Turning Potential Into Ability

Or not in my case...

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Crowd gutted as Snowball smashes high jump world record

The moment had arrived. Thousands of fans gleefully dipped their grubby hands into coat pockets and emerged clutching the latest in video recording technology. The gun went off; the crowd pressed record and awaited the infamous water jump.

7,000 eager spectators had purchased BUCS tickets at the Olympic Stadium specifically for this: Ben Snowball’s inevitable collision with a wooden obstacle in the 3000m steeplechase.

But it did not pan out the way they expected, and the on duty lifeguard remained unused.

Squelchy feet aside, the only issue emerging from the race was the Sheffield athlete's karate-style jumping that threatened the others runners safety.

Twice his sprawling limbs nearly wrecked the races of athletes who had ambitions of making Monday’s final (a feat Snowball had no need to pursue as he had family plans - including a monster roast dinner - arranged that day.)

In fact so nervous was he about smashing into the immovable hurdles that he leapt high above them, later learning that he had obliterated the high jump world record on 35 separate occasions throughout the ordeal.

Having trained twice for the event, on Mother’s Day and then again in late-April, he knew there was a chance records could tumble – it just didn’t occur that these might not be running related.

It was later confirmed officials were reviewing the race footage and had informed the IAAF of a new (TBC) high jump world standard of 2.89 metres.

Snowball’s race preparation was far from conventional, having previously made the final of a competition to commentate at the event.

You might have heard his voice booming out across the Olympic Stadium as he made a quite mundane 1500m heat into the ‘race of the century’ through his range of vocabulary – using such words as ‘congested’ and ‘tactical’ to drum up a pulsating atmosphere.

Lord Sebastian Coe said: “It was some of the most inspirational commentary I have ever heard, perhaps the most powerful athletics coverage since Channel 4 in Daegu.”

Twenty-five minutes later Snowball was trackside. After doing a 240m warm up, and receiving a stern telling off from a (presumably divorced) official for having his vest un-tucked, he popped his toes behind the start line ready for the gun.

Representing England – in particular the University of Sheffield – he galloped around the track, stealing the show to finish third last in his heat.

The performance ranks among Snowball’s greatest, and was tipped to become etched upon worthwhile pub quizzes across the globe.

Next time you’re asked: “Who came 20th in the second heat of the 3000m men’s steeplechase at the BUCS Outdoor Athletic Championships 2012 at the Olympic Stadium?” you’ll be able to lean in, whisper the answer to your stunned unknowledgeable teammates, and sit there smugly sipping your diet coke (or pepsi) for the remainder of the quiz.

It was a truly remarkable end to another chapter from an athlete who was once referred to as a ‘joke’. Sacrificing social events to visit the nation’s muddiest fields and red ovals has proved a stern task over the years and not produced the rewards he hoped for.

Injuries and laziness have proved too difficult to conquer in recent months and he is expected to announce an extended break from the sport shortly.

The BUCS Championships will also be remembered for one of the most appalling renditions of ‘God Save The Queen’ by the Military Wives. The group hit just three of the 189 notes, ranking it the worst live performance of the 21st century. The group’s conductor was arrested pending investigation.

Watch the debacle at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdMX6UzeHzs...

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Snowball Picked for Olympics (test event)

In a dramatic turn of events it was announced today that future Olympic medallist Ben Snowball had qualified for the BUCS Outdoor Athletics Championships at the Olympic Stadium.

Despite being in the jogging wilderness for the past four years, he scraped through the qualifying procedure and will now feature in the Olympic test event over the 3000m steeplechase.

Bookies are already taking bets on what lap Snowball drowns following an unsuccessful water jump, and BUCS have promised that a lifeguard will be on duty for when the inevitable splash occurs.

The last time he graced the track he infamously tore his shoulder muscle when dipping for the line in a closely contested 4x100m relay, and spectators – keen to cash on an easy £250 from the kind people at You’ve Been Framed – will no doubt have their cameras poised to capture his nightmare.

Holding a mock press conference in the shower Snowball said: “I have no idea how the selectors let me slip through the system. It’s a great stage for me to throw my name into the ring for Sports Personality of the Year 2012, so I’ll be going all out not to come last.”

Sebastian Coe – who is thought to have influenced the selection policy – was delighted at the news. “Although I’ve never heard of Ben, nor do I understand why he is the topic of discussion, I guess you can only be happy for the kid.”

Snowball dismissed the notion that him and Coe weren’t good mates citing that they had once shared a tube carriage at the end of last year. This was later confirmed by CCTV footage at Oxford Circus.

We wish him the very best of luck on his quest to glory.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Varsity wooden spoon dream ruined

It was meant to be the perfect addition to his trophy cabinet, but the Sheffield Varsity 3000m wooden spoon evaded Ben Snowball in a disappointing race for the 22-year-old.

Relying on fitness built through fortnightly 5aside football, he ultimately crumbled to a time not worth mentioning on a public domain.

The six-strong crowd at Sheffield's EIS were treated to quite a dull affair - the only highlight being the fetching blue and purple sock combination Snowball had gambled on.

Realising he had set off in the mid-field, he abandoned his plans of finishing last and set about winning the race. It was a tough ask, his last race over the distance coming over 1000 days previous, and he struggled with the relentless heat that indoor venues are famous for.

Fifteen laps of the dreaded circuit followed and not even Jessica Ennis training next to him was enough to produce a golden performance.

After an impressive three laps at leader pace the doubts started to creep in. 600m gone and already the mind-game of "Where would be the best place to drop out?" was in full swing. However there was no suitable spot so he strolled on.

The race's highlight occurred on the final lap. Bearing down on two Hallam athletes, he produced a sprint finish that blew them away. Unfortunately it turned out they were the fun runners at the back and still had a lap to go, rendering his last ditch energy usage pointless.

Ennis said afterwards: "It was a gutsy effort from my favourite male athlete. Personally, due to his incredible bum, I'd take him to the Olympics."

It remains to be seen whether fictional quotes from Ennis will be enough to secure his place at London 2012 or, more importantly perhaps, a spot in the Sheffield BUCS team.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Crowd brought to tears...

The crowd wept and cheered as he sprinted at 3mph down the home stretch of the Cross Country Championships in Cardiff. It was a sporting comeback on parallel with Schumacher, Armstrong and Thorpe; one that proved that talent never dies.

Ben Snowball finished 163rd in the Mens B (best) race, a remarkable performance from a man described by many as an "unfashionable bloke". Indeed his red hoody, which was worn on all three days of the BUCS trip, did little to dispel this rumour. Critics have since said that his green Jamaica jumper might have been a better option to mix things up a bit.

Shooting off at the back of the field, he impressively negotiated the rugby players making up the numbers and started to overtake the chubby kids in worn down trainers. Many spectators stayed to support him for the first 200m before accepting that watching fat kids and Ben battle it out for 250th wasn't the best way to spend the afternoon.

Feeling very perked up by chants of "Go on Loughborough" he made a breakthrough into the top 200. Luckily for him he completely forgot he was wearing a Sheffield vest, and thought he was popular.

Three laps of jogging later and the sprint finish began. The noise was unbearable (there was a Welsh man on the tannoy describing the day's lost property... the crowds had largely dispersed by this point) and every stride bought the prospect of a medal closer.

Ultimately it turned out that medal ceremonies are stingy affairs, with only the top three athletes receiving awards. Snowball's suggestion of having a podium for the top 163 runners was rejected.

A lot of positives emerged from the weekend. 1) He finished with only a mediocre foot injury, 2) he borrowed four safety pins and failed to return them, and 3) pizza express made him a gluten-free pizza for £3...

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Race to BUCS

After Steven Spielberg bought the film rights to Ben Snowball's life on Wednesday, it was thought the young athlete's life couldn't get better. How wrong we were...

Feeling mildly energetic at 6pm, Snowball - having recently acquired Spotify unlimited - set out on a monster run. A run that would prove his fitness for the greatest show on earth... The BUCS Cross Country Championships.

Three-hundred metres into his journey, all of which had been downhill, cars stopped - beeping their horns in appreciation - as Snowball flew in front of them.

Still he went on, overtaking parked cars and litter bins, only being matched for pace by two young girls accompanied by their granddad who shot past at presumably world record pace.

He reached the 2km mark, a new 2012-best, and courageously stopped to let a woman with her pram squeeze through a small gap on the pavement. She smiled; they shared a moment. Then he ploughed on.

Understandably the intensity of 12-minute miles was taking it's toll and his knee's were in desperate need of an oil. Morale was low as his iPod had died leaving Ellie Goulding's Lights unfinished in the second chorus.

It was then that two youths arrived on the scene. With banter ranging from "yeah, go on fatty" (a remark that I still don't quite understand) to "keep running, d**khead", it was all very amusing. It's nice to see the home fans out in force on a cold Thursday night - you just don't get that level of support outside council estates.

Soon the run ended, 3.88km (via Google Earth) or 17km (via estimation) the distance. Just nine days until BUCS in Cardiff, and with nearly 4km clocked in 2012 who would want to bet against Snowball returning victorious..?

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Snowball's Fitness Dilemma

Ben Snowball is facing a race against the clock to get himself in shape for the forthcoming BUCS Cross Country Championships... as a supporter.

"His energetic style and methods of encouragement require a physique he just doesn't have at the moment," said a spokesman for the amateur footballer.

Upping his training to include three brisk fifteen minute walks to lectures, Snowball has also developed a passion for fighting the sofa.

His university switch from Loughborough to Sheffield has called many to question his allegiance. One insider said Snowball didn't know whether African violet or black and gold was his chosen fashion statement.

"I will be doing my upmost to support both teams," said Snowball at the launch of his new work out DVD - citing the recent Tottenham Hotspur vs Peterborough United FA Cup match as an example of him splitting loyalties.

"I can easily support them both. I managed 16 press ups last night and will complete my set of ten sit ups when I get home [he did five this morning].

Meanwhile, Sebastian Coe supported Snowball's bid to walk the 10km at the BUCS Track & Field Championships at the Olympic Stadium in May.

He said: "If you can't run it then plodding around is the next best thing. I just hope he isn't bullied.

"To be honest I doubt if he could even finish it."

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Snowball Injured in Dip Farce

The nation came to a standstill on Wednesday 8th May when Ben Snowball was rushed to a paramedics van after dipping for the line in a 100m relay.

Chasing down 2004 Olympic gold medallist Mark Lewis-Francis, Snowball clocked a split of 9.98 seconds before his legs went from underneath him when leaning for the line – sending him hurtling face first towards the red turf.

Reports spread across Britain like wildfire that serious damage had been done to the Olympic hopeful’s shoulder, and these were later confirmed as he emerged from Loughborough stadium covered in bandages.

The injuries sustained were so critical that he had to withdraw from the notorious chunder mile, an event in which he had hoped to combine his talents of drinking and… no, just a chance for his drinking talents to be recognised.

Photos have since surfaced of him wearing a sling for support, and a spokesman for the athlete announced, ‘He can’t shower for two weeks.

‘He is very disappointed that his fall didn’t receive more coverage after a Canadian official twice fell spectacularly to steal the limelight at the recent Montreal Grand Prix.’

A minute’s applause was ordered by the Queen to mark the event and highlight the bravery shown by the affected party.

Her majesty, addressing the country behind a veil and putting on a deep voice, said: ‘Ben has long been one of my favourite athletes. If I had to pick an Olympic team now, he would be in it.’

It has also been confirmed that Snowball is a doubt for the Copa Del Boxgrove, Guildford’s finest two-aside garden football event, with a ‘super miracle’ required for him to line up in the July event.

With the 2012 Olympics still firmly in his sights, the 21-year-old has targeted next years BUCS – scheduled at the Olympic stadium – as ideal preparation after he was accepted into Sheffield University for a masters.

The stage is set for the greatest sporting comeback since Camp Nou ’99. We will follow his every move…

Missed the fall? See it here at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4sZ_VC-tfA&feature=BFa&list=FLhSs5o8dLQqw&index=2