Andrew Alderson

Andrew Alderson is a sport writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Sport: 13 things we do not want to see in 2013

Last week, we looked at 13 things we'd like to see in sport in 2013. This week, Andrew Alderson looks at 13 sporting elements he'd like not to see in 2013

Jacko Gill could be Olympic shot put champion and still get nowhere near the world record. Photo / Getty Images
Jacko Gill could be Olympic shot put champion and still get nowhere near the world record. Photo / Getty Images

1. Caddies' white overalls at the Masters

As caddies hunch under bags at Augusta National, the current jumpsuits provide an eerie feeling you're looking back at America's south in the Mississippi Burning era. They are a Clifford Roberts relic. As club founder in 1933, Roberts once allegedly said, "As long as I'm alive, all the golfers will be white and all the caddies will be black." Incidentally, he shot himself in 1977, aged 84, near Augusta's par three course.

2. No more than two fielders behind square leg

This was added to cricket's laws after the 1932-33 Bodyline series when England captain Douglas Jardine instructed pace bowlers Harold Larwood and Bill Voce to pitch short at the body. It was known as Fast Leg Theory and was a tactic to dismiss Don Bradman. In an age of helmets, chest protectors and armguards, these deliveries shouldn't pose the same problems. Let the fielding team risk exposing an open park in front of the wicket.

3. Pre-match chats with tennis players

When will these excruciating exchanges end? Players merely seem distracted by interviewers before taking the court and say little. It adds minimal value to hear someone mumbling about "playing my own game". Just let them get on the court and swing their rackets. This also applies to rugby halftime chats that reveal "the boys" need to "knuckle down in the second half", "get more possession" or "make more tackles".

4. Skin-tight front row jerseys

Watching front rowers on rugby fields in jerseys that look more like body paint can make you wince. Not only do props tend to be "big-boned" and therefore not conducive to having 120kg-plus frames vacuum-packed into space age jerseys, it can't be easy to get a grip at scrum time. Please give the big men breathing space ... and dignity.

5. 'Get-in-the-hole' oafs

The golfing morons who call out this sentence make even the mildest-mannered humans wish they had access to a Taser. Regardless of whether a player is teeing off, chipping or putting, these impulsive larynxes somehow come within close proximity of the microphones. They're almost impossible to police but a list of 'most wanted' smart phone snaps posted around courses and on golfing websites would be a start.

6. Track rabbits

The first sub-four minute mile established pace-makers in modern athletics. Chris Brasher and Chris Chataway helped Roger Bannister through the initial laps of his famous run at Iffley Road in 1954. Now rabbits feature regularly in anything from middle-distance running to the marathon - the Olympic Games and world championships excepted. Records might become scarce but unpredictable races tend to unfold when runners use their own tactics rather than those of a meet employee.

7. Politely waiting for a Tour de France race leader who crashes or has mechanical problems

Given recent events, le Tour has bigger problems than unwritten rules which defend the honour of the man in the yellow jersey. In 2010, on stage 15, leader Andy Schleck's bike slipped a chain. He was stranded up the Pyrenees as Alberto Contador swung past into the race lead and eventual tour victory. Contador was booed on the podium but surely, in professional sport, blame must be laid with team preparation instead.

8. Two serves in tennis

Granted, this would be dramatic, but the game needs to rely less on serve-obsessed one-dimensional exponents and more on skill-oriented allrounders. All serve and no rally makes tennis a dull game. It is mind-numbing to see someone thwacking a ball with a limited arsenal of back-up shots. Alternatively, ease the service line in a fraction to force players to hit down on the ball more, reducing the pace.

9. Suit jackets at rowing's Henley Royal Regatta

Evidence suggests rowing's pooh-bahs allow removal of jackets only when the thermometer hits 35 degrees. Armpits become waterfalls, feet squelch in shoes and necks itch when lasooed by the mandatory tie or cravat. Since the hottest recorded British summer (1976), the only other reprieve was 2009. Don't force the anti-perspirant out of its comfort zone.

10. Solo synchronised swimming

Duet or team synchronised swimming can be respected. The anaerobic fitness required is sometimes masked by derisory comments like "clothes pegs" and "glorified aquacise" - but try doing an eggbeater with your hair glued into a bun ... The relevance of "the solo" is less certain. Surely it's an oxymoron to include the term next to "synchronised". Yes, the routines are synchronised to music, but that's stretching it.

11. Chelsea get another manager

Pleasing club owner Roman Abramovich is to world football what chainsaw juggling is to the circus. When the Russian oligarch is not distracted by his super yacht Eclipse, he seems to saw off managers. What a roll call at the club he's owned almost 10 years: Claudio Ranieri, Jose Mourinho, Avram Grant, Luiz Felipe Scolari, Guus Hiddink, Carlo Ancelotti, Andre Villas-Boas, Roberto Di Matteo and incumbent Rafa Benitez. The last seven were installed in just over five years. Stability please, sir.

12. Shot put records remain as the status quo

These are among the least likely to be broken in world sport. The women's mark stretches to 1987; the men's to 1990. The 12 best female throws occurred between 1976 and 1998. Double Olympic champion Val Adams would need to put 1.4m further to topple current holder Natalya Lisovskaya's 22.63m. The five best men's throws were between 1975 and 1990. Last year, no man got within 81cm of once-convicted doper Randy Barnes. What chance does Jacko Gill have? Are these past marks not slightly surreal?

13. An end to tactical losses

Badminton 'led' the way at the London Olympics when four women's doubles combinations, including the Chinese top seeds, were disqualified for trying to throw matches to secure more favourable draws. Farcical scenes in the final group stages saw shots repeatedly hit wide and served into the net in a spate of four-shot rallies. Surely fans have the right to demand two core elements from competitors when they watch (and pay) for elite sport: play fair and play to win. Either that or we insist on competition formats that do not encourage playing to lose.

- Herald on Sunday

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