Jesterly Challenge Month – November 7th

Mark Bialczak asked me write about the best sports game I ever played, no matter age, place, or team.  Give it a read and let me know how I did in the comments.

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Can I get a definition of “best” please?  Best in terms of my performance, or enjoyment or the team’s result, or…?  And then can we talk about “game?”  Is that a physical game or a video game or…?

I once took control of Manchester United in the FIFA ’99 game on my original PlayStation and scored 45 goals against Arsenal in 15 minutes of play.  I have to say, that sure felt great.  I don’t remember how many hat tricks Solksjaer, Yorke and Beckham had, but I never grew tired of hearing “Solksjaer scores!”  I do suspect, however, that isn’t really what you wanted to hear about.

Just last week, in a pick-up game of volleyball, four a side on beach sand, I had the most fun playing that I’ve had in a long time.  I had one massive jump serve ace on game point.  I had a couple kills.  Maybe one block?  Maybe none.  It wasn’t my best offensive or defensive game ever, but there were a ton of long rallies and the games were all really close.  Even though I’ve played better on other nights, it felt great to have that much fun.  Again, however, perhaps that isn’t what you want to hear about…

When I was very young, in my first or second season of recreational soccer, hosted by my city’s parks and recs department, I scored a hat trick.  I was never a striker in the true sense.  I had lungs and endurance and could run the length of the field and find open teammates to pass to and never get tired, but I lacked that instinct to just shoot the ball.  I don’t have an exact number of how many times I’ve scored in all the years I played soccer, but I know it is a relatively small number.  That game, however, something clicked and I took the opportunities when they came and scored one goal after another.  I remember how amazing it felt, I remember how great it was to see the pride and joy in my dad as he congratulated me afterwards.  But, the memory is hazy at best and I’m not sure I can actually remember the game at all.  Perhaps what I think I know of that game is merely just from the many retellings over the years that followed.

My senior year of high school I finally made it onto the varsity soccer team.  I had told myself during the condition and tryouts before the season that if I didn’t make varsity I was going to quit rather than play JV again, but I’m not sure if I’d have kept that promise to myself.  I loved game then, and still do now, even if I was never very good at it.  I’d lost my endurance by the time I played in high school, but had enough knowledge and experience that the couches kept seeing some value in putting me on the field as a striker.  Which, I never understood because I didn’t score goals.  In four years, I scored one.  It came on a corner kick and after bouncing around in the box the ball landed at my feet and I poked it in.  it was  a poacher’s goal, but I was no poacher.  It felt great to final score, though.  That elation didn’t last long because we ended up losing the game anyway.  And, I’d always felt at odds with my team, I had no friends there, and with my performances so the whole of my high school soccer career is tainted with disappointment and clouded by angst.  So, again, perhaps not what you are looking for.

Last week I played “soccer” with the Little Prince.  It started as passing the ball back and forth, something he is still trying to figure out and do with accuracy and consistency.  Then, after more successful passes than we’ve ever had before, a whole four, his attention was pulled away and our game evolved into something like Calvinball.  Other balls were introduced, and random things in the garage were turned into hoops, and other things were turned into safe zones.  There was laughing and giggling, running and throwing, points were scored in random increments and for various reasons…  This is, I suspect, exactly what you wanted to hear about.  It was fun.  It was great.  It was wonderful.  It was the best sports game I’ve ever played, so far.

Guest Post: Time to Move? By, The Matticus Kingdom

Today I wax philosophical about sport and the United States over at Fibot’s site: Adventures of an Aussie Girl in London. Go check it out!

Almost English

Today, in the Guest Post series, we a joined by the wonderful King Matticus from over at The Matticus Kingdom.

Matticus and I have bonded over many subjects – food, beer, travel, poetry, alarm clocks, cats, writing, social experiments and all sorts of other things, but one of the biggest ‘moments’ in our blogosphere friendship was when we discovered that we are both HUGE Manchester United fans. It’s not often you find a Man U fanatic over the other side of the world where football (soccer) isn’t as widely liked. And Matt is going to tell you all about it. 

But one more thing – after you finish reading his wonderful guest post, head on over to the Kingdom and check it out. You will find it hard not to become completely absorbed by the many interesting, hilarious, and informative posts about life, the world and just general…

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Guest Post – StephRogers: but, the grass needs mowing

Do you know Steph?  You do?  Great! 

And if you don’t, well she writes over at She Said What

She’s guest blogging at The Matticus Kingdom today and, apparently, she said this:

When thematticuskingdom put out the call for guest bloggers I thought ‘what is it that his lordship would like to read?’ and hey presto! He’s into football. He also follows MUFC just like my hubby (I can’t remember where I read that on his blog. Just trust me it’s there somewhere!). Anyway so I thought I would post about football from a wife’s perspective…

Hubby works 6 days a week. Plus we are business owners so the stress and workload is overwhelming, and doesn’t stop when the shop shuts. Basically hubby works a lot. I look after kids and home practically all the time without a break. Life can be hard at times. We rarely spend time together. When he gets time off I have a list of things that need doing, normally in the yard, because it’s impossible for me to get out there and do it while supervising the children. Under these circumstances, with the grass so tall that I can’t see the dog until he emerges from the rustling canopy onto the doorstep, with the pool bright green and completely unswimable, with the roof leaking in the laundry and the vegetable crisper from our fridge strategically placed in the roof space under the drip to stop the laundry flooding, hubby decides that he will spend his only day off in the week at a football game. He has to go and watch his beloved Western Sydney Wanderers play.

dog in grass
My dog is practically invisible in this grass

I totally cracked it and accused him of choosing football over his family. He said that wasn’t it at all and I just didn’t understand. Yes. He’s totally right. I don’t understand.

Aside from the being out at football games, there are a few more things that shit me about the football. He must watch the games. This sometimes means staying up til crazy hours because time zones dictate the MUFC games are usually on around 3am. It’s not the game watching per se. It’s the yobbo-ness that it inspires. The “yes” *fist pump, every time a goal is scored, the drunken yelling, cheering and abusing the TV (if I had balls to scratch it would inspire ball-scratching). The obsession with football twitter feeds and shows about football. I mean what’s duller than a football game? Listening to dull ex-players who were not chosen for their interpersonal skills discuss the pros and cons of a team or of a game that was on last week. Um… isn’t there grass growing somewhere? I was proud of him for taking to twitter and putting down a few immature men who found the need to make comments about a female presenter looking better in a bikini or something. That was awesome of him *chest swelling with pride.

Smoke bomb at the game
Hubby took this picture from his seat in the stands. It’s crazy!

The next annoying thing is the merchandise. Hubby needs the shirts, my sons need the shirts, we need hats and shorts and socks and posters and all sorts of crap that costs $100 extra because it has a logo on it. A plain red shirt will not do. They get you coming and going really.

Hubby went to England to visit his grandfather who lives there. He spent a whole day at Old Trafford while his grandfather sat in the coffee shop and drank coffee and killed time. Yeah that was a bonding moment.

MUFC tour
Hubby does a tour of Old Trafford
Opa in coffee shop
Meanwhile… Opa drinks coffee, lots of coffee

Really what it all comes down to is the tribalism. That’s what I really can’t stand. The us and them. I would ask why they can’t just share the ball but I’m not completely insane. The Western Sydney Wanderers  active supporters (called the Red and Black Bloc or RBB) are notorious. Here’s footage of pre-game antics in a recent game against Sydney FC

All these people are spending all this time and money watching a bunch of guys run around a field and kick a ball back and forth. All these people could be spending their time and money solving global warming, helping children in third world countries, or hell, even mowing grass!

I talk tough but the truth of the matter is that I do get it. It is about escapism. When the world is stressful and work is hard, when the list of jobs at home seems never-ending, when there is war and famine and impending environmental doom it is nice to be able to forget all that shit, put on your team colours, and go and stand with the supporters while you yell and scream and sing at the top of your lungs. When your team scores that goal it’s like your happiness knows no bounds. I get it. I love my hubby, and life is not easy for him at the moment, or ever really. So I rearrange the world so he can go to watch his Western Sydney Wanderers play. Yes occasionally I crack the shits and yell. But I feel bad afterwards. He needs the escape. If only I could get into it. I think I’ll stick to knitting.

the boys at the game
Hubby and number 1 son at the WSW game (dressed in their team colours of course!). I guess it’s not so bad.

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I’m not entirely sure how someone could enjoy knitting over cheering on the finest football (soccer) club in the world; but, we never presume to know everything here in the kingdom.  Besides I’m just the jester, I don’t have to know the same things a king would have to know (favorite colors, my quest, the average airspeed velocities of both African and European swallows, etc…)

More Steph you should read:
http://stephrogers.com/2013/02/25/yugioh-what-i-just-want-to-play-blog-tag/
http://stephrogers.com/2013/02/22/virtual-immortality-tweets-from-the-grave/
http://stephrogers.com/2013/02/09/its-all-about-the-love-or-maybe-people-dont-suck/

10 points

Step up Wayne Rooney and show your class, thank you very much.  With Rooney slotting home the winner as the end of the Manchester United away match against Fulham at Craven Cottage loomed menacingly, the Red Devils opened up a 10 point lead over their closest chasers: Manchester City.

And, Chelsea lost, so it’s going to be a good day today.

Tomorrow morning (7:30AM my time here in California) I’ll wake up and watch the “game before the game” as the networks are billing it: Manchester City against Liverpool.  “The game” is, of course, the Super Bowl.  Which I will only be watching if I have nothing better to do, though I do always feel some pull to watch it because it is such an expectation, a social norm – it is just what is supposed to be done.  But, I don’t really care about the outcome… perhaps I will root for the 49ers because they are from California.

In the game before the game, I do care about the outcome.  Will City win and reduce that gap back to 7 points, will Liverpool win and keep City pointless, will the two sides draw?  I don’t really want either team to win… but since there will be points awarded at the end no matter what, I think I’m leaning towards a City loss or a draw.

That is a testament to viewing City as more of a threat and definitely as the only team out of the two who has a chance of giving us any trouble on the run in this season.  Gone are the days when Liverpool was challenging.  I think they will turn things around in another season or two, but will they ever reclaim their past glory?  Will they ever go on a run of succesful seasons like United has put together in the last 20 years?  I doubt it.

But, those are thoughts for a different day.  Today I’m going to bask in the glory at the top of the Premier League knowing our competition is falling away behind us.  I’m going to revel in the fact that at the end of the game we had four strikers on the pitch: Rooney, Van Persie, Welbeck, and Chicharito (Javier Hernandez).  I’m going to be smiling about the great saves that DeGea came up with in goal for us today and the clean sheet he was able to keep.

Yep, it’s going to be a good day.

Daily Prompt: My circle(s) of influence

Another day and another interesting Daily Prompt.  That’s three in a row I’ve done this week.  It’s getting to be a habit.

I did some research (consisting of a Google search) and it seems that the quote the daily prompt is referring to came from Jim Rohn.  Which is neither here nor there, but interesting all the same.  Then again, maybe he stole it from someone else.  It’s that kind of world.

Anyway, on to the heart of this post: I can definitely see how I am the average of the five people I spend the most time with.  I talk like them, I think like them, I enjoy the same activities; and that all makes sense, really, as we’ve grown together over the years, each of us influencing the other.  I’m happy with that.  I’m happy with who I am.

But, if I wanted to change-up my key 5 and interact with different people to become a different person, then who would I pick?  I’m going to cheat a bit and put together a couple different lists. 

It’s not like you could stop me anyway. 

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List the First:

All of these are authors who’s writing styles or stories have influenced my own writing styles and who I aspire to be like (in terms of what they have been able to achieve through their works).  If I’ve been influenced as much as I have by them simply through reading their stories, imagine how much I could learn if I could interact with them on a more personal basis. 

1.1 – Stephen King
1.2 – William Shakespeare
1.3 – Terry Pratchett
1.4 – George R.R. Martin
1.5 – Margaret Weiss

What if I could kick back in Maine with Stephen King and share ideas over a beer, or in London with the Bard and a pint for that matter?  What if I could swap jokes with Terry Pratchett?  What if I could spend hours working with Martin on storyboarding and plot outlining?  What if I could come up with new fantastical characters and worlds with Weiss?

 

List the Second:

I’m a sucker for sports, but I thoroughly enjoy playing and watching pretty much all varieties of them; but I lacked the drive and the skill to really advance to a high level in any of them.  But, if I could have surrounded myself with some of the following, would that have turned out differently?

2.1 – Karch Kiraly
2.2 – Michael Phelps
2.3 – Ryan Giggs
2.4 – Phil Mickelson
2.5 – Mia Hamm

Each of these athletes exudes passion, skill, and determination.  They’ve all risen to the very highest levels while also balancing other aspects of life.  They may have been surrounded by others who helped them get to the top, but that’s sort of the point, isn’t it?  If I’d had them coaching me, offering advice, training with me, then maybe I could have found my own inner drive to excel at the sports I love.  If Karch had taught me how to pass?  If Phelps had taught me how to train?  If Giggs had taught we how to handle pressure?  If Phil had taught me how to drive?  If Mia had taught me how to shoot?  (Yes, two soccer references, that’s just the way it is.)

 

List the Third:

Music, music, music, music, music.  I guess if I boil down the things in life I am most passionate about they are (aside from my family and camping/backpacking – which we’ve already removed for the purposes of this exercise) writing, sports, and music.  I learned a couple instruments when I was younger and had aspirations of being in a band at one time, but I never really sought after that dream and eventually it got pushed to the side.  If I’d had these people in my life that would have been different for sure:

3.1 – Bruce Springsteen
3.2 – Bob Dylan
3.3 – Tijs Verwest (Tiesto)
3.4 – Billie Joe Armstrong
3.5 – Dave Grohl

Consistency and quality have marked all of these artists’ careers.  They’ve produced chart topper after chart topper and have continued to perform for decades with zero sign of their own passion or creativity declining.  If I’d had these people in my life that dream of being in a band would have been realized because they would have helped push me along that path, with Springsteen and Dylan helping me write songs, Billie Joe teaching me all about stage presence, Dave Grohl helping me learning pretty much every instrument ever used to produce a song, and Tiesto guiding the production side of everything.

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So, to recap, I love my life.  But, if I’d had the people from the above lists to interact with on a regular basis then I would be even more amazing than I already am, right?  Right? 

*crickets*