During the period of time conveniently referred to as the ‘2013/14 football season’ – a period of time future generations of Manchester United fans would oversee being removed from the public record – United Fan Tom McGhee took it upon himself to re-ignite global interest in ‘Time and Fruit’…
Time and Fruit: Rules and amendments
Initially based around the then unknown Government propaganda of 5-a-day (war was brewing in Europe and this was an attempt to introduce the notion of rationing – it’s hard to believe in our meat-infused modern world that before 1910, the English diet was basically just fruit), the story of Sir Alf Wattlendaub’s meteoric rise to fame as the genius behind T&F is well-documented (see: The Complete History of Time and Fruit RRP £24.99) and any Time and Fruiter could recite it almost verbatim. That said, it never hurts to clarify the rules for the new enthusiast. To this end, the following covers all the major factors that matter to both the amateur play-at-homer and the professional athlete:
1. Players are limited to 5 entries a day in peacetime. You can of course submit more entries but the judges will only consider 5. Many believe it’s therefore better to conjure up 5 winners than the hit-and-hope approach but each to their own; just remember that you have no say on which the judges pick in this case.
2. ALL TIMES/FRUITS PERMITTED* I cannot stress this enough (Although time zones can come into play in the international competitions and certain fruits in certain seasons will carry more weight in a penalty fruit-out)
3. Fruit MUST follow time. None of this fruit then time malarkey that some charlatans (who will be facing legal action) have been attempting – if you can’t handle the fruit, stay out the greengrocers.
4. ONLY Fruits. Self-explanatory really but nearly always the cause of disqualification in modern tournaments, mainly due to the explosion of yoghurt related snacks/desserts in recent years.
NB: At the time of writing, the recent suggestion for the mandatory inclusion of the hashtag on social media is being discussed; whilst many see this as a sell-out move, there can be little doubt this will open T&F to a much broader audience.
*Amended in 1962 – see Complete History for full story.
Scoring and the league format:
Now to the uninitiated, the scoring of Time & Fruit can look almost completely random, even nonsensical. However, true purveyors of the game know this almost definitely not the case – like figure skating, it’s all about execution and nuance: a ‘11.05am Banana’ for example, might not beat a ‘11.07am Banana’ or even a ‘11.05PM Banana’ simply because those two minutes/twelve hours were crucial. Perhaps even more surprising, whilst on paper a ‘4.23 Kumquat and Kiwi’ looks a sure-fire winning move, in actual league/cup competition that might not be the case – someone could eat/post before AND after that to a greater cumulative effect (eg ‘4.22 Satsuma’ followed by a ‘4.24 Mango’ – perfect pincer movement)
The scoring is supervised by 5 judges every 24hrs – all of whom are accredited UETFA officials – and points awarded accordingly: 2 for a win, 1 for a draw, 1/2 for imaginative failures. These points are then tabulated into a league format consisting of two divisions – promotion and relegation are as in any other sport, the only discernible difference being the top 5 from each top division form their country’s National team for World Cups/Euros (for additional reading see The Complete History and Sir Alf’s autobiography ‘Apples and Pears don’t mean Stairs’).