Nonetheless, hats off to reporter Callum Baird, and his sports editor at The Herald, Donald Cowey, for having the sheer balls to publish this pondering on Taoism after a godawful Scottish Cup match at Greenock earlier this month. Baird called it "90 minutes of the most tedious, excruciating football imaginable". He's clearly not been to Millwall lately.
In fairness, Baird did have a day and a half to consider his Sunday for Monday piece after what sounds like a Saturday afternoon bore draw to end all bore draws. But that period for reflection might have given many others white screen fever, a dread inertia where you find you just have nothing to write.
The drop intro is 56 words long, and the report has, inevitably, gone viral on the interweb. The report quickly became the best-read article on the Herald's website, and it even drew a "huffy" response from the Airdrie chairman, Jim Ballantyne.
In its originally published and printed version, Baird's report read:
There was another rare moment of excitement when Joe McKee was shown a straight red card after he slid in, studs up, on Morton's Luca Gasparotto - on loan from Rangers - and left him writhing on the turf in agony. It perked up the crowd for a moment - something had happened!
That one word "Morton's" meant Ballantyne was able to point out: "It would indeed have been a rare moment if Morton's McKee had been sent off for a shocking challenge on Morton's Gasparotto!! It would clearly have been an epic moment but for the fact that Luca is actually the Airdrieonians player. But why let the facts get in the way of a Chinese history lesson?"
Oh well. Someone went into the online version and cleaned it up. The Herald might want to offer Ballantyne a job as a proof-reader. Remember the days when newspapers had proof-readers?
Thing is, too much of what sports reporting has become is to talk-up what is laid out before us, rather than giving a fair and honest assessment of what is, very often, a pile of poo.
The over-arching influence of televised sport has a lot to answer for. Too rarely will sports commentators ever 'fess up to the paucity of talent, skill or simple excitement in the event being contested before them. They can't: they've paid a small fortune in rights fees.
Baird had no such restraints. His final paragraph of the report (which you can read in its online entirety, including post-subbing correction, here) was possibly even more telling than his first:
"The poor crowd, shellshocked as they wandered out, were left to contemplate these five chilling words: there will be a replay."
Baird, though, was not worried for the crowd, or what passes for a crowd in the lower reaches of Scottish fitba: fewer than 1,500 had squandered their cash to see the match.
No, Baird's real concern was for himself. He told HoldTheFrontPage: “I’m just worried now that I’ll be sent to cover the replay.”
POSTSCRIPT: Morton won the replay this week, 2-0 at Airdrie (that'll pish on Ballantyne's chips), and they now have a Scottish Cup fourth round tie against Spartans, an Edinburgh side who play in the Lowland League, which is sponsored by... the Scottish Sun.
And Baird need not have worried. Someone bylined as Jack Robertson was assigned to cover the replay.