Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Naïvety in football

Having an excessive amount of free time, but being limited to a computer does have its perks – it gives me a chance to catch up on months of blogging and forum posts that I would not normally read as there is always something non-computer-based to do.

Going through the links on my blog I “stumbled” across From the Left Wing again, and found a post that captured a few of my thoughts about football and the role of cheating in the sport. Titled Henry’s Handball & the Moral Ambiguity of Football, it’s fairly obvious what the post covers.

Football is a game that stirs emotions. Managed by humans, mistakes are bound to happen - fouls that are missed, clean tackles that become punishable offences, diving, calling a ball out when it remained within the field of play, giving a goal kick when it was clearly a corner, etc. Oh, and handballs.

Any of these offences can have drastic consequences - but I think handballs are rarely used to the same effect as Maradona and, recently, Henry have done. Perhaps that’s why Henry copped so much flak but FIFA did nothing. I would say it’s almost become accepted that players dive and are (mistakenly) awarded penalties. I could imagine that if FIFA made a decision on Henry, they would set a precedent for all kinds protests against rule-breaking actions that result in a goal/could have resulted in a goal.

And wouldn’t they be busy bees if they had done anything with Henry. As Jennifer Doyle writes:

Handballs, offside calls, the identification of goals and the discounting of goals, calls for aggressive tackles and diving - all are made by referees without the help of video replay, and are vulnerable to human error and players know it - and the most competitive exploit this. It becomes part of your game.

It becomes part of your game. It becomes part of the opposition’s game. If it’s part of the opposition’s game, it should be part of yours. Circular argument, but you have to wake up and realise it happens.

I think Australians are too naïve when it comes too this. We generally play by the rules, but someone else will spoil the party. And when the game is over – we’re left with nothing.

Even if you refuse to include it in your game you must accept that it occurs. You must make sure that you do not give the opposition the opportunity to cheat in a way that is catastrophic to your team. I won’t name or describe the best example for us, as I think that it is obvious.

“Cheating" is an art in this sport.

Personally, I’ve never handballed in an un-obvious way (I have had brain snaps in the middle of the park where I’ve obviously stuck my hand out, made contact and sworn at myself/burst into a giggle fit at my idiocy) and diving isn’t in my repertoire.

But I recognise that football can be subjective. I won’t pretend otherwise.

I exploit this. I won’t pretend otherwise.

I indirectly address referees.

I abuse opposition officials if I notice them unjustly interfering with the game (as a coach, I don’t taint my players – I will simply give my team instructions or cheer them on but especially loudly when the linesperson happens to be in front of me. Or specifically, their ear is in front of me. Their faces are gold when you see their paranoia develop - Surely it’s just in my head that she gives louder instructions while I am there.)

I waste time. I like to think time wasting is a special talent of mine, particularly as a goalkeeper.

I claim the opposition’s ball.

I play until the referee stops me. Dribbled the ball out? Carry on until the referee tells you otherwise. Similarly, don’t stop because you think the opposition has dribbled the ball out. We’ve all been caught out before.

Lots of white lies. You probably think that they’re not as bad as handballs and diving in the box…

Let’s return to I play until the referee stops me. I have gotten away with football murder. I was so good, I convinced all but one team-mate (who was on the goal line with me), our coach (at the time, my eagle-eyed dad) and the opposition attackers. What if I got caught? Well, I would have played dumb and accepted the referee’s decision.

For the record, I have only ever had one yellow card. For indoor. Apparently slide tackles are illegal.

The Lure of Wordpress

You may have noticed that I keep changing the template of the blog. I just can't find one to match my personality! I like how clean this one is (currently on Minima Stretch with a white background), but I can't get the right colour combinations when I go to a dark background.

I did start a Wordpress blog once... but I am a creature of habit, or of laziness and so I like how I log in with my Gmail and ta-da, easy access to Blogger.

Perhaps I should just get into the html coding and start mucking about with it!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Death to Time! Die! Die! Die!

My work situation now means I have a lot of free time to browse the web. Unfortunately, I find that there are limits to the internet - if I weren't behind a computer I would happily pick up my book (I am currently on The Book Thief) and read instead. However, I am at work - and though I may not have any work to actually do (and everyone knows it), I ought to semi-pretend (which consists of openly browsing the web and not excessively distracting others).

The Age is one website that I visit on a daily basis. This usually means skimming through the main page just to have an idea of what's going on in the world. These days, I open a plethora of tabs and read as many articles as I want until I get sick of reading them. I am forced to use Internet Explorer and sometimes the browser crashes. Can't complain as it adds to the "fun" of making the day go by.

However, the browser is yet to crash today and so far have read a number of articles. Well I have skimmed through a number and probable read a handful. Today's offerings include reviews of Yum Cha in Melbourne and of the Sydney to Buenos Aires "service" offered by Aerolineas Argentinas.

My high school friends like to socialise over Yum Cha, so I promptly sent that to them. We have got Yum Cha booked in a couple of weeks, and though we're not at one of the places with highly rated (5-asterisk) food, our place is at least named but not shamed. Perhaps we could try an alternative venue when I visit in the future.

One of my friends has already responded. The best part is that she is the one who makes our Yum Cha bookings, and I am pleased with her response:
Interesting article, maybe we should expand our horizons next time to the other places...

The other review was a good laugh. With a family from Argentina, I having done numerous Sydney-Buenos Aires and return trips. Each has got progressively worse - partly because I am becoming more aware of things as I get older, but mainly because the service has gotten progressively worse.

16 hours, 35 minutes is a long time. I think the reviewer, Larissa Ham had a good trip. Her flight was only delayed for 1 hour 24 minutes. And she had 2 films on the Auckland - Buenos Aires leg (the flight is Sydney - Auckland - Buenos Aires).

Last time I flew with Aerolineas was the return from Buenos Aires. About 19 hours. Add a 6 hour delay and NO films. Good times.

I think my parents are planning a visit again at the end of the year. Here's hoping that they are happy to pay more and fly Qantas/LAN Chile - something that Dad and I discussed post/during our last flight back to Sydney.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Taking a bite from my hat

But not eating it - it was only one (1) touch.

But I did quite like Archie's outside of the foot touch to Tommy P (he's the only Tommy, but I like calling him Tommy P - perhaps inherited from Wayne?) who then crossed it for Kruse.

So while Archie did annoy me somewhat, I'll ease up on him. For now.

It would be very unlike me if I didn't complain about the match - I wouldn't say that Melbourne played well but that Perth assisted with it's lack of display. In the first half, Hernandez managed to get a break on the Perth defense. Hernandez. How?!??!??! It also happened in the second half when he (finally) scored, though I do think he was offside at the time, so that wasn't as much as a miraculous feat.

The other thing that irritated me was the number of opportunities that Carlos wasted. However, he scores once and the crowd appears to forgive him. #@$%@*!!!!!!!

To further add to my woes, I think I am really losing whatever interest I had in the A-League. Seriously, I'm struggling.

*No swear word in particular, just feeling frustrated by a crowd that likes goals rather than football.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Approaching the beginning of the end

I went back to work today - I won't complain as I had the luxury of driving to and from work, and stayed inside in climate controlled comfort from 8 to 5.

Last night I was forced to use Google to search for "How to resign." While all the rules were along the lines of don't tell anyone beforehand, resign on a Friday afternoon, to do it in person, etc. I had already done the opposite by telling my day-to-day managers (Mr M and Mr T) what I planned to do when the office reopened in 2010, knowing that I had to resign on the Tuesday of that first week in order to give the required one month of notice and make it out in time for the move and not jeopardise the scholarship, and I planned to do it by internal mail as I was based off-site and away from my team leader (Ms S) and group manager (Mr B) - no idea who I had to address it to.

So I wrote my resignation letter, printed it out (not sure if it was ethical to use the client printer to do this, but it had to be done), signed it and put it into an envelope. Then it went into an ugly internal mail envelope for Ms K to deliver to th office for Ms S to receive it tomorrow. For the record, Ms S has known that this was in the pipeline for about the last 4 to 5 months.

After all that preparation - I find that for the next 6 work days, I am in the home office. Along with everyone else who's on the project I'm currently on... we're waiting for approvals and decisions to be made so work's been slow. Ms K and I had a chuckle as I had complained that I wanted to do the letter drop in person - and now I could! Awesome moment #1.

During this whole return-to-the-office meeting (being run by Mr B, the group manager), I find that Mr B is aware of my situation, which I expected would happen. In line with what Mr M and Mr T had said to me last year upon telling them that I was leaving, it appears Mr B would like to hold on to me somewhat. Awesome moment #2. So I'm to have a meeting with him and Mr P tomorrow. Mr P is our industry director (there's a lot of levels in this management structure... no wonder I was confused who I had to resign to, particularly since my manager when I started is no longer a "manager") and one of my favourite people at work, but the concept of a meeting with him, Mr B and me is scary. Exciting, but scary.


Sorry about the blog template changes - I can't settle on one that I like...

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

All I want for Christmas is my one front tooth...

When I was little (over 16 years ago) I fell over in the schoolyard and hit the pavement face-first (not a goalkeeping incident, sorry to disappoint). The result was a substantial chip of my right front tooth. Got a filling then and I've just grown up with this slightly out of kilter tooth that I could feel the edge of the filling on.

Anyway, 16+ years on and the filling wore enough for a chip to become apparent. So I got my current dentist (not the one from 16+ years ago) to redo the filling. If I consider the tooth in isolation, I think he's done a better job - I don't feel a ridge between my actual enamel and the filling, and it looks in proportion to the root of the tooth.

BUT, I'm feeling a little like this guy:

You see, the reason why I knocked out a substantial amount of that tooth while my left front tooth got away completely unscathed was that my right one is a little more prominent. And out of kilter. Woe.

OK, so nothing like Cassi from the most recent Aus Top Model:

But uuugh! So self conscious about it. And double uuugh as perhaps I don't have teeth as effed-up, but she's like so much skinnier than me and stuff... (Wow, aren't I a moo-cow to use another female's bad teeth to make me feel better about mine. You know what's going to happen though? Her agency is bound to make her fix her teeth and so she'll have the last laugh. A last laugh with beautifully straight teeth. At least I know that her skinny legs will break easily if she happens to be on the football pitch. Even if she's on my team. And then I'll be laughing - with my mouth closed.)

The weird thing is that visually it's a less noticeable problem now than what it was with the chip, but mentally aaaarrrgh!

I didn't have braces when I was younger, but with one of my high-school friends considering preventative botox, surely I am entitled to consider braces... it just seems a bit silly for one tooth! Well, probably two - upon closer inspection I think that the tooth to the right of the chipped one is also out of kilter in the same direction but less pronounced.

Being very awful to myself and looking at photos of teeth...

P.S. How amusing is Petstarr's name for the Cassi image? (Click on Cassi's image to be directed to the file located online.)

P.P.S. You HAVE to watch AusNTM in order to completely LOVE Petstarr's AusNTM work. Though I am yet to decide if you're better off watching and THEN reading, or reading and then watching...

P.P.P.S. Once, when my dentist found out that I played football... and that I was a goalkeeper... AND that I had already been kicked in the head a few times... he insisted that I wear a mouth-guard. By then I had already stopped playing, but as I'm thinking about playing this coming season perhaps I won't so if my teeth DO get knocked out, the sports insurance could pay for it. Though I would be in incredible pain...

P.P.P.P.S. I only had the filling re-done yesterday, so I am entitled to be a sook for today. And tomorrow. Perhaps the whole week.

Monday, January 04, 2010


Manchester Utd 0 - Leeds 1


How the hell am I meant to go to sleep now?!?!?