Thursday, December 31, 2009

Out with the old, in with the new

Further to my Charlie Miller musings last week, we now have Moore to add (hee hee, although the pun was not intentional). Perhaps even Reddy had to go for the same reason!

Cecilia sucks at rockclimbing.

a.k.a. Cecilia rockclimbing FAIL.

In the meantime, you can read Faux Fuchsia's blog post on decluttering. Nothing at all to do with football, but she keeps The Decluttering Thread going on the Vogue forums, so she's a saint of sorts.

Especially since I'm trying to cut down so that I don't take excess stuff to Sydney and that I don't leave too much behind in Melbourne.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Fan Letters

It's been a while since I've posted some fan letters - I checked my older ones, I did have to laugh at myself when re-reading the one to Newcastle about how to waste time. But today, something a little more serious. Not that time wasting isn't serious, but...

Dear Mr Pasfield
Your yelling is quite annoying - it's high-pitched, panicky and there's an awful lot of it.

No wonder your defenders don't listen to you! Their eardrums must've burst by now.

If not, perhaps they've taken a preventative measure. So the lesson here is too much yelling and they don't want to listen to you. A bit like Ben Kennedy has experienced. Have a chat to him about it - but please don't yell during this conversation.

Although your yell does provide an endless source of amusement when one tries to mimic it.


- Cecilia
Your biggest yell mimic (and yes, I'm annoying too).

Dear Mr Langerak
If you were a little older I would have undoubtedly already written to you by now - you're such a cheeky little cutie. :) Add your baby face and you really seem illegal.

However, cheekiness and cuteness aside, please learn how to use your body properly. I'm not convinced that that ball you were "shielding" from Brockie was actually out. I suspect that you were in punching distance of the assistant referee and we all know that you really are all limbs. You're kinda like a daddy long legs, but with only four legs. Although two are arms.

So, at training this week, try and have a chat to Carlos. I say try, because I have no idea if he actually speaks English yet. Try playing Charades if the talking thing fails. Though with your long limbs, he may mistake you for a John Cleese/Frank Woodly type and laugh himself silly.

Why Carlos? He is very good at using his (ample) body for shielding and protecting the ball. Get him to show you how he uses his body to shield the ball. It mainly involves sticking your arse out and creating space.

If Carlos offers to take the training further, please be careful. He does have an ample body, and we know he loves chicken, La Ionica chicken. So if you end up at his place for dinner, stick to the breast.

You don't need a big arse to stick it out and create space. I wouldn't want that cute little face of yours ruined by excess fats.


- Cecilia
Your biggest "Awwwwwwwww he's so cute!" gusher.

Dear Mr Vargas
I hate deflections. Please stop trying to do too much so that you don't make proper conduct and the ball follows some random trajectory that even Charlie Eppes couldn't figure out - and he's good at making sense of nothing. I've seen him on TV, so it must be true.

You're also quite slow and a poor marker. No wonder Daal got the better of you. Not to mention previous North Queensland attacks seem to have gotten through due to your inability to mark and/or read the game. Sure sure, the goal happened because of a wayward Leijer pass (intentional, so Charlie might have been able to calculate it), but Daal needed to be better marked.

Also, please don't collect silly yellow cards. The only reason one should collect one is when you've made a serious tackle. Not because you feel like arguing. He's the ref. He has cards. He'll always win. Unless it's Delovski - he seems a bit soft on the cards.


- Cecilia
A paid-up Melbourne Victory member for quite a few years now.

Christmas/New Year holidays

My work office has been closed from December 24 and will reopen on January 11. That's a lot of free time - and while I have much to work on (planning the move) it's too early to start working on it, as nothing really happens until February. It's not even the New Year yet!

The A-League hasn't been all that enticing this season, I'm still wondering how Brisbane was so successful in leaving the league's highest scorer unmarked! It's not as if they can blame Farina now!

Though I did love how Charlie's team won. Hee hee - take that Postekos! :) I wonder if Charlie's comradeship with the younger players was why Postekos needed him gone - after all, Postekos has been a youth coach lately and perhaps he wasn't keen on someone older undermining his authority...

Hmm... Victory are playing tonight - I suppose that's a good way of ensuring that my second layer of nail polish. Perhaps I'll add a photo of it later this evening as Google Image is of no assistance!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Internal injuries?

I continue to wonder if Glen Moss not playing was due to friction between himself and Kevin Muscat. Muscat, as captain and assistant coach, appears to have enormous influence on the team - the Victory defence sometimes gets into serious problems because it seems like they MUST pass the ball to him!

Not being able to communicate well with your defence, means that they can't work for you and you can't work for them. So I can't say that Moss is solely responsible for that 4-0 loss to Central Coast, but I don't think he should be made the scapegoat either.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Archie Thomspon

Enough said.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

So who still hates Archie Thompson?

This was shouted out by a man who sits one row behind me on my left after Thompson had scored his second goal.

He's quite aware of the group I sit amongst that is unhappy with Thompson as a player and as the marquee - someone will semi-regularly yell out, "Archie! You're shit!"

Reading the paper and watching highlights of yesterday's match, it's somewhat (ok, very) frustrating that Thompson is portrayed as a player who is deserving of being considered for the Socceroos squad. The Australian public seem to think that a player who scores a couple of goals in a match is a good player. They fail to realise that Thompson is lazy and needs the whole team to play for him in order for him to be effective.

Gone is Danny Allsopp who worked all over the field – patching up the gaps that occurred in the midfield in defence, gaps which have become more apparent this season. Without Allsopp there is no longer a hard-working, self-sacrificing player in the Victory attack who was the perfect alternative to the generally idle and selfish player that Thompson is.

The number of times that Thompson has been offside this year has been ridiculous. I suspect that if there was a statistic that totalled the distance that each player was offside, Thompson would have it in the bag with the most metres. That he’s rarely slightly offside is an indication him not working for the team – he’s out of play and he’s of no use to the team. Sometimes the ball will head out in his off-side direction. Instead of letting the ball go for a throw-in deeep in the opposition defence, Thompson chooses to become involved in the play – giving the opposition a free-kick further up the field than if he had chosen to let it go.

Do you really want such a “player” in your national team?

So he scored a couple of goals last night. Whoop-de-doo. Those goals were a credit to Ward and Kruse – the quality of those passes to Thompson was outstanding. As Fox Sports news were only replaying Thompson’s goals I had a chance to appreciate those passes. They were perfect.

But the media doesn’t seem to recognise the quality of the pass. It happens often that the goal-scorer is the celebrated one. Unfortunately in this case, Thompson is the one being celebrated – a player who does not deserve to be in the national team, but with the media coverage causes the public to believe that he belongs in the national team! A preposterous idea!

The worst thing is that football is still a misunderstood sport here in Australia. So much of the focus is on scoring goals. It's a mindset that will take a long time to change, having had so many decades of AFL as the primary sport - a sport that is high scoring and where 'booting' the ball up the field is OK. Football is a different kind of sport. The Australian public will need to recognise that it's not AFL on a square pitch, and that there is much more to being a footballer than scoring goals that are served up on a silver plate.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Reasons for my lack of blog presence

I remember being an Honours student in a microbiology lab when I started writing here. I don't think this blog was a procrastination method of mine, I used to have a procrastination list and I don't recall this blog featuring on it.

But I had a hectic time at uni last year - final year, and I decided to really work my arse off. The effort was worth it in the end, I ended up with awesome marks and I also ended up wondering why I hadn't put this kind of effort in earlier. Part of it might have to do with the environmental engineering course having more civil eng subjects in the earlier years, so I just didn't care for it. Even in an integrated subject we had last year, I still feel asleep during a lecture on pipelines.

Of course, it's only natural that I am currently working on civil infrastructure projects. Designing pipelines.

How do such tragedies happen?

Well, it's quite simple really.

  1. I wanted to do a PhD but didn't have the H1 average required to know that you can start a PhD. Yes, I know H2As can normally get you in, but I like certainty.
  2. Like all (I suppose) final year eng students, I applied for graduate positions.
  3. Like most final year eng students, I was successful in gaining a graduate position. I was notified in Semester 1. During exams. With only a week to take up or decline the offer. I was stressed. I wanted certainty. I took it.

So there you go. Is there a moral to this story? I think there is - work harder in your early years of uni so that you have a better idea of your capabilities. That way, come final year you won't be so shocked with the high H1 average in Semester 1. And when all your marks are high H1s in semester 2, you won't be going, "Damn," because you only just found out you have stupidly high marks and can start the PhD.

At least the past 11 months in engineering design/consulting have proven that I don't enjoy it. So when I start the PhD (I won't officially know until mid-December) I won't be wondering what consulting is like.

Last year I was genuinely busy, this year I've hated my job - and it's hard to write when you're unhappy with things.

Bu now have a future to look forward to (although it will be a long 6 weeks until I have confirmation of Future To Look Forward To), so I might be happy enough to start blogging again.

Of course it would also help if I stopped falling asleep during A-League matches because they're boring. And we all know what happenned as a result of me falling asleep in civil eng lectures...

You seem kinda familiar - have we met before?

Oh, you're my blog! I knew that we had met before.

September, October. Two whole months and I haven't done anything here.

Let's face it - the A-League has turned into complete crap this year. I think it was always crap, but this year definitely blows.

And so I have neglected my blog. What's there to write about? I can't pretend that it's a great game - it's not, and it irritates me that the Fox Sports commentators aren't more honest with what they see. But I suppose they can't say it's a shit game - after all they want people to be watching it.

I still attend MV matches, but I can't wait for the second Melbourne team to come along so I can cancel my MV membership without feeling like I'm abandoning the sport.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Book Review: A Year of Sport Travel

It's been almost two months since I last posted - I can only offer excuses for being so time poor, despite no longer studying! It may not seem like much but football coaching, trying to train for the Around the Bay ride, feeling miserable because I hate work, hunting for and choosing between PhD projects and locations, purchasing and getting used to my new [manual] car have all taken their toll on me and my time! So much so that I've even downgraded my expectations for the Around the Bay from 210 km to 100 km. And as my head starts to clear re: work or study, and making decisions where I'll be next year (not in Melbourne by the looks of things) I can turn my attentions to the things that have fallen by the wayside.

One of them has been A Year of Sport Travel - a book that was sent to me by the lovely people at Lonely Planet because of this blog! So it's only fitting that I review it here.

It's the kind of book that I imagine the "typical" sport-loving Australian loving. We are a sport-obsessed nation, and given the increasing rates of obesity I suspect that we are really a sport-spectating-loving nation (unless we refer to the A-League, which seems to be having crowd number problems.) Organised in weekly intervals, A Year of Sport Travel offers four sports a week that one can choose from to watch (and even to participate if you are so inclined).

Naturally all the expected events are there - the World Cup, Olympics, World Athletics Championships (OK so it's not on everyone's radar but I care and it's my blog so there), Premier League and FA Cup. Also are other people's "expected events" - the Ashes (although given recent results, it may not be a suitable 'sport' to refer to), Dakar Rally, Tri-Nations Rugby, Tour de France, Winter Olympics, err... AFL's Grand Final, Wimbeldon, Boston Marathon, etc.

But the best part of the book is that it mixes the typical with the non-typical; this is why I really loved the book. And by organising the events by calendar, you are as likely to come up with something obscure when checking out the obvious events. Take the FA Cup - an event that happens in May each year and that I would expect any readers of this blog are familiar with. Turn the page over, and this week in May is shared with Indy 500 (meh), World Table Tennis Championships (meh - although it is a fun sport to play after a few drinks and hand-eye coordination has long gone) and CHEESE ROLLING! On the last Monday in May, a 7 pound circle of Double Gloustershire is rolled down a hill and people chase after it! With a seriously steep grade and multiple heats... well, check out the YouTube video for the fun that this event brings!

And if you thought cheese rolling looked dangerous, there's a hybrid event that could up it given Lennox Lewis describes both disciplines as "pretty violent"...

I tend to agree with the final comments of chess-boxing not yet the best of both worlds, or really the best of either - so when picking between the two I'd go the cheese rolling. I could stay in Europe for the following two months:
  • early June - the Giostra Della Quintana in Italy with knights, lances and horses
  • late June - Wimbeldon (if feeling civilised) or the Calcio Storico (if not feeling civilised and feeling like staying in Italy)
  • early July - the Wife-Carrying Championships in Finland (where the wife doesn't necessarily have to be married to the carrier according to the rules)
  • throughout July - the Tour de France throughout July (I had to have something normal)
  • mid-August - the European Minigolf Championships
  • late-August - I could come back to Wales for World Bog Snorkelling!

Definitely my kind of trip - something serious with enough zaniness to keep me hyper for a while!

The only downside to the book? Far too much cricket! The Ashes, the Cricket World Cup, and Indian Premier League! Although it's probably aimed at Australians... and they do have three football events - four if I include the Olympics!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Found myself a goalkeeper!

At the start of the season, I had a goalkeeper for the girls that I coach. Unfortunately the first team goalkeeper was injured so I lost mine. She has now played too many matches with the firsts, so I ended up without a goalkeeper. So I've been throwing randoms in there - some cope, some don't.

On the weekend I decided to use an U12 (Izzy) who plays on the pitch for her team and in goals for the U13s. She's not a tiny U12, so I figured she'd cope with the U16s.

Did she ever! All the other parents were impressed with her - I had the advantage of having spent time with her on Thursday nights where I help out with the U12 & U13 girls. It's one thing to see Izzy in her age group (where she mucks about a bit) and then to see her step up for the U16s in terms of her own performance but also the maturity to talk to the defence and claim the ball.

Looking at the U12, U13 and U16 fixtures... there's a chance I might be able to get her for most of the remaining games. I've put it all together in Excel, and calculated the travel time using Google Maps. Known as The Izzy Scheme, I've identified 7 of our 10 remaining matches where she has the time to make it to our matches (she could play 3 matches on one day on 3 of those days), and 2 where she'd have to decide between the 13s and 16s. Provided her parents are happy to drive about a bit, we may be able to cope without leaking goals for the rest of the season. It's just unfortunate that it took an injury and illness spree in the 16s to give me the opportunity/excuse to ask her to join us!

Back to Sunday - I had somewhat silly opposition. Their coach's excuse was that it was their first season. Heck, it's my excuse too - but I'd never use it! Anyway, we were a player short the whole time so I risked playing 3 defenders (vs. 3 strikers) the whole game as I noticed that when my defence pushed up to half-way, the strikers came up with them (expected). But when the wing-backs would push up past half-way, the strikers came up with them again! BONUS! Hee hee. :) I love stupid opposition. Or rather, stupid coaches who love to have excuses for poor performances. Unfortunately we couldn't score (and we definitely had our opportunities) so it ended up 0-0.

Hopefully with 11 players and perhaps some subs, we can get a result next week. :) I'll ask Izzy if she enjoyed herself on Sunday, and if so I'll ask her parents if they're happy with The Izzy Scheme. Now, here's hoping the 16As coach and player movement "manager" don't realise what I've found...

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Random moments in junior football

I played one girls in left midfield this morning for the first half. In relation to where I was standing, she was on my side and attacking to my left. I moved her into the more familiar right midfield in the second half. So she was still on my side but should have been attacking to my right.

Should have been...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Round 5

Nearly 6 months into my grad job, and still struggling to find that work/life balance that is often spoken about - as a result I've fallen quite sick, and not had time to update the blog. I have made (most) training sessions - notable exceptions being at the height of my lethargy and one crazy week at work.

Nice and short today - I am leaving a comment that one of the most difficult things about coaching juniors is that you have to stay positive. We were leading 1-0 today, and ended up 1-1. It's only the second time we haven't lost, but frustrating nonetheless. The worst being when some of your players just don't have "it" but you need to maintain their enthusiasm and belief - even if you know that they're a liability for the team when on the park.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

The junior season is kicking off!

So I have now accepted the role of being coach of the 2nd U16 girls team - which is a little off my plan of being an assistant coach, but should still be fun. That it's a second team means that the girls will still have training if work demands force me out of a training session here and there.

Got the fixture today, so it's time for me to start planning the rest of my life (whatever little there is anyway!) around the girls. I'm looking forward to the frustration, madness and general fun - I think it's safe to say that I missed coaching last year.

In my league is the club where I coached two years ago (while the junior part of the club was separate from the senior club that shared the grounds) and where I have played in the past (while the senior club was separate). Kinda looking forward to the 21st of June now - quite a few of my ex-teammates play at 1pm, and then my team will play their U16s at 3.15pm.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Finally, we have a football shirt.

Thank you Central Coast Mariners.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Labour Day Holiday Boredom!

But not bored enough to get back to work. I've almost finished writing my conference paper - I only have to tweak a few figures and then the nervous wait for acceptance will begin. The strange thing is that since I've decided that I will start my PhD sooner rather than later due to how much work has been driving me nuts, I've started to enjoy work again. Go figure that one out. Perhaps the happiness is due to the relief that I'm not "stuck" there. Of course, I'll be earning less when I go back to uni so my buy-an-apartment-and-move-out plan has completely failed.

One of the reasons that really "helped" me decide that I didn't want to stay at work was their piss-poor excuse for why I was not allowed to teach at uni this semester. Initially I just accepted it - really, what can a newbie really do? But when I found out another graduate can teach (he told me) at the same uni as I had plans to, but I can't - well, it really upset me.

So until I go back to uni I will have to be content with coaching. :) I have decided that since I had offered to be flexible with my hours when I said I wanted to teach microbiology, that I will be completely inflexible now with training nights. i.e. I will leave at 5pm, or perhaps earlier. Of course I'd get in at some ridiculously early time to squeeze in my hours and any physical activity I choose to partake in (my knee rarely hurts these days - except when running downhill). Add that I don't particularly see myself at the company by the time the year ends, and it's even more of a reason to be a bit more ballsy with my hours/demands.

These long days will cause me to be irritable, but hopefully I'll enjoy the coaching enough to balance the irritability. Of course coaching has its frustrating moments, so it will be interesting to see how I cope! The club had a bit of a trial-session a few weekends ago with the U14 to U16 girls. It's amazing that such a gulf exists between the age-groups. I'm sure the U14s would have been all over the U16s if we played them against each other.

The weird part was that once you moved a decent U14 to the U16 group, suddenly they became a different player. And not in a good way. Might have something to do with confidence, but all their skills just disappeared. It may also have something to do with trust - that the U14 with the U16s at any given time didn't know the other girls and hence stopped looking up, so their passes went awry. Doesn't explain the loss of touch - might have been nervousness/lack of confidence after all.

With the club looking at squad-based training rather than team-based, it will be interesting to see how it works out for the players and for the club. The club's made it clear why they decided to do it, but they also acknowledge that it's foreign territory for them. They are also willing to return to team-based training if they can see it's not working. I'm intrigued to see how it all works out.

The A-League season is now over, and I don't think I made an swooning posts, so Fabian Barbiero deserves a mention. He seems to have a lovely attitude combined with those cute looks and decent footballing ability. If only Vukovic would have that attitude, perhaps I could publicly swoon over him again (I've decided that Vuko can be an a-hole; there's confidence and then there's arrogance. Don't ask me why I feel that way, he just annoys me somewhat. Despite how hot he is.)

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Long time between drinks

Sorry, I know. But spending all day at work bored behind a computer followed by coming home to sit behind a computer to do other work (which I enjoy but don't get paid for) means I don't really want to continue sitting behind it!

Anyway, I may have found a home for my coaching exploits this year - and they seem keen to let me have a go at goalkeeping coaching, so I'm looking forward to that. :) I'll try and keep the updates on that front coming, as we all know how well Melbourne Victory did on the weekend (even though I missed half of the match due to going out for dinner...)