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Vernon Lewis

Bowlers, Beware The Hidden Dangers Of Sports Research!

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1 Not allowed! Not allowed!



According to Raymond I should be exploring the outer reaches of sporting research in my blog. He makes it sound a bit like an episode of Star Trek. Apparently sports psychology is the future for aspiring champions like Raymond. He even quoted a Guinness advert that tells everyone to ‘believe’ (he didn’t say ‘believe what’ mind). After a few pints of Guinness most of our members would probably believe anything you told them with the exception of Horizontal Herbie who prefers to collapse in a heap. Herbie would most likely not be selected to take part in the Guinness advert Raymond was talking about. See what you think:



What’s that all about then? By the looks of him he must have had a few pints of Guinness before the game started. Can’t blame him mind! Only the Irish could invent a game that involves running around a pitch trying to decapitate every body in sight with clubs. They only chuck a ball on the field to make it look legal, reminds me of our local derby with Gelligalled. At least he made it back to the pub on his feet and the dog didn’t get run over.

I did think of suggesting a trip around the Guinness Brewery but Raymond put me off when he showed me another YouTube video. If this bloke Conan’s experience is anything to go by we could have a riot on our hands before we got half way round.



Didn’t sound very Irish to me, but that’s the trouble with our Celtic cousins, too gullible for their own good. Apart from his dodgy accent he didn’t look anything like Conan the Barbarian and I should know I’ve seen it seven times. I bet profits took a right hammering before they managed to get him out of the building. At least Herbie would have had the decency to collapse long before then.

Raymond wanted me to talk about the book ‘In The Zone’. He said there’s a bit in there I should study very carefully. It’s called the ‘Karpman Drama Triangle’. I told him straight, “Raymond,” I said, “if I wanted to ponce about on the stage I’d join the Mid Rhondda Operatic Society.” Would I heck, not after what happened to one of our ex-members Cyril who was forced to join by his overbearing wife. The first production Cyril acted in was ‘The Desert Song’. He was one of the Riffs who had to form a chorus as the Red Shadow sang his song. All the Riffs wore dressing gowns, except for Cyril who wore his Captain Jack Sparrow costume, with tea towels draped over their heads. You could spot Cyril a mile off he had ‘Souvenir from Tenby’ written all over his. They looked more like Ruffs than Riffs. All of us in the front row burst out laughing so loud the Red Shadow took umbrage and we were escorted out by the ushers.



Cyril kept his head down for a few weeks but worse was to follow. The next production was ‘South Pacific’ and this time Cyril was to play a G.I. At the end he would stride onto the stage and hoist a chest over his shoulder before marching off. He did it with great gusto. It beat tea towels and dressing gowns any day of the week. We managed to get tickets for the last night. The show had been a great success and Cyril strutted onto the stage like a proud peacock to perform his little cameo. I swear he was looking at us and smirking smugly as he gripped the chest and hoisted it onto his shoulders. Only thing was it didn’t hoist.

Try as he might Cyril couldn’t budge the chest. Nobody laughed, we were all gruesomely transfixed by Cyril’s purple face and bulging eyes. The veins on his neck began to stand out like ship’s rope and it was a toss up which would burst first. I was relieved we didn’t have front row seats this time. Like a clip from ‘The World’s Strongest Man’ we watched Cyril drag the chest inch by painful inch across the stage as the cast appeared and took their bow. He had almost reached the wings when he valiantly decided to make one last supreme effort to lift the chest onto his shoulder. You could hear the tearing sound from the back of the theatre. It was almost as loud as Cyril’s scream. It was a shame really because he wasn’t a bad lead. Nobody ever owned up to filling the chest with rocks and Cyril never played for us again. I see him about now and then but every time I say hello he glares and limps off without saying a word, very temperamental these theatrical types.

There’s only three people in the ‘Karpman Drama Triangle’, a Victim, a Persecutor, and a Rescuer so it can’t be much of a drama and what it’s got to do with bowls is beyond me. I tried reading a bit but to be honest I’d rather read Rowlands’ book and that’s saying something! I decided not to muck about with the mental side of the game after the incident with Mog that got us suspended from the Cynon Valley League for a season. That was a rum do I can tell you.

Mog looks like a geriatric Beatle with Roy Orbison’s glasses just back from a funeral. He’s never had much luck with the women and he’s got a nervous stammer so I usually finish his sentences for him. That’s the kind of bloke I am. Anyway, someone on the Committee suggested we needed to toughen up our mental attitude. You could tell he’d been talking to Raymond, probably read that bleeding book as well. Mog was held up as a prime example and nobody could argue really. None of us fancied reading Raymond’s book so we all perked up when our Secretary suggested we employ the services of a hypnotist. Problem was we didn’t have any money in the kitty. That was when Terry had his bright idea.

Looking back it wasn’t all Terry’s fault. He’s almost deaf and obviously didn’t quite get the drift of what we were talking about. When he heard the word hypnotist he perked up no end, said he knew a talented hypnotist who needed to get some practice and was looking for volunteers. The vote was unanimous in favour of volunteering Mog. If Terry’s hypnotist could work the oracle with Mog we’d all be up for it. We were so enthusiastic and keen to get the sessions underway that not one of us gave a thought to the fact that Terry was also entertainment secretary of the local social club. Big mistake!

The sessions went on for three weeks behind closed doors. Mog emerged a little paler but in every other respect we could not detect any real difference. Still the proof was in the pudding and as match day approached we could hardly contain our excitement.
After the first three ends a sense of anti-climax set in like a cold damp mist. Mog was his usual drippy indecisive self and I was getting a sore throat from shouting at him. By the fifth end I was at the end of my tether. We were three shots down, nothing unusual there, and nothing was going our way. I asked Mog what shot should I play. He hovered over the head like a nervous dragonfly and my patience finally snapped. “For God’s sake get on with it man!” I shouted. He just looked up blankly and I smacked my hands together to try and get some kind of response.

We found out later that clapping loudly was the trigger Marvin the Marvellous, our hypnotist’s stage name, favoured in his act. His piece de resistance was to convince his subject he was General Custer at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. The poor bloke would be stranded alone on the stage desperately fighting off hordes of imaginary Sioux warriors with his imaginary sabre. Before the poor beggar collapsed with fatigue Marvin would creep up behind him and chop him between the shoulder blades with his hand. Convinced he had been struck down by a hostile tomahawk ‘General Custer’ would drop to his knees and the battle was over. Marvin would click his fingers and the bemused individual would struggle to his feet and stare out into a crowd of drunken cheering faces.



As soon as I clapped my hands Mog stood suddenly upright and glanced around like a startled meerkat. Grabbing hold of a steel bowl lifter he twirled it around his head grimacing wildly like one of those berserk Irish hurlers.
“You’ll never, ooo you know, take me alive you filthy savages,” he yelled as he rampaged across the green scattering team mates and opposition in every direction. A lucky few made it to the sanctuary of the club house securing the doors firmly behind them while ignoring the cries and pleas of their desperate compatriots who hammered on the doors in vain. It was like a scene from the Titanic.

Little groups of bowlers huddled together for mutual protection as Mog galloped around the green like a man possessed. A few of the less nimble bowlers were gingerly rubbing their calves or clutching bruised posteriors. As luck would have it one of the phantom Sioux warriors must have shot Mog’s phantom horse from underneath him because he fell to the ground cursing. Quick as a flash he was up on one knee aiming his pistol frenetically at anything that did or didn’t move. “Eat my lead,” he cried which was preferable to being attacked with a stainless steel bowl lifter. I realised we had to do something quickly before his ammunition ran out.

“Terry”, I cried “get hold of Marvin on your mobile.

“He’s in Benidorm,” replied Terry.

It must have been one of the opposition who phoned the police. I never knew we had so many in South Wales. They arrived in squad cars and vans with dog handlers ready to leap into the fray. There was even a helicopter hovering above the green but to be honest I think the SWAT team was a bit over the top. Fair play to Mog he put up a brave fight but trying to beat off Crazy Horse and the Sioux nation as well as the South Wales Constabulary proved a little beyond him. Four burly officers eventually wrestled him to the ground. During the struggle one of them must have struck him between the shoulder blades because he went limp as though he’d been hit over the head with a tomahawk.

Mog woke up in a police cell four hours later and couldn’t remember a thing. In the end the detectives interviewing him gave up and released him on bail. The match was abandoned and not one of the opposition bowlers stayed for tea. We were left with piles of tuna and egg sandwiches that nobody wanted. There wasn’t even a wedding or a funeral we could donate them to. So, everything considered, I think I’ll leave exploring the outer reaches of sporting research to Captain Kirk and give Guinness a ring instead. I think they’d make brilliant sponsors.
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Updated 27-03-2015 at 08:54 PM by Vernon Lewis

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