Illustration: Simon Letch
AND SO, after 15 years, the answer to this column's most frequently asked question. What does someone so ''cynical''/''sanctimonious''/''clueless'' like about sport?
Well, let me think. There's …
Roger Federer's backhand.
The first drive down Magnolia Lane.
Paul Gallen playing the full 80.
Warnie. Because of everything. And despite everything.
Adam Scott's grace in defeat.
Adam Scott's grace in victory.
Richie Benaud's pregnant pause.
Black footy boots.
Tim Cahill's granite head.
Usain Bolt walking home in 9.69 seconds.
Lleyton Hewitt at 4-4 in the fifth set.
Leo Barry's hands above the pack.
A Wimbledon ovation for a jolly good shot.
Goal umpires in butchers' coats.
The Tour de France - even the bikes.
A bush horse in the Melbourne Cup.
Ricky Stuart's mind games.
Roy and HG.
The first ball of the summer.
The Road Hole bunker.
Ian Thorpe's feet.
Roy Masters' anecdotes.
Ron Tugnutt, Irina Slutskaya, Misty Hyman, Craphonso Thorpe and other great names.
0-55 at lunch.
Mark Bosnich's laugh.
Mark Webber on the grid.
Coaches wearing Armani suits.
A world title fight for a real world title.
Liz Ellis calling netball.
Drug test excuses - ''I fell on the syringe!''
Clam chowder in the clubhouse at Augusta.
Andre Agassi's memoirs.
The Chicago Cubs' losing streak.
Black Caviar under a hard hold.
Phil ''The Power'' Taylor with an arra' in his hand.
Holing a downhill six-footer.
Kim Clijsters' normality.
World Cup parties.
The Waratahs' eternal quest for respect.
Billy Slater making would-be murderous assassins tackle air.
Adam Goodes' quiet dignity.
Merchant bankers singing a negro spiritual at Twickenham.
Five-hour clay court epics.
''It's all happening …''
Peter Roebuck's prose.
Sally Pearson's relief.
David ''Bumble'' Lloyd's accent.
Jamie Dwyer weaving through the circle.
Black and white stripes.
Scoring for my Main Son's cricket team.
QPR 1, Bristol City 0.
Pat Rafter's lisp.
Kevin Sheedy's elastic mind.
The fair dinkum ''Origin player''.
One-on-one interviews - not sterile press conferences.
Jerseys without advertising.
Roger v Rafa.
Sir Alex chewing gum.
US Open ball boys wearing more bling than the players' wives.
Bart's wry humour.
The one without tattoos.
Les Murray at the World Cup.
The All Blacks' relentless professionalism.
Gus Gould's pre-Origin soliloquy.
The courage of a jockey taking the rails run.
The A-League's Sydney and Melbourne derbies.
Irene Van Dyk monstering defenders.
Serena. Because of everything. And despite everything.
LeBron walking the talk.
Joey Barton's tweets.
Nick Faldo's commentary. Yes, Nick Faldo!
Ice hockey fights.
Beaujolais day at Roland Garros.
A perfectly judged leave by a real opener.
The back nine on Sunday.
A match-winning kick after the siren.
Genuine swing bowling.
Don King's hairstyle.
Gai Waterhouse talking up her runners.
Des Hasler's manic enthusiasm.
The sound from Greg Norman's driver.
The sound from Adam Gilchrist's bat.
Middle stump doing cartwheels.
The referee pointing to the spot, not drawing a square.
Olympic handball, ping-pong, badminton … anything.
The No.8 greyhound.
A beer in the sheds.
Winners thanking their caddies, not their saviour.
''You just dropped the World Cup …''
The hidden depths of Wayne Bennett.
Green Bay Packers on a frozen Lambeau Field.
A brave Carlton defeat.
Tiger Woods. Because of everything. And despite everything.
And the sports section.
NOTE: This is my final column for Fairfax Media. I'm leaving, in this space, a renovator's delight. The Herald's brilliant sports staff will create a mansion.