THE twleve days of Christmas brought someone's true love many and varied gifts each day but it seems that the same period of time can do wonders for a man's fielding.
Twelve days after being told that he won't play for Australia until his fielding improves, Phil Jacques has obviously made an amazing transformation from a dud to a genius as his selection in the one-day squad to replace Ricky Ponting was announced.
The amount of work Jaques has put in on the training track must be enormous if he's now considered competent enough to build on his one international appearance.
Like the twelve days of Christmas, I'm sure Jacques could come up with a song about his exhausting fielding regime that he's undertaken.
Something along the lines of:
On the twelfth day of practice my fielding coach gave me to me:
12 outfield catches, 11 words for sledging,
10 nicknames for 'Gilly', 9 underarm shots,
8 pieces of gum, 7 relayed throws, 6 hours of sprinting.
5 Direct Hits.
4 slips catches, 3 bounce throws, 2 diving saves,
And a plane ticket to play the 'Saffies'.
n I'M SORRY to inform you of this Damir Dokic but the mantle of craziest parent in sport has been taken away from you.
You've may have complained about the price of a salmon platter at Flushing Meadow, said the draw was rigged at Flinders Park, called officials 'Nazi's' at Birmingham as well as carried on with drunken buffoonery at Wimbledon.
That's a rap sheet that Tony Soprano would be proud of but it's nothing compared to the actions of Christophe Fauviau.
The Frenchman has two children in the pro tennis ranks, son Maxime and daughter Valentine, and he has gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure that his children become a success.
Fauviau has gone to trial accused of drugging the opponents of his children.
He is suspected of lacing the drinks of his children's opponents with a drug which made them feel groggy.
But as they say in the Demtel ads 'Wait there's more'.
The over-bearing parent faces up to 20 years in jail for 'premeditated administration of a harmful substance that caused death without the intention to do so' after one of the players that was allegedly drugged died in a car accident after he fell asleep behind the wheel.
When you consider that the greatest crime Damir Dokic ever committed was bagging Australian's propensity for indulging in a sausage sandwich or two on a hot summer's day, by comparison, Dokic isn't a bad fella.
While we can laugh and joke about the ugly parent syndrome, it does raise a very important question and one that we can all think about in this ever increasing corporate world.
Can a sport get to a stage where there is so much financial reward for success that it ceases to become a sport?