A fondness for collating information bordering on hoarding

Becoming more directly involved in farming was the best decision I ever made. Equally the most frustrating however. Now, it would be easy to pin the aforementioned reservations on price volatility and changing markets. These are ongoing concerns. Greatest angst, though, is generated out of not being able to do more.
Part of life’s menu was always going to make that so. But still, not being able to drive the tractor or fork in the silage or change the bedding or dose the cattle causes a puncture to the engine every time. Such is the way farming is now, however, yours truly can still have a fair degree of input given the amount of record keeping it entails.

And that is immeasurably treasured. Firstly and most obviously as it allows a sense of being involved in the running of farm operations. Just as much, mind you, out of a fondness for collating statistics and information in general. Some would say to hoarder levels, but that’s a debate for another day.

Then again, accumulating good banks of knowledge can be most useful pertaining to sports. Recently, a case in point reared its head. Mention has been afforded to the value of American sports from a viewing perspective in dealing with the scourge that is insomnia. Of course, in this corner at least, once an interest is aroused in a certain area, the tendency is to delve quite deeply therein.

An interest has always existed in affairs of the hard court, but since attaining a night’s sleep became a battle, NBA has become a crucial part of the sporting diet. You know you’re really getting into something when you excavate a bit deeper into the nether regions thereof. In the case of basketball, that means becoming attuned to the goings on in the colleges competition – the NCAA Championships, to accredit its full title.

In recent years, it hasn’t been uncommon for the majority of space on the Sky box in the office to be consumed with the frantic five-a-side fair. Over time, familiarity germinates with the players, and indeed coaches, in the younger ranks of the game. Bo Ryan and Jim Boeheim and Mike Krzyzewski are the Sean Boylan, Mick O’Dwyer and Kevin Heffernan of the colleges scene.

Some seasons back, the habit was begun of compiling a list of ones to watch going forward with a view to who might end up gracing the biggest stage in the hoop game. To utmost regret, the last such collection assembled bit the dust a while ago when the computer hit a major malfunction.

A few of the names last singled out are remembered though. Such as Victor Olidipo, Jalil Okofor, Frank Kaminsky, a plethora of Plumlee brothers and several members of the Zellor family. Tuning into this season thus far affirmed that judgement of matters isn’t too bad. As many of those pinpointed have begun to make their mark.

So much of the discourse surrounding sport now centres on commercialism. Money, in other words. Lenses in these parts, maybe naturally, usually train on Premiership football. As obscene as the figures routinely bandied about pertaining to income in the upper echelons of the game in England are, these are dwarfed by the wages dispensed in the Adam Silver controlled arena.

Purists will of course balk at the idea of competitors being driven by either winning or money. Disciples of the whole ‘it’s not the winning it’s the taking part’ jazz. Do you honestly believe Novak Djokovic will have had his disappointment at seeing Andy Murray mop up titles at the end of the tennis season – and with them top ranking in the men’s game – will have been offset one iota by having taken part in some memorable matches he lost?

Kevin Durant was the flagship performer for the Oklahoma City Thunder for as long as this insomniac has been attuned to these things. Thus, his decision during the off-season to rumble in the direction of the Golden Gate Bridge brewed up quite the storm. Turbulence which exhibited itself before – long time sidekick Russell Westbrook has apparently severed all contact – and during their recent meeting.

Did the Golden State Warriors need their new recruit? Probably not. But to focus on that aspect of it is to miss the point. From the player’s perspective at least. Durant was the undoubted star of the Thunder team. His iconic status assured. He’d obviously twigged, however, that they were a little short of the requirements to reign supreme.

Can he be blamed for wanting to be a winner? Hardly, in one sense anyway. Yet there are those of us of a certain sports viewing vintage that are endeared by a seldom seen trait – loyalty. Think Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Jamie Carragher, devoting their entire careers to one institution.

Kobe Bryant may be a unique comparison in a basketball sense. That said, while it was somewhat surprising to see Dwayne Wade swap the Miami Heat for the Chicago Bulls, a couple of thoughts come to mind. It appears beyond doubt that the efficiency of the former has been diminished by the decision of LeBron James to return to Ohio.

Now consider that, in a different sphere, Jim McGuinness was considered – by some at least – to be a coaching revolutionary. Whether that accreditation was merited may be open to question, but, the titling of his book – Until Victory Always – surely encapsulates the mindset of all top sports people.

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