Words: James Bird
The BBC Sports Personality of the Year is boring, sorry. Year on year we are blessed with a shortlist of unrivalled merit, a showcase of the most exuberant mavericks to have graced our sporting shores over the previous 12 months, and yet the gongs seem to go to those lacking personality. Only last year, we confirmed the nation’s blandness by awarding it to Andy Murray. And this year, it looks like we may confirm the nation’s blandness by awarding it to Andy Murray.
With our vision blinkered like Zara’s horses, we are omitting the true Sporting Personalities of 2016. So as our screen is once again blessed with Judy Murray watching on from a studio audience, these are the true heroes:
Steve Davis - Snooker Player
Ronnie O’Sullivan totally gets it, the stifling inequality of the SPOTY shortlist team. He’s been flouting his massive personality all over the table for years, yet hasn’t been considered once. Snooker is still the “car boot sale” whilst “the other sports are shopping at Harrods” he says, in a quote that is good enough alone to rocket him to third place.
But Steve Davis, master of considered tone and the long-pot, has been treading tracks to change the plight of snooker’s SPOTY issues. He’s now a superstar DJ. Davis has been spinning tracks on his local Essex radio show and got his big break this year at Glastonbury. Alongside a BBC documentary and a Crack Magazine interview at BLOC Festival this year, Davis is killin’ it. This is why Steve Davis should be crowned the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2016.
The Bottle Flippers at Fulston Manor School
As the long, halcyon days of the 2k16 summer holidays came to an end, an unparallelled danger-inducing craze caught on - the sport of bottle flipping. Kids were throwing partially-filled plastic bottles from their hands to the pavement, onto window ledges and even garden fences in the hope that they would land upright. And jeez, despite the obvious dangers, could they do it.
The sportsmen and women at Fulston Manor School got so good at their chosen path that, like all, anarchic factions, it just had to banned. The headteacher, Alan Brookes sent a letter to parents which cried: "We have suspended the taking of water bottles around the site in order to avoid problems created by litter, messing about in lessons and pupils indulging in the current craze of flipping bottles with all the intended and unintended consequences this produces.” It’s not an indulgence though, it’s a way of life. And this is why The Bottle Flippers at Fulston Manor school should be crowned the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2016.
Hope Smith - World Worm Charming Champion 2016
Willaston youngster Hope Smith won the World Worm Charming Championships at the sixth attempt back in June. Smith gathered 272 worms in 30 minutes from her 3mx3m square plot fending off competitors from Holland, India and the Philippines in the process. The Championships is in its 37th year, and its record is held by Hope’s big sister Sophie - who, back in 2009, charmed 567 worms from her plot. Amateurs, this family quite simply are not.
Smith, seven years old, exclaimed “I am really happy to win” in her post-match interview with Nantwich local news. Now, just imagine how really happy to win Hope would be to win this year’s SPOTY. This is why Hope Smith should be crowned the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2016.
Lianne Fisher - Record Breaking Pancake Racer
The Olney Pancake Day Race is one of the oldest sporting events on the calendar, with a legacy stretching back over 560 years and a determined spirit that led to its continuation throughout The War of the Roses. The race starts at 11.55am every year and involves a sprint race whilst carrying a frying pan with a pancake flopped inside.
This year, Lianne Fisher broke the course record by recording an incredible time of 55.02 seconds. In keeping with tradition, Lianne ended the race by knocking on the door of the local Parish Church with her frying pan, where Reverend Claire Wood presented her with her prizes. Lianne adheres tradition whilst at the same time smashing its records to pieces, and this is why Lianne Fisher should be crowned the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2016.
Ahmed Ali - Pokemon Go Master
The most impressive newcomer to the sporting calendar this year was the summer-long Pokemon Go tournament. Millions tuned in to witness what was an all-encompassing festival of the most talented wanderers on the planet, and nobody was left disappointed.
Most impressive was Ahmed Ali. Ali, from Forest Gate, was the first competitor in the UK to catch all 145 Pokemon on the game - even making a trip to the USA to find those which were most elusive. Upon his Pokemon completion, Ali’s unappreciative “parents were not happy. My dad thought I was wasting my time”. Showing a two fingered Pokedex salute of triumph to the snarling face of adversity - this is why Ahmed Ali should be crowned the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2016.
This summer’s Euro 2016 tournament was wrought with embarrassment for the English football team and its supporters. The team played like a group of Year 9s with a despondent supply teacher in Roy Hodgson just not quite sure how or where to separate them to. And the fans’ behavior in Marseilles was further proof of how the country feels about the rest of Europe.
Scotland weren’t even at the Euros, but here they are, the lads imitating Iceland’s Viking clap outside the country’s namesake shop before attending a game at Wembley that they were almost certain to lose. A mocking clap in the face of likely defeat is a clap of defiance - and this is why Scotland Fans should be crowned the BBC Sports Personalities of the Year.
Ed Balls - Strictly Come Dancing Competitor
A television show with the stagnancy of summer garden pond, Strictly Come Dancing was frothed up by a large man who has a day named after him because of a mistaken tweet. Ed Balls moved around the dancefloor with the exuberance of a kitten’s first Christmas, and had a level of enthusiasm more in tune with a Blue Peter presenter than a New Labour politician.
In a year where politicians have solidified their status as the playground bullies with dads who have offices, cars and mistresses - Balls made politics look plain silly for a bit. With a heavy-headed nod to Torvill and Dean’s graceful 1984 triumph, Ed Balls should be crowned the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2016.
Peterborough United’s Michael Bostwick
Michael Bostwick is a 28 year old English midfielder who has played 160 times for Peterborough United since joining from Stevenage Borough in 2012. Bostwick has a brilliant shot, and regularly scores from long-range in open play and from dead ball situations. He has played once for the England C team, a friendly in 2008 against Italy in Benevento.
Last week though, Bostwick (wearing Peterborough’s bright yellow neon kit) collected the ball in the middle of the park with acres of space and clocks of seconds to make a decision. Glancing to his left, Bostwick spots another bright yellow neon kit and caresses a perfectly weighted throughball to the man wearing it. Unfortunately, the man wearing it turned out to be a steward who simply didn’t anticipate the pass. Bostwick looked a bit silly, like someone who forgets it’s non-uniform day at school, but even more of a fool was the steward. Passes dripping with such personality and accuracy demand formidable anticipation, something he simply did not have. But we, the voting public, can change Bostwick’s pass forever. And this is why Michael Bostwick should be crowned the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2016.
Adrian from Coventry - New World Gurning Champion
Adrian from Coventry saw off incredibly tough competition in the shape of 16-time-winner Tommy Mattinson at the 759th Egremont Crab Fair to win the World Gurning Championship. Contestants of the competition have to force their head through a horse collar and distort their face into a shape more often seen at 5am in converted Stoke Newington living rooms. It’s weird and very great.
Adrian from Coventry, who drives up from Coventry every year “never thought it would happen” and was enthused “to beat such legends” of the circuit. Adrian doesn’t want to stop there, and has eyes on beating Mattinson again next year. This is why Adrian from Coventry should be crowned the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2016.