abou' dahhhh."
He'll miss a certain banner at Old Trafford, no doubt. You know the one, the one reminding the noisy neighbours of how long it has been since they won the title. City must be the first neighbours ever asked about on TV where the response was not: "quiet, kept to himself mostly." How the house came down when that Old Trafford clock stopped. Not since Georgi Kinkladze was contorting his hips around Maine Road has there been such excitement over in the baby blue side of that city. No harm that Agueroooooooo won it in veritable Fergie time (seeing as United fans are so good at counting) either.
Of course then there's that boy that Fergie couldn't hold onto. The one who needed a first name because his surname was already taken, until he got so good that everyone forgot about the greatest goal machine in World Cup history. What have you done for us lately, that's how the world works now.
Which is always at the feet of Lionel Messi, who broke hearts and nets before him in 2012. A new calendar-year record of 91 goals; assuming you don't count that chap from Zambia, which obviously no one does. The best ever, until the new Messi can finally shake off that tag, whenever he comes along. No doubt, he’ll be a top, top plaaaaaare.
How about the worst ever... at a Euros anyway. If Murray had a lick of luck, the Trap man was all out. He’s since proven to be unaware of the old adage: don't let the door hit your arse on the way out. All a little bit Irish from the Italian, if you ask us.
Twas all Irish in the Heineken Cup final too, Leinster at it again. It felt that way at the ExCel Arena in London too when the Brits put on a jolly good show. Katie Taylor is a bridge in her own right, or at least the starting point to wherever women's boxing goes next as far as Irish people are concerned. The first female to win the RTÉ Sports Award since Sonia O’Sullivan in 2000 was honoured for her silver medal in Sydney. Taylor was a beacon among bright lights at the Olympics and Paralympics, where 38 world bests fell in total.
Felix Baumgartner jumped from a height of 128,100 feet to set a world record for a skydive. That’s an estimated 39 kilometres, or 24 mile (important to keep that singular) in old money. 834mph at one point; fairly motoring, he was — as no Austrian has ever said.
How about Minnesota Viking Adrian Peterson? Here was a guy trying to break the rushing record in the NFL and falling short by just nine yards. Eric Dickerson set the bar at 2105 yards for the then Los Angeles Rams way back in 1984, making it one of the most durable feats around. Peterson’s 2097 was agonisingly close, and all the more amazing given that he was looking to break it almost a year to the day since tearing his ACL. He just needed a couple more big-time plays.
Jim McGuinness got a focused group to complete many of those and link him back to his All-Ireland success as a player in 1992. Has there ever been a more impressive transformation of a team by a manager? Perhaps, though perhaps not since Páidí rolled into Westmeath. They’d won nothing before and since, little wonder then that since winning his medal John Joe Nevin is man of the hour round the lakes.
Which is what you found at the feet of Bubba Watson after he won the Masters in April. They don’t call him Blubba for nothin’. No doubt he took his General Lee car — of Dukes of Hazzard fame — on a tearful celebratory spin. Keep the wipers on, Blubba.
The same man lost the first of Sunday’s singles as Europe came from 10-6 down to beat USA at Medinah. Martin Kaymar won it, marking the largest comeback for a visiting team in Ryder Cup history. Drama begetting drama in Chicago.
All in the same year that The Script released the most fitting soundtrack to such feats. ‘Hall of Fame’, it’s has been rolled out more often than Phil Brown’s Midas tan on Sky Sports News. The song to sing when you’re winning, of which there has been plenty.
So goodbye to the year, goodbye to the records that fell. Hello to the new year, the recalibrated records, and another 365 days spent chasing them.
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