Outside Edge (21/03/10)

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The Independent Online

Adolf Hitler was a cricket fan – briefly – according to John Simpson's new book 'Unreliable Sources'. He cites a 1930 article in the 'Mirror' by Nazi sympathiser Oliver Locker-Lampson MP claiming that while Hitler recuperated from wounds in World War One, he put together a team to play British PoWs. But he thought players should not wear pads, which were "unmanly and un-German", and the ball had to be bigger and harder. He might have preferred another English pastime, Cooper's Hill cheese-rolling in Gloucester, where people break bones chasing a cheese down a steep slope. It had to be cancelled due to concerns about crowd safety; 15,000 came last year. Bring on the Edam-busters.


Annual salary offered by Proactol to test their weight-loss product. They seek a "professional couch potato" who will eat an extra 400 calories of junk food every day, and they add: "Every day will feel like a holiday." Fat chance, surely?

Class warfare of the week

As if it wasn't bad enough that those dreaded end-of-term reports will soon include fitness assessments, ice cream vans have been banned from plying their trade outside schools in west London by Hillingdon Council in order to "encourage healthier eating habits". Los Angeles teacher Stephen Wesley may have come up with a way to combat obesity among the young: he started a "fight club" at the Camp Holton juvenile probation facility after pupils kept beating each other up. There were prescribed areas of the classroom for bouts, which lasted for a set period. Mister Wesley was charged with child endangerment, but at least the bullies learnt to count to 10. Saved by the bell? No sir.

Good week for

Veronica Trueman, after a bronze statue of her late husband, England fast bowler Fred, was unveiled in Skipton, Yorkshire... Katie Spotz, of Ohio, became the youngest to row solo across the Atlantic aged 22, after just one 40-mile practice – beating 23-year-old Briton Oliver Hicks' effort in 2005... and Jamie Brittain, a ball collector at Wrekin Golf Club, Telford, hit two holes-in-one during the same round, having never done it before.

Bad week for

Manny Pacquiao, boxing champ had to cancel his pop concert today in Hawaii after only 603 tickets were sold for the 8,500-capacity venue... Jerry Vyse, Manchester student was sacked from his job in a food kiosk at Old Trafford for wearing the green-and-gold scarf of the anti-Glazer campaign... and Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi, traded insults at an exhibition match to raise funds for Haiti earthquake victims.

Crocked athletes of the week

We love a golf-and-crocodiles story, but they rarely have a happy ending. Hong Kee Siong fought for six years to get compensation for the 38 stitches in his left leg and the post-traumatic stress resulting from stepping on a croc that he thought was a log at Malaysia's A'Famosa course. The club at last agreed to pay out £8,500. Hong should avoid Freestyle Alligator Wrestling Competitions, which are being revived by the marsh-dwelling Seminole Indian tribe of South Florida. Contestants are given 10 minutes to retrieve the eight-footer from a water hole, flip him on to his back and perform tricks such as placing their head in his mouth. And as with golf, you want to avoid the cut.