It’s a reality check… and the big sports shutdown means that, without Virgil Van Dijk and Liverpool to watch, we’ll have to go to sports games for our fix.
Now video games have come a long way since we were using solid bars to knock square balls over solid line nets… we called it tennis.
And it was a Christmas present I’d pestered my parents for for weeks only to lose interest in it before the new year.
So where does this bring us as far as our travels… well, it’s to flag up games which we can play online.
And practise our chess skills, card-playing and scrabble craft for when we can get back on the road playing away.
Chess: And it’s those stone tables we see in parks.
And when we went to New York on a family holiday on the Halloween before Barack Obama’s election…
We ended up playing chess in McArthur Park with a dude who claimed to have been Bobby Fisher’s regular opponent back in the day.
When you’re in New York’s parks do me a favour and look for Alexander Hamilton… see www.nycvb.com.
Now keeping to the subject matter of games you can play by yourself (now keep it clean).
Play your cards right
Cards: After all, the plan is to get out to Las Vegas again this year for the American Travel fair.
And meet up again with the guys and gals on The Strip Strip… the light fantastic and www.lvcva.com.
And some real sports
Now there are any number of real sports you can play.
And as it goes I’m far better on screen than in real life. So here goes…
Golf: I’ve tried my hand at the Old Course in Cannes when I was chastised for not shouting ‘quatre’…. The Boat D’Azur and www.france.fr.
And also shot the neon lights out on a driving range in Vegas.
While I’d perfected my swing by the time I’d got to Paul McGinley’s Golf Academy in Quinta do Lago… Secret Portugal and www.visitportugal.com.
While on the court
Tennis: And it was on that trip to the state-of-the-art complex The Campus that I was put through my paces by Judy Murray.
Yes, tennis, but obviously dancing too. See www.quintadolago.com.
It was obviously the command of the angles I’d learned at that old video game.
Baseball: The 40-minute daily DART train journey from Greystones, Co. Wicklow to Dublin would drag.
And even allowing for the beautiful seaside vistas I would find myself perfecting my home runs.
So that the guys at the Washington Nationals didn’t have to tell me how to grip it and rip it when I got in the batting cage… www:washington.org. And Easy DC.
Our countries have become more assimilated culturally.
But back in the early Eighties I was baffled by the hand-held computer game my New York cousin Eddie was playing.
American Football: Where they only kick the ball to start and restart and to convert.
And where success is measured in territory gained, like warfare, which their players are togged up for.
My old friends at Aer Lingus www.aerlingus.com have been sponsoring a biannual American College Football game at the Aviva Stadium.
Which we (me, the Scary One and Daddy’s Little Girl) attended although I’m not sure it held the wife’s attention as deep into the third quarter she asked..,
‘Are you allowed to throw the ball forward?’
Me? The best bit about American Football is the cheerleaders, and I have my own Bandanettes. See Go West and www.denver.org.
Basketball: Breaking into the sports desk in my first job in Reading in the south of England I covered what were seen as minority sports.
I didn’t get myself to an NBA game on my travels to the US but picked up the talk from the TV on early-morning chat shows and pub talk.
In Memhis who boast the Grizzlies, on my American Trilogy… https://www.deep-south-usa.com and The Promised Land, The Story of the Blues and https://www.deep-south-usa.com.
The puck stops here
Ice Hockey: Early in my sports-writing career I would draw my inspiration from the great writers (and them me).
The doyen of American Sports AJ Liebling opined: ‘I went to a fight and an ice hockey game broke out.’
And so, yes, I flicked the puck on the floor (it was out if season so not iced up) at the Anaheim Ducks https://visitanaheim.org and www.visitcalifornia.com.
But I also charged into a wall, although I didn’t take anyone with me.
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