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Footy Forum: Forget football for a few months [Jun. 8th, 2009|12:32 pm]
Sports Shorts
From August to May football sits in the driving seat of the nation's sporting consciousness with each of the other major (and occasionally minor) sports looming large in its rearview mirror.

But as Meatloaf cautions with all the sobriety of an RAC driving manual, 'objects in the rearview mirror may appear larger than they are' and, while the football season chunters on, the looming large of other sports is nothing more than optical illusion.

Until yesterday, when 'other' sports smoothly accelerated out of football's slipstream and made our national game look painfully pedestrian.

To South London, where all of Twenty20 cricket's failings were subsumed within the overpowering context of a must-win game, played in front of a braying full house, against the most mercurial cricket side on earth. The match even came complete with match-winning heroics performed by a warrior battling against the most classical of foes, his Achilles heel.

Or to that high seat of antiquity, Istanbul, where the recently christened 'Frome Flyer' Jensen Button won the Turkish Grand Prix to make it six wins in the first seven races of the season and open up a 26 point gap over his nearest championship rival, his Brawn teammate Rubens Barrichello.

For added context, Button's achievement sees him join Jim Clark and Michael Schumacher in a select club whose membership criteria is so stringent it makes joining the Masons look like signing up for a Tesco clubcard.

For yesterday's pièce de résistance, we head west from Turkey to the 16th arrondissement of Paris where, yesterday afternoon, a Swiss man sunk to his knees on the enigmatic red clay of the Philippe Chatrier court at Roland Garros, safe in the knowledge that sporting immortality was his.

Roger Federer has now achieved the greatness for which the word was intended, making six consecutive wins in a distinctly average World Cup qualifying group look exactly what it is - distinctly average.

As tennis sped away into the distance yesterday, football was left far behind, hidden in a haze of Parisian red dust.

So ignore the fatuous transfer gossip for the next three months, pick another sport and get lost in the pleasure of discovering something new.