Friday, 16 December 2005

Unmercifully flogging..

.. a dead horse that is. What’s the last thing Melbourne’s already overcrowded sports market needs? If you said “another basketball team” you are probably not involved with these financially suicidal people,

Cowan Basketball, the Philips Championship National Basketball Leagues’s (NBL) newest franchise, unveiled its official identity. The team announced its name - South Dragons,

The NBL Board approved the transfer of the Victoria Giants license to Cowan Basketball in October this year, clearing the way for a second Victorian team to return to the Philips Championship in 2006/07.

NBL Commissioner Rick Burton said the return to a 12-team competition for the 2006-07 Philips Championship is a step in the right direction and would see a new cross-town Melbourne rivalry born.

“The transfer of this license to Cowan Basketball is a huge step forward for the Philips Championship,” said Burton. “Not only does it see the NBL return to a more-balanced competition, but also will write a new chapter in Victoria’s proud basketball history. This presents a fantastic new opportunity for the Melbourne public and supporter base to get behind their teams.”

Now, consider the following,

a) Melbourne Tigers

b) Coburg Giants, Eastside Spectres, Frankston Bears, Geelong Supercats, North Melbourne Giants, Nunawading Spectres, South East Melbourne Magic, South Melbourne Saints, St. Kilda Saints, Victoria Titans/Giants

a) entered the league in 1984 and have remained there ever since
b) is a list of the “other” Victorian teams who have played in the NBL and folded.

You do the math. There’s more chance of having a relaxing holiday in Chechnya than there is of getting away with this venture. How can they not see this? The Tigers are reduced to playing in a 2500 seat stadium that they can’t fill and the Melbourne Victory have snatched the summer yuppie sports market from under their noses. And what’s a “South Dragon” anyway? Wests Tigers might not be the best name ever invented (but we won the premiership so.. your mum) but at least it means you can call them “Wests” which trips off the tongue nicely. What are you supposed to say for this lot? “I’m a huge fan of South”? It’s already shithouse and they haven’t even bounced a ball yet. Was there a “Southern Dragons” mixed netball team that was going to sue them for using the name or something?

Now I don’t give a toss about basketball. It’s not bad to watch on TV but going to the games here was a painful experience. I was only there because my friend’s cousin played for the Victoria Titans at the time and it was a good place to combine the pursuits of watching sports, pissfarting about and getting obscenely drunk. For some reason they were obsessed with with playing hip-hop music non-stop throughout the evening. Not even the good stuff - no Straight Outta Compton for this family friendly audience. I think the message was that basketball in this country =’s black people AND DON’T FORGET IT. Just before they moved to the Sports and Aquatic Centre, started charging $25 to get in and died in the arse the Victoria Titans/Giants took this to it’s logical conclusion by hiring some dumbfuck DJ to rap and go “YO YO YO YO 2 PTS LEMME HEAR YOU GIVE IT UP FOR THA BOYZ IN BLUE CMON!” a lot. The only thing that saved them was the fat compere guy who sung the national anthem when nobody else showed up to do it. Did I really have nothing better to do on all those nights? Clearly not.

I wasn’t always just a casual spectator though. After deciding to go for the Gold Coast Rollers when Andrew Gaze came to our school in grade three and gave us free tickets to their game against the Melbourne Tigers I was forced to choose a new team at random when they unceremoniously folded somewhere in the mid 90’s. Not that I ever actually went to see them when they played here, but it was just a matter of being difficult during the one time that the game was popular in this country. After their demise I closed my eyes and poked a finger at the league table which landed on the Adelaide 36′ers. Thrills and spills galore in my childhood let me assure you. Somehow, in a manner that escapes me now, they ended up playing and beating the Titans in the ‘99 Grand Final series. A big fuck you to all the people I went to the games with right there. God knows what they’re doing now, the moment my friend’s cousin got traded to another team that was pretty much it. The last time I went was about three years ago when the 36′ers and Titans players had handbags at 20 paces on court and the announcer (DJ Dumbfuck had been sacked by this point) had to plead with the crowd of 500 - most of whom were under the age of 13 - not to spill on the court and join in as Run DMC’s “It’s Like That” blared out over the speaker system. Farcical.

And now some new mad bastards with more money than brains think they’re going to coin it in by playing in Vodafone Arena? Presumably they will pay to rent the venue and will recieve little if any of the money from the grossly overpriced parking, food and drink sales. You must own your own venue to make any money from that league. To cover this up they will charge a fortune to get in, price half their market out and will play to crowds of 4000. Half of these people will then participate in the great Australian tradition of jumping off something if it starts to become unpopular. Eventually they will split their games between Dandenong and Bendigo before failing miserably like all those that have gone before them. We’ll be back for the “I told you so” story about their death in three years time. Please note there will be no followups or mention of this ever again if they make a fortune and become the biggest sports club in the country.

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