Football and non-football fans will be glued to their TV screens this Saturday evening as Match of the Day returns for the start of the new Premier League season. The reason is something which happened in the first few weeks of last season when 5000-to-1 outsiders, Leicester City, found themselves top of the table. At the time this was seen as something which can happen in the early weeks of the season and everyone assumed that order will quickly be restored by the big spenders taking their places at the top. When Leicester-fan Gary Lineker said at the time that he would present the first Match of the Day show of the new season in his underpants if Leicester become Premier League Champions, everyone accepted it as one of those throw-away remarks that people say sometimes to illustrate just how improbable a scenario is. 10 months later and the nation is waiting to see if Gary Lineker will deliver on his promise.
At the weekend the manager of the Herts Under-17 baseball team, Andrew Fulford, found himself in a similar predicament. A few weeks ago, in an effort to give his players an incentive, he promised to shave his beard if they manage to throw two balls into a bucket all the way from centerfield. A bookmaker would probably give such an outcome odds of around 5000-to-1, so, like Gary Lineker, Fulford must have felt that the odds are on his side. The improbable happened and on Saturday his players were looking forward to shaving his beard as the main event of a barbeque party at Grovehill Ballpark.
Coach Fulford had written off his beard but in an effort to salvage at least his sideburns, he included a gentle warning for his players in one of his weekly emails. The message read: ”I wasn’t sure if we won the Little League World Series or if Babe Ruth got resurrected, but being able to shave my beard got you guys a little excited. As agreed, you guys threw 2 balls into the bucket from centerfield, and now my beard is in your fragile little hands. If you guys even get close to my sideburns, you’ll be doing 100 push-ups while you eat your hot dogs.”
We understand that, while the sideburns are still intact, the beard is gone. Gary Lineker, over to you.