Neither of them have any bearing on the actual game, mind, because I think the players and the greater NRL organisation ('sup Politis!) have a pretty good handle on that side of things, and I'm no expert. I could be, but I'm not.
No, my two key concerns are largely superficial. I'm nothing if not consistent.
The first thing I would do away with is the bizzare unspoken law that appears to forbid footballers from talking about themselves. Ever. In any fashion. We know it's a team game, guys. The swarms of men running around in identical jerseys kind of acts as a permanent reminder. I know, right, who knew?
Lest we ever forget, though, we need only look to any player during any interview, ever. Any attempt by an interviewer to elicit from the player a comment, however vague or benign, that relates to themselves, is met with automatic and repeated reference to "the boys". So "You had a great kicking game tonight Toddy" is met with "Yeah, nah, the boys played really well." Slight variations of this exchange make up the meat of every interview with every player. It's maddening. Effective too, in terms of giving nothing away whatsoever. I'm thinking of implementing it in my own life, actually.
|Full credit to The Boys|
The peculiarities of footy-speak is a topic unto itself, really. Their ability to string any number of cliches together into a sentence, with varying degrees of succes, it has to be said, is in itself a remarkable talent and one that is deserving of an entire post, if not a thesis.
Sadly though, this is not our theme today. No, our theme today concerns the second thing I wish I could change; namely that I want The Facts on what these big bastards eat.
Footballers must eat a lot. I mean, look at them.
I'm a huge fan of hearing about their dietary details. I feel this is something we could all do with more of in our lives. Well, why not? We are deep into the age of food as fetish as it is; why not enter into the spirit of the season? Never mind for a moment that I find the current obsession with food - the slavish and erotic first world devotion to it I mean - to be slightly depraved and in terrible taste. No, never mind that at all, because one of the things that made me really want to get on the Twitter was reading that Greg Bird had tweeted about spending all afternoon cooking shanks and spicy couscous. And about his plans to brutalise Parramatta in an upcoming game, lest we lose sight of what a hard cunt he is even for a moment, but still. Greg Bird eats couscous? He cooks couscous? Amazing. My world totally tilted on its axis for a second there.
I can't help but feel Greg Bird should be eating something more like this:
I suspect I'm not alone here in my desire for dietary detail. If you ask me, we the public don't get nearly enough information here. Oh, sure, we get the odd fragment, but it's always in passing and it's mainly through reading articles about Greg Inglis.
My brother saw a bunch of Sharks eating at Sizzler once. I know, how retro, right? He kept an eye on them and said they were remarkably restrained and ate only from the pasta and salad bars. None of those steaks that drape like curtains over the sides of the plate, in other words. He also said they all looked like they were about to explode out of their T-shirts in the manner of metamorphosing superheroes, i.e. they looked FIT.
Anyway, he is a fan of competitive eating. Not in any official, regulated, hotdog eating contest sense - he's strictly freelance - and the main point he wanted to drive home about the encounter was that he easily ate them under the table. Which is the whole reason you go to Sizzler of course. No-one goes there expecting to walk out with their pants still buttoned, do they? Nobody in my family does anyway.
That wasn't a fat jab at Greg Inglis earlier, by the way. I can't stand the guy, but I sympathise with his struggle to, uh, be likeable and come across as an even remotely pleasant human being. Good luck with that personality thransplant then, G.I.
All that eleventh hour reneging on handshakes and the shilly-shallying around with his legal bills and the dicking around of the Broncos really took its toll on the guy at the start of the year, apparently. This is when he began a kind of savage descent into squalor and started to bear a striking resemblance to Meatloaf, circa 1992.
His diet went awry and he turned to white bread. He drank three cans of Coke a night - he was really livin' la vida loca, obviously, and here's what he had to say: "I love my Coke. I love my white bread".
Tell it again, Inglis! Now, I have never been able to swallow even a mouthful of fizz so I don't get the Coke thing, but I can relate to G.I. with the white bread bit. I am a fucking bandit for white bread, the cheaper and nastier the better. I blame my mother for this, as well as for all the other ills of the world (shoutout to Freud: respect!) because I had one of those wholesome childhoods devoid of sugar and television and - as I have bitched about extensively - SALT. This meant that I had embarrasing brown bread sandwiches when all I wanted was a lunchbox full of Rollups and Le Snacks and Ovalteenies. The residual effect of all this is that my favourite food in the world is lavishly buttered ,white sesame-seeded bread rolls.
Anyway, I would love to be able to tell you that this fragment of information endeared me to G.I. but I cannot. Still, it hasn't hurt. Baby steps.
Inglis has now banished the white bread and the Coke from his life and is ON. THE. UP. For reals. He looks as severe and as muscular as a mountain range. Fierce, even, and he's definately shaken off the sluggish, vague vibe he had going on for a while there. Early in the year I saw him sitting injured in the stands with Sam Burgess watching a game and it looked like nothing so much as a surly, sunglasses wearing thundercloud sitting alongside a shining sunbeam of sweetness. It was around this time my brother did away with his name altogether and started referring to him only as 'that slug'. Me: "Did you hear G.I. got hitched on the weekend?" Him: "What?!! What woman would marry that slug?!!" etc, etc....
For those of you who are interested in such intricacies - and how could you not be - he now drinks Coke Zero, and "It's rye bread instead of white".
|I don't remember G.I. ever looking like this, but there you have it. The hips don't lie.|
Now, far be it from me to rain on G.I.'s parade, but I've got news for you, homeboy. New studies just in have shown that in the long run drinking diet fizz will basically make you quote FAT AS FUCK unquote.
Entirely by the way, did you know that Paris Hilton pointed this out many a moon ago in her Confessions of an Heiress book? "Never drink Diet Coke. Diet Coke is for fat people".
I don't know if G.I. has read this book. I'm not entirely convinced that he has read a book, actually. Anyway, this totally makes Paris some kind of whore-bag Nostradamus because seven years after she made that astute observation the University of Texas has released a study finding a 70 per cent increase in waist size among people who drank diet fizz compared to those who drank regular fizz. If you care to investigate this in more detail the study is titled "Diet Soft Drink Consumption Is Associated With Increased Waist Circumference in the San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Ageing." Cue Stampede.
Let's turn now to two football players I hitherto could not give two hoots about: Trent Merrin and Adam Cuthbertson, and their attempts to keep their weight in check.
For the past TWO YEARS Dragons prop Merrin has eaten the same meal for dinner EVERY NIGHT. Can you imagine? Chicken breast, steamed vegetables and one cup of pasta FOR TWO YEARS? Me either. Hence the liberal use of caps - that means I'm aghast, people.
Likewise, Adam Cuthbertson revealed that he worked hard to drop weight over the pre-season and that in order to keep it off he does things like take the cheese off his sandwiches. This rivets me. Somewhere else I see it written that, prior to the lifeline the Dragons extended to him he was a footballer who "Ate recklessly". That is a gloriously ambiguous and intruiging phrase, isn't it? It excites my attention no end.
I don't know what all this means. Perhaps there is some comfort to be had in the knowledge that footballers are not insulated from the larger ills of society, be they struggles with weight or struggles to stay on the right side of the law or what have you?
Or maybe it's like the Stars without Makeup syndrome. Maybe I like reading the stuff that reconfigures them, for a minute at least, as white bread loving bogans who can stack it on with the best of us. You know, as opposed to the carved-from granite behemouths that run out of the sheds every week and knock the stuffing and the shit out of each other for our entertainment?