Eaten Alive By Sydney
February 9, 2010 – 2:49 am | 5 Comments

When the prospect of a shift to Sydney is raised, the doomsayers often rise as well. And they’re nasty! The manner of one’s demise is always different, but the result is always the same – …

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Sydney Innovates Again With The ASPAs

Submitted by on May 6, 2013 – 2:07 pmNo Comment

An accessible personality - Benji Marshall

Sydney has spawned some of mankind’s greatest innovations – pre-paid postage pushed the envelope in 1838, the electronic pacemaker gave heart to many in 1926, the Wiggles influenced generations upon forming in 1991 and Google Maps unfolded during the ‘noughties’ to let us know how close we were to a coffee or a curry.

Now, today, comes Sydney’s latest groundbreaker – the Annual Sports Personality Awards or ASPAs as they will become universally known.

The ASPAs will be held in Sydney for the next three years with the support of Destination NSW and are the first show of their kind allowing sports fans across Australia to nominate and vote for their favourite personalities and sporting moments.

The  21 categories across three genres are predominantly performance-based awards (including Male Sports Personality of the Year, Female Sports Personality of the Year and Team of the Year), but emotive awards (including Comeback of the Year and Standout Moment of the Year) and fun awards (such as Most Fashionable Athlete, Dummy Spit of the Year and Howler of the Year) will be what pole-vaults this event into rarified air.

ASPA CEO Trent Taylor says the awards “are fresh, new and broadly appealing, offering Australia, a nation world-renowned for its passion for sport, the opportunity to be involved in this celebration of all that is great in sport.”

He is on the money. Where else could the drama that is John Singleton versus Gai Waterhouse be recognised at a prestigious awards event? Where else could a Geoff Huegill be formally acknowledged for dropping 30kgs and having a winning smile? And with Olympic gold medals now hard to come by, isn’t Swimming Australia lucky to have Eamon Sullivan and Stephanie Rice as frontrunners to win big in the Most Fashionable Athlete category?

If the Ashes aren’t in the trophy cabinet come awards night on 11 December will Australian Cricket be content with having so many contenders for Dummy Spit of the Year – Shane Watson for storming home from India after being punished for not doing homework, Dan Christian for damaging three dressing rooms after being dismissed in domestic cricket and James Pattinson for unbecoming facial expressions and gesticulations every time he bowls and doesn’t claim a wicket?

Alarmingly or hilariously, depending on how full your beer glass is, the Dummy Spit category will be the most competitive and contentious. Other potential nominees include Bernard Tomic for a rafter of reasons, James “The Weapon of Self-Destruction” Magnussen for being distraught with Olympic silver and NRL coaches Tim “I’m not going quietly” Sheens and Geoff “We are always hard done by” Toovey.

Sports fans, whether fanatical or casual, can offer their nominations for Male Sports Personality of the Year, Female Sports Personality of the Year and Team of the Year on the ASPA Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/TheASPAs, by tweeting @TheASPAs, or via email to nominate@aspas.com.au.

It will be fascinating to see how the public classifies the term Sports Personality. Will polarising athletes like Brisbane Roar striker Besart Berisha, self-proclaimed boxing legend Anthony Mundine, toxic-talking rugby player Quade Cooper and sprinter John Steffensen be seen as having more personality than other sportspeople because of their extroverted and controversial nature?

Or will more conventional hard cases like Benji Marshall and Beau Ryan in league, AFL legend Kevin Sheedy and popular straight-talking and hard-running hurdler Sally Pearson be more the sports fans’ type?

Continuing with the conundrums: Is Black Caviar eligible for Female Sports Personality? Are ‘foreigners’ competing on Australian soil eligible? Because the outrageous tantrum by Poland’s Jerzy Janowicz at the Australian Tennis Open would be a Dummy-Spit contender and the Bulldogs’ English prop James Graham going all Mike Tyson on Billy Slater’s ear during the NRL grand final shapes as a world-class Howler (Billy himself was certainly howling!). Incidentally, will off-field actions such as posing with guns or Pineapple Cruisers and posting the pix on Social Media be deemed more of a Howler than laying down in a rowing boat?

It’s these type of questions, and the ensuing debates, that will make the inaugural ASPAs so entertaining.

And the great news is that up to 5000 fans will have the opportunity to attend the awards at the Hordern Pavilion at Moore Park, where Trent Taylor say they’re going to bring “Australia’s finest athletes, sporting codes, sports fans and brand partners together in one ground-breaking sports entertainment event.”

Music, fashion and celebrity appeal will add even more wow-factor to what is shaping up as a “must-attend” show.

The only way the ASPAs could possibly be more fun is if they secured an MC with a lisp. Hang on, did someone just mention Mike Tyson?

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