Posts Tagged ‘football’

Things football commentators say

It’s Monday and my brain is tired so I’ve just got a short one consisting of some things I heard commentators say about the football on Saturday. Now, I know football is totally outside of my usual TV watching regime (which consists solely of food programmes) so it may be that I’m just not used to the things they say but the following is genuinely ridiculous. What is a ‘very off’ when it’s at home?

“O! Excellent! He’s done a brilliant job this evening.  He was born in the same hospital as David Beckham.”

“He’s been great. We see him leave the pitch as he’s being substituted. The only way is Essex.”

“I’m not sure I can quite stand it being so exciting.  But it is exciting.”

“It’s been a riveting game from the very off.”

“It really is such a simple game and such an exquisite game when simple football is played exquisitely.”

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The time I played in a football match

When I was younger, I mostly just wanted to do everything my brother did. I listened to The Fugees at an age where I honestly didn’t know what they were talking about. I sat watching him play computer games and cheering for him for hours. I used to hang around being an annoying little sister while he and his friends played football and I’d go and collect the ball for them if it went off the pitch.

So obviously, I had decided I wanted to play football too. Obviously. I mean, I had bags of talent in the area, with all my experience of watching games and collecting footballs.

I joined the girls’ football team at school and decided I wanted to be in goal, for no other reason than my brother played in goal. Despite my obvious skill, it took a while before I was chosen to play in an actual game against another team. When I was, it was only as back-up and not in goal.

We went in a little minibus to the school we were playing against and for fifteen minutes, I watched from the sidelines, trying to work out what was going on. Midway into the second half, my friend and I were sent on to play. I ran about a bit, shouting to whoever had the ball whilst actually avoiding the ball. I think I kicked it once. I’ve no idea what happened when I kicked it. It probably went straight to the other team.

Anyway, the game finished shortly afterward and I can’t remember if we won or lost. What did strike me, though, was how clean I looked. My brother always looked quite grubby when he came from playing football. The friend who had been sent on with me in the second half came up with a plan. We would kneel down in the mud, pretending to do our shoelaces or something and get our knees muddy. This we did, also rubbing mud on our elbows and making smudges across our football kits.

When we emptied out of the minibus back at school, it was still the lunch hour so the other kids saw our triumphal return and our muddied knees and looked at us in admiration. I felt great.

And that was it. That was my footballing career. I don’t think I played anymore games. Or even went to the football practices.

Danda and the birthday card

Yesterday was Danda’s friend’s birthday. I know this friend pretty well too so proposed dinner made by Yours Truly then set off into town to get a little card and a little something else from Danda and I.

I didn’t forward plan anything or scout around online to get ideas. I just figured something would catch my eye. I went into a card shop first and I looked.

I looked at all the pretty pinky red cards with owls and hummingbirds and cakes on them. I saw cards which looked like they had been stitched together. I saw cards with golden looped writing and sincere messages of birthday wishes and many happy returns. I saw fun cards with bubble writing and ages written on them. I saw cards with old photos and funny quotes on them.

And none of them were right. None of them quite suited a slightly older gentleman with an interest in World War II and programmes about true crime, who enjoys his own company and has a silly little dog that was kind of forced on him but who he’s actually quite fond of.

I saw billions of cards for women. Quite a lot for children. And a fair amount for people who think quotes on old black and white photos are funny. But not that many for men like my friend.

Eventually I tracked down two which I thought might fit the bill. One was a humorous card about the internet, prompted by my friend’s total impatience with anything computery.

The other was a green coloured one which looked like an old poster from the war and it had something about football on it, about how shouting loudly at your TV set helps them win. I didn’t know which to get and in my indecision, I got both.
I thankfully had a much easier time with the present and just got him a DVD set of stuff about the war.

I was still fretting about the cards and called Danda for his opinion. He said the football one would be best. I said I’d show him it before writing it.

When I saw Danda later, he was watching a programme called Minder, a classic from years ago, apparently.

“Danda,” I said. “Look at the card. It is just on the table there. I had such a hard time choosing it. I was in the shop for a long time and it is very important to me that you tell me if the card is ok.”

“Yep, I’ll look in a minute. I’m just watching Minder. It’s my favourite.”

“But Danda, we should write the card soon, before our friend arrives.”

“Yeh…. What you said….”

“Danda, something tells me you’re not really listening.”

“Mmmm.”

I got the card off the table and showed it to him. He looked at it briefly.

Silence.

“Do you think it’s ok, Danda?” I asked.

“Pardon?”

“Do you think the card’s ok? Is there anything about the card you’d like to say? I had such trouble finding a suitable one.”

Danda looks. He looks and he tilts his head slightly and he squints his eyes a little and finally he opens his mouth to give me his verdict.

“It’s a bit green.”

The Eclectic Word Club

Good morning. It’s Wednesday again and time for my guest blogger, Rambler5319 to take over….

 

Are you a member of a club? If you are, why are you? I suppose, logically, you like the activities they do. It might be: a football club because you like football, a tennis club because you like to play tennis, a chess club because you like to play chess, a film club because you like to watch films and so on. These are all clubs where you know what they will be doing by their title.

However I wonder if you’ve ever thought of yourself as being in a club that you didn’t know you were a member of. Bit strange, eh? How could you be in a club or clubs but not know it? I think we all are! Thousands of them. How so? I hear you say.

To find out let’s go back to the clubs I mentioned at the start. People in those clubs have certain words they use which are particular to their activity. They will have special words which those in the “club” know but perhaps those outside don’t: a one-two in Football, roughing and trumping in Bridge, castling in Chess and so on. Some of us, who are not members of that club, may know these terms because we know people who use them or they’ve become used in everyday life but the more technical ones we probably don’t. You only learn them if you need to use them. So far so good.

Each person has a vocabulary of words they use every day in order to communicate. This vocabulary will vary depending on how many words you’ve learnt and whether you know their meanings. It will also depend on your age: young people use words older people don’t and vice versa, scientists use words non-scientists don’t. Words do come into and go out of fashion. You may use particular words to sound trendy (“right on”, “boss”, “cool”, fab etc) or maybe even to sound deliberately not trendy (“spokeshave”).

It’s important to use the correct terms otherwise you will not be able to communicate. Would you expect a mechanic in a garage where you take your car to refer to “the thing under the bonnet”? No, I think you’d expect him to say “the engine”. If there’s a right word use it but to use it you have to know it! And that’s where the learning comes in: get that dictionary out! Now you’re in the club that knows the word “engine” and so on up to the more complicated ones. You can communicate with other people who know the same word but not with those who don’t. Do you see what’s going on here? We’re in lots of these “clubs” but we may not be in all the same ones as our friends.

At the end of the day words are about communication so why use words that most people don’t know unless it’s to sound or look clever? For instance in the 1840s people would not have had a problem with Emily Bronte’s use of words like “asseverate” & “orison”, in Wuthering Heights, but how many of us today know their meaning? In this case you have two options: go and look them up in a dictionary so you know what they mean next time or just try and guess from the context (in which case you’ll never know for certain). If you don’t look them up – why don’t you? In fact why don’t you write them down so you’ll remember them. Now you’re in the “club” that knows what they mean.

The title of this blog gives a further clue. Eclectic is a word which crept into everyday use through music journalism and writers referring to people having “an eclectic taste” in music or an album having an “eclectic mix” of styles. You either look the word up or you don’t understand what they’re talking about. You will tend to pick the words you use based on the situation you’re in: are you speaking with customers, friends or work colleagues? In the container business, for example, you will hear words like Reefer (meaning a refrigerated container or trailer), High-Cube (meaning a container which is 9’6” high instead of an ordinary height of 8’6”) and Flat Rack (meaning a container with no sides or roof, so it just has the base and two ends). Each branch of the armed forces has special words and phrases they use. Each trade or craft also has specialised uses of words. You just have to learn them if you’re going to be able to communicate with others in the same business. You become part of a word club where particular words and language are used. You will also begin to use words that those around you use especially when moving (or travelling) to a new area or country: our cars have bonnets – American cars have hoods, our cars have boots – American cars have trunks, we put petrol in our cars – Americans put “gas” in theirs and so on.

I’m reading a book at the moment (about The Elizabethan period in English history) which, just this week, has given me six words I’ve not come across before: Scabrous, Tanistry, Gallowglasses, Seneschal, Rymor, Self-Exculpation. (My notebook which I’ve mentioned before that I write words in that I don’t know the meaning of is close to the 800 mark now.) So that’s six new clubs I’ve joined because, along with the author, I now know what they mean. And no I’m not telling you what they mean! If you don’t know them……. You know what’s coming next……go and get that dictionary! Find out!

One of the best investments I made was to purchase a dictionary app for my phone. It’s the same dictionary as the hardback paper version I have on my bookshelf but it cost one-sixth of the price and it is with me all the time. It’s also quicker than me at looking up stuff. Those of you with Kindles probably don’t need an app as it includes a dictionary. It’s just a matter of being prepared.

Being in word clubs is a lifelong experience because there are so many of them and new ones come along all the time. Will you join them (by getting that dictionary out) or will you walk past maybe just guessing what’s behind the door? The choice is yours. Have you come across any words you don’t know recently that you could share with us?

(Guest post by Rambler 5319)

You really must stop with all the awards…! (Not really, I love them)

My award for Very Inspiring Blogger comes from cimplicityrockss and was awarded to me last month. As I got another award on the same day, I thought I’d space them out, to prevent an award onslaught (look, I didn’t ask to be this cool, it just came naturally, so don’t blame me).

 

Cimplicityrockss writes a fantastic blog which does what it says on the tin, it’s simple lessons learned and shared. There’s always something lovely to read there. Thanks so much for the award!

 

Next, I have to share seven facts about myself. Ok, here goes… Ermm….

 

1. I used to have a crush on Arnold Schwarzenegger. I know. I know. Please don’t tease me. I was young.

2. Despite being from Liverpool, my entire interaction with football has been a crush on Ryan Giggs when I was about 8 years old.

3. The other night, instead of eating dinner, I had a chocolate and orange cake. Don’t judge me. I was trapped in the house because of the torrential rain. I wanted to get out and get real food but I couldn’t! It wasn’t my fault! Well, I did manage get out for a minute in between downpours. To get the chocolate cake.

4. I have quite an obsessive nature. I just discovered a singer called Jessie Ware and have been listening to two of her songs on repeat for the past week. Still not bored.

5. One my worst habits is, when I have figured out that I don’t really like someone, or am not interested in being friends with them, I just tune out. I’m not rude, I just don’t take an interest. It can lead to awkward social situations where I find myself chatting to someone who’s name I don’t know, even though I’ve met them loads, and who I can’t remember anything about. Conversation is limited when they’re talking to you about something they think you understand but you don’t.

6. I often wish I was a centaur.

7. I am a girl who likes rules. For example, every Christmas I read the entire Chronicles of Narnia. Every time I go on holiday I read Little Women. When I get sick I read Winnie The Pooh. This is also why I like filing and paperwork.

 

Now I nominate seven blogs I find inspiring. So here they are, in no particular order…

1. uvfitnesssuzie – She’s new to the blogging scene and already she’s fabulous. Common sense advice (from someone who’s done it themselves) on getting fitter and losing weight, without the point-counting nonsense you find some places.

2. My Far Away Places – Great little snapshots from travels around the world. Today’s post on Albania was interesting due to its unfamiliarity. Recenet travel posts about this area of the world have all been great too.

3. As Time Goes… Buy – There’s always something pretty to look at in this blog. As a not-very-fashion-conscious girl myself, I stumbled upon this blog, not expecting to be that interested in its content but actually it’s good fun. I loved the recent metallic-clothing posts and even debated whether to hunt down a shiny bag for myself.

4. From A Tuscan Villa – What’s not to love? This Tuscan villa is in Bagni di Lucca and the blog features little snapshots of life from around the town. In another world, it would be MY Tuscan villa and my blog!

5. Not So Skinny Genes – Anything and everything, and all of it interesting, well-written and extremely readable. My favourite recent post was about lessons being learned in a new (male-dominated) workplace.

6. Photography Journal Blog – Fantastic photos of all different things and commentary on what it is, how the photo was taken, etc. There is also a great attitude to improving and asking advice on pictures. I like dipping into this blog every few days to see what’s been posted lately.

7. Grumpy Comments – I’m pretty sure I’ve nominated this blog before but I’m going to nominate it again, for plenty of reasons (centred around general fabulousness and a painfully acute awareness of self) but mainly because of the hilarious post this morning about being stroked on the wrist and finger-squeezed by a stranger whilst at work!

Odd things that have happened when abroad

When my friend and I were living in Namibia, we did various different things – mainly running a local newspaper and teaching in some of the local schools.

Lucy is an amazing artist. I was always finding the loveliest little doodles on bits of paper around the house. Even her writing was beautiful, like looking at a picture. At the creche where we spent a lot of our time, the teachers asked us to brighten up the playground area. The walls were painted white and the paint was peeling so we decided to paint some lovely colourful pictures on the walls.

Lucy drew these beautiful pictures, a different one on each section of wall. I obediently painted where she told me to, not being the best at drawing myself. One evening, we headed over to work on the walls and there was an adult evening class on. They were mostly parents who had brought their children along and left them in the playground area while they went into the class.

So Lucy and I are painting away, an underwater scene this time, the kids are mesmerised by our painting. They were perched on a climbing frame in silence, when suddenly, out of nowhere, we heard this….

“If you see me walking down the street, staring at the sky, dragging my two feet, you just pass me by, it still makes me cry, you can make me whole again…”

What?! They were singing Whole Again by Atomic Kitten!

It was probably the oddest moment of the whole year. Here I was, 18 years old, I had travelled from Liverpool, across the world and made a new life for myself in Africa… And then randomly, whilst painting a wall, ten Namibian children were singing a song by some girls from Liverpool.

They knew all the words as well. Five year old children, who mostly lived in townships and didn’t have an awful lot, still knew the words to Whole Again by Atomic Kitten! Even to the talking bit in the middle. We just carried on painting and laughing to ourselves.

Another time I was in Cambodia with friends. We were in Phnom Penh and had decided to visit the ‘killing fields’, which gave rise to the film of the same name. It was an extremely profound place, made more so by the fact that one of the friends and I had had a mini falling out. One of those things where there’s actually not anything wrong, you’ve just all been spending a long time in close quarters.

So when we got in, we all separated off and went round alone. I found a little bench on the edge of the fields, next to a tree with low branches, and hid from sun, thinking about everything I was seeing and about how silly the argument had been and how I’d tell my friend I was sorry and forget about it.

A noise from the tree interrupted my moment of profundity. There was a little boy sitting on one of the low branches of the tree. He smiled. I smiled back but my face said that I was having a moment and not to interrupt.

But interrupt he did.

“Where are you from?”

“England,” I said, but not in a way that invited further conversation. I turned back to the fields and tried to regain my moment of thoughtfulness. I saw my two friends in the distance, each looking around separately. I thought about how silly the argument had been, especially when faced with the enormous seriousness of a genocide.

That’s when it happened. There was I, lost in my thoughts, wondering about the meaning of life etc. And there was he, a little Cambodian boy, with far more important things on his mind. He had established that I was from England so the first question which entered his mind was this… 

“Do you know David Beckham?”

Do I know David Beckham?! Hilarious. I ended up getting into a big chat with him about the merits of different English football teams. So there we were, at the killing fields, the raw evidence of a recent  genocide plain for all to see, having a chat about David Beckham. He decided Manchester United were the best and we left it at that. Odd.

Reasons why my big brother is cool

When the older years and younger years at primary school had play time together and my friends and I were playing with a ball, whenever I got it, I’d run over to my big brother and shout ‘chuck it!’ and he’d throw it really far. I remember thinking I’d never seen anyone throw a ball that far in my entire life.

When we got sweets at the shop, he made up a cool game where he was the bin. To play, I’d press his nose and his mouth would open. I’d press his nose again and his mouth would close. Then I’d press it and he’d chew the sweet. Then I’d press again and he’d swallow it. Inevitably, my brother cleverly got all the sweets and I got none. But it was SUCH a fun game!

He listened to way cool music. I went through a phase where I decided that I’d like exactly the same music as him, to try and extract some of his coolness. I listened to Fugees and Nas and didn’t understand a word but I knew it was cool.

I used to sit and watch him play computer games while I’d write my little stories. I didn’t really know what Championship Manager was about but I’d watch him play it for ages nonetheless.

We used to get up early on weekend mornings, put our duvets on the stairs and get a sleeping bag. One person would get into the bottom of the sleeping bag and the other would sit at the top and we’d bump down the stairs. It was WAY more fun than it sounds.

He and his friends would play football on the back field and I’d sit nearby, reading or writing a little story. When the ball would roll too far, I’d run and collect it for them. Like a one-girl fan club! Just lingering around, watching them run about and not having a clue what was going on.

Sometimes we were allowed to put up the two man tent in the back garden and sleep overnight in it. We’d hang out in the tent feeling like we were on a massive adventure. That was fun.

I heard my brother tell a joke once so I told it to everyone I knew. It went like this – What do you get if you go under a cow? A pat on the back. I honestly had no idea what was funny about it! I thought it meant that you were really brave for going under the cow. People laughed when I told it and I didn’t know why. But because my big brother had said it, I said it.

My big brother was the coolest guy in his school when on the final year photos he did a cool hand gesture thing. I forget what it was. I just remember thinking he was pretty out-there and fun.

My big brother taught me how to ride a bike. I learned really late and was quite embarrassed about it and one day, he took me to the race track on the back field and taught me how to ride. Thanks for that, by the way!

When my big brother got married last year, he asked me to do a reading in the ceremony. Amazing. My cool big brother wanted ME to do a reading at his wedding. It is still the best wedding I’ve ever been to. Well, of course it was. It was MY big brother’s wedding!

Happy birthday, big brother!