Thursday, July 16, 2015

Dr. Mabongo Wins Dave Seville Award

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive
For the third year in a row, Dr. Mabongo, the German ski team's witch doctor, has won the prestigious Dave Seville Witch Doctor of the Year award. Unlike previous years, this result was surprising and rather controversial. French ski team witch doctor, Dr. Djibuku, seemed to be the favorite because of the performance of the French men last season. Dr. Djibuku was the runner-up, as he has been the past two years. Here to talk with us about Dr. Mabongo's win are two people: our very own Answer Man, who is really part of our intrepid research team, and John Perkins, who trains aspiring witch doctors in Canada. Let's find out what they have to say.
BB: How close was the vote this year?
Answer Man: The top three were very close. Dr. Mabongo won the award by one vote over Dr. Djibuku, and the Stone of Doom was in third place by one vote. Grandma Jansrud and Dr. Mueller-Wohlfahrt were far behind.
BB: That is very interesting. An inanimate object that nobody has ever seen ended up in third place. If the Naughty Ninja Stone of Doom had won, how would it have come up to the podium to receive its award?
Answer Man: Someone would have carried it.
BB: How would we have known that it was the real Stone if nobody has ever seen it?
Answer Man: That will remain a mystery, at least until the next time it is nominated for the Seville Award. It is funny that we have seen more of Pluto than we have of the Stone of Doom.
BB: Back to Dr. Mabongo winning the Seville Award for the third year in a row. A lot of people felt that Dr. Djibuku should have won.
Perkins: The judges obviously disagree or Dr. Djibuku would have won.
Answer Man: Dr. Djibuku appeared to be the clear favorite based on the performances of the French men last season. Alexis Pinturault and Guillermo Fayed had good seasons, Jean-Baptistse Grange won a gold medal in Vail, and Julien Lizeroux pulled off a season-ending front flip for the season's best artistry. On the German side, Stefan Luitz got injured early in the season and Felix Neureuther choked in finals to give the slalom globe to Marcel Hirscher. That should have worked against Dr. Mabongo. But Linus Strasser did establish himself as one to watch next season.
BB: Let's be fair to Felix. He was in pain from a herniated disk at World Cup finals. Mr. Perkins, could Felix's untimely back problem been the result of an opposing witch doctor's curse?
Perkins: Witch doctors should not be throwing curses to injure opposing racers. They are hired by ski teams for mental training. Felix's back problems were not caused by an opposing witch doctor. The timing of losing the slalom globe in finals was bad luck and not from a witch doctor's curse. The only time that a team was under an opposing witch doctor's curse was Sweden two seasons ago. But that was its punishment for kidnapping Dr. Mabongo in Schladming.
BB: Mr. Perkins, were you part of the committee who voted for the witch doctor of the year?
Perkins: No.
BB: Who nominates the witch doctors and then votes for them?
Perkins: There is a special committee made up of witch doctors, professors of witch doctoring, and sports journalists. There are a total of 100 who do the voting.
BB: Football player Lionel Messi wins the Best Player awards in major tournaments. Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi alternate winning the Ballon d'Or for the Footballer of the Year. Will Dr. Mabongo win the Seville Award every year?
Answer Man: It does seem like Dr. Mabongo is the only winner of this award for now. In time someone else will win it.
BB: What does Dr. Djibuku have to do to win the Seville Award?
Answer Man: One would think that he should have won the award for the 2013 season, when he used his creativity and brought Gauthier de Tessieres to Schladming on a magic flying carpet (see this story). If that didn't do it, then nothing would. I believe that French racers will have to win all of the globes for Dr. Djibuku to win the award.
Perkins: I don't believe that. The vote was very close, which means that Dr. Djibuku has a very good chance of winning the award next year.
BB: We shall see. On another note, what does Marcel Hirscher have to do to win the Austrian Sportsman of the Year award? He lost to a football player two years in a row.
Answer Man: Marcel has a very good chance of winning this year. He won the overall globe four years in a row and won two small globes. The football player, David Alaba, got injured right after winning the award. A lot of ski racing fans say that was karma biting back.
BB: It has been an Austrian tradition for a ski racer or jumper to be Sportsman of the Year. Do you think that Alaba beating Marcel Hirscher for the award was staged by Peter Schroecksnadel?
Answer Man: That could be. Herr Schroecksnadel did his best to get Fritz Dopfer back from the Germans. He could have bribed the people who select the Austrian Sportsman of the Year to vote for someone who plays Germany's national sport for a German club. Austrian ski racing fans would be up in arms and would put even more pressure on the Austrian Ski Federation to get Fritz Dopfer back in order to have a winner from Austria's national sport. Once Fritz was back in Austria, then a ski racer would again become Sportsman of the Year.
BB: I thought the whole matter of getting Fritz Dopfer back was settled.
Answer Man: It was. But now that Mario Matt has retired, there are rumors that the Austrian Ski Federation is making new moves to win Fritz back.
BB: I see. So until Fritz decides to quit the German team and race again for Austria, a football player will be Sportsman of the Year?
Answer Man: That is possible.
BB: David Alaba was out the whole season with an injury. Do you think he will still win the Austrian Sportsman of the Year award for 2015?
Answer Man: I think so. Look at historical trends. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo alternate winning the Ballon d'Or. Messi also wins the Player of the Tournament award in every tournament where Argentina plays. Herr Alaba has won the Austrian Sportsman of the Year for two years in a row, which could make him hard to beat even with his injury.
Perkins: Excuse me, but what do the Austrian Sportsman of the Year Award or the Ballon d'Or have to do with the Witch Doctor of the Year Award?
Answer Man: In the past few years, both awards have had close and controversial results. The same people win those awards year after year.
BB: Do either of you think that the Austrian women's ski team will hire a witch doctor?
Answer Man: Of course not! Peter Schroecksnadel is doing a good enough job of putting curses on his own skiers. Austria doesn't need an outside witch doctor.
BB: Mr. Perkins, just out of curiosity, what do people need to do to become witch doctors? Also, why Canada?
Perkins: If you're not fortunate enough to be the first-born son of a witch doctor, you can come to Canada to train. You take courses in spells, voodoo, herbs, and potions. Canada has a high number of people who have an interest in alternative medicine. It is the perfect place to train witch doctors. These days you don't need to be from the Congo or a remote island to be a witch doctor.
BB: I see. Are there any Canadian-trained witch doctors who are part of a ski team?
Perkins: Not now. All of the national ski team witch doctors are from various African countries, though there are plenty of Canadian trainees who would love to work for a ski team. Drs. Mabongo and Djibuku are from the Congo.
BB: Getting back to the Dave Seville Award...Last year a dead person was nominated for the award. This year a rock was one of the nominees. Do you think there will be any unusual nominees next year like someone's pet chicken?
Answer Man: You never know. The element of surprise is the best part of the Seville Award. You cannot automatically predict who will be nominated, except for Drs. Mabongo and Djibuku.
BB: Well, it looks like we are out of time. I guess we'll have to wait until next year to find out who the nominees are. Until then, we at the Blickbild congratulate Dr. Mabongo on his third Dave Seville Award. And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive interview.

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Friday, July 3, 2015

Benni and Marlies and Baby Makes Three

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

Alpine skiing's power couple, Benjamin Raich and Marlies Schild, who got married last April, are now expecting a baby in the fall. We would not normally publish this story because this is old news that the others have already reported. But it took a long time for our intrepid reporter based in Austria to dig his way out of a salt mine to find out about this wonderful event. Let's not even think about how he got there. Anyway, our hard-working journalist scored an interview with Benni and Marlies about their upcoming parenthood. Let's find out what they have to say.

BB: Congratulations on your upcoming parenthood. Is the baby a boy or girl?
Benni: You'll find out when the rest of the world does. 
BB: Our intrepid research team did a lot of calculating, reading tea leaves, and gazing into a crystal ball. They figured out that there is a 50% chance that you are having a boy. 
Marlies: That means that there is also a 50% chance that the baby is a girl. 
BB: That's true if the baby is human. But if the baby was a space alien, there could be a different probability of it being a boy or girl. 
Marlies: I have had some ultrasounds already and the baby looks human to me.
Benni: Is there something that I need to know? People say that Marcel Hirscher is from another planet. Have you and Marcel been---
Marlies: Of course not! This baby is yours and is also 100% human. 
BB: Oh dear! I didn't mean to start any trouble. I'm sure that your baby is perfectly human and not half space alien. We also noticed that you got married after Marlies conceived. Did you get married so that the baby can inherit your lands and won't be illegitimate?
Benni: This isn't the 15th century or Game of Thrones! The timing was right to get married. 
Marlies: I second what Benni said. It's not like we're royalty and have to follow strict rules about inheritance. 
BB: Marlies, you are the Slalom Queen, which is skiing royalty. Therefore, you do need to follow rules about inheritance. If this baby is a girl, and the next one is a boy, will the boy get all of your lands while the girl gets married off with Marlies' schnitzel recipe as part of her dowry?
Marlies: Excuse me, but what century are you living in? I think all of the stale air in the salt mine affected your brain. If we have more than one child, they will inherit equally and we won't need to provide a dowry for any daughters. Even the British royal family made girls equal to boys for inheriting titles and land.
Benni: I think that if we have a daughter, and she gets married, she should get my mother's schnitzel recipe.
Marlies: Let's not get started about your mother's schnitzel. (see this story)
Benni: You really need to be more open-minded about Mum's schnitzel. But of course yours is also very good. 
BB: Time out! Every child thinks that his mother makes the best schnitzel. Your children will think that Marlies' schnitzel is the world's best, even if you don't. Onto another subject...(looking at Marlies) In our previous interview, you talked about how Benni can leave the toilet seat up two days a week. If the baby is a boy, will Benni and your son have more days when the toilet seat can stay up?
Benni: What a great idea! If there are two men in the house, we will be a majority and we all know that the majority rules.
Marlies: Not so fast! The baby will be in diapers for at least two years, so the rules about the toilet seat will stay as they are for now. 
BB: That sounds fair. Once the baby can walk, will you introduce him or her to skiing?
Benni: I can't believe that you asked that question. Of course we will. We are Austrian!
BB: If your baby is a girl, will she be on the same team as Hermann Maier's daughters?
Marlies: That would be fun to see the next generation of Raichs and Maiers skiing together for Austria! 
BB: If the baby is a boy, he could compete against Ivica Kostelic's son. There could be another generation of ski racers on Ante Kostelic courses. 
Benni: If Ante Kostelic is going to set courses for his grandson, maybe our son should go into the speed disciplines.
Marlies: I prefer that he or she does the technical disciplines. If it's a boy, Benni can teach him all about Ante Kostelic and his crazy courses.
BB: Of course you want your child to ski because you are Austrian. I'm sure that you also want him or her to be a racer like both of you. But don't you think that you are setting your child up for an inferiority complex? You have so many Olympic and World Championship medals, as well as Crystal globes. Your child could feel that he or she could never measure up to you. The kid may even rebel and want to become a nuclear physicist instead of a ski racer.
Marlies: We want our child to ski for the enjoyment of it. If he or she wants to be a racer, I think that Benni and I are the best parents to help him or her. We have many years of racing experience at all levels. Our child would get the benefit of our experience.
Benni: I even bought a little Austrian racing suit for the baby. He will know his destiny from birth!
BB: Yes, you have the experience and the trophies to match. But don't you think it would be better if you had been mediocre racers so that you could make your child into a record-obsessed superstar because you were using him or her to achieve your failed dreams?
Benni: That is absurd! Marlies and I are both proud of our achievements. I agree with Marlies about our baby getting the benefit of our experience. That's something that most parents can't give their children when they start racing. 
BB:  Let's say that even with your encouragement, your child does not have what it takes to be a top ski racer. Suppose that his or her aptitude was football, music, or mathematics. Would you love or accept him even if he didn't become a ski racer?
Benni: Is this a trick question?
Marlies: Of course we would! 
Benni: Stop and think for a minute. Our baby has ski racing in his genes and Marlies and I will provide an ideal environment in which he can race. He will be on skis before he can even walk. Why would he be anything else? Our baby is Austrian and Austrians ski and race. 
BB: Most Austrians don't end up becoming famous ski racers. Yet their parents still love them despite that. And I'm not just referring to the Viennese. Mozart wasn't a ski racer, yet he is a world-famous and beloved Austrian. David Alaba plays football (that's soccer to our North American readers) and was Austrian Sportsman of the Year for the past two years.
Benni: Back in Mozart's day, Austrians were musicians and composers. Times have changed and now they are ski racers. I don't know how a football player became Sportsman of the Year two years in a row. At least they got it right with Anna Fenninger being Sportswoman of the Year.
Marlies: Are you saying that you would not love our baby if she wasn't a ski racer?
Benni: No, of course not. I will love our baby even if he doesn't become a ski racer.
BB: Good save, Benni. Marlies, will you hold your baby up for the cameras at Benni's races?
Marlies: Why would I do that?
BB: Bode Miller's wife holds her stepkids up for the TV cameras. His fans love when she does it.
Marlies: I don't think you want to know what we Europeans think of that. But no, I won't be shoving my baby in front of the TV cameras at races. Benni deserves the spotlight at races, not the baby.
BB: Very good point. Well, it looks like we are out of time. Benni, on behalf of everyone at the Boston Blickbild, I want to wish you a successful season. I also hope that you two have a healthy baby. And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive interview.

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