Finding a reason to get up at 5.30am

Yesterday morning I went to a local 24/7 pub to watch England play the USA. It was a friendly, but a rather special one as it was the last time Wayne Rooney will play for England. It is funny how a 5.30am start sounds so horrible, until it is for something we actually want to do. For me, it was watching my country play live in London.

It was pretty empty, it is an outside pub in the high street without walls but sheltered by a roof. There were some early birds, a couple of people in suits having their morning coffee as well as two guys in high visibility jackets preparing for a hard days work. I would have looked rather out of place there in my causal clothes if it wasn’t for the TV I was staring at for 90 minutes.

England won the game 3-0.

There is something I love about being awake early, when it is my choice. I love the silence as I walk through the streets, the low hum of traffic as cars slowly start to hit the roads but in small numbers, the endless space not taken up by the masses at rush hour. Upon heading back home after the game, the city really came back to life. What fascinated me was that I was heading to central station but because I was already in Brisbane’s CBD, everyone was spilling out of central station. This meant that when I was walking towards it, 99% of people were walking by and very little were walking in my direction. It was pretty interesting and a reminder of how our society- and species in general- has been programmed to do things in very similar ways. Set our alarms for the same wake up, catch the same train, drink the same coffee and see each other on the same work break. I am sure by 5.30pm the lines of people were travelling in the opposite direction.

Sometimes, things become so much easier to do when we aren’t forced to do them. 5.30am starts for example. Life gets easier the more freedom we gain, and our aim should be to gain as much freedom in this life as possible

 


Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

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Happy blogging,

Sam

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How to deal with your team being knocked out of the World Cup, national pride and ignoring online trolls

So at 1am Eastern Australian time, the final game of the 2018 World Cup was played and France won the competition. Congratulations France, a very good team and hardly a shock result. This didn’t make me look forward to my 77th day of farmwork today as I work with a French girl that I knew would be more than happy to boast about it. I also work with her friend, a Belgian girl that beat England to third place the day before. The French girl was more upset she wasn’t at home celebrating with her fellow Frenchmen and women.

I’m honestly happier with our performance at this World Cup more than anything. This was the joint-best performance by England in a World Cup on foreign soil, we ended our penalty shootout curse and made it to the final four. 

Also, football helps inspire me to do as well as I can in my personal life. It is times like these that make me realise that I cannot solely rely on others for bragging rights, if I want to achieve I have to put my own effort in. The England players, as well as the players from all 32 teams, are representing a nation but also being the best they can be, making the most of their own lives. Losing helps remind me that we have to be the best we can be and probably have to rely on ourselves if we want to be successful and victorious as individuals regardless of the paths we choose to go down. 

But back to the recent tournament. The majority of England thinks that the team did very well and are happy with that. But that doesn’t prevent many people making their voices heard on YouTube videos and England’s social media sites. 

‘No one cares’

‘Without the trophy though’

‘At least something came back…’

‘You were lucky to get that far’

There are some very bitter people in the world. It takes effort to be negative online- first, I have to search the page I want to be negative on. That is unless I have already followed the page and get regular updates, which confuses me as to why someone would ‘like’ something or someone in the first place if they prefer to insult. Secondly, I have to hit ‘add comment’, type away and spread a little poison. This procedure takes a little time, enough time to make me think ‘Do I really want to spend my time doing this?!’. 

Admittedly I have been a little salty on occasions in my life, and I have been drawn in to respond to people too. Now I refrain from such comments altogether, instead I prefer to let them inspire a new post on my blog. It’s healthier and more productive.

I understand some of the hate, some people get their kicks from negativity for a number of reasons. Some are bitter they may have been knocked out by England, as I’m sure many England fans are and have been in the past. Every country is prone to this. Some see England as a big footballing nation (despite many England fans being more than willing to disagree due to our bad World Cup and Euro record) and take great pride in seeing Iceland knock us out in 2016 and Croatia this time round in the semi finals. 

In my opinion, we were much more humble during this tournament than many would think. Yes we chanted ‘it’s coming home!’ endlessly throughout each stage, a song we have sang since its release 22 years ago to no avail. If you haven’t heard it or seen the video, take a look. It’s pretty catchy:

It is a song we sing with great optimism and a little humour. If you asked many people in recent decades if they truly felt it was coming home as they belt the lyrics out in chorus, it would seem apparent that we know we aren’t the greatest football nation to grace this earth. If we are great at something, it is laughing at ourselves. It is a shame British humour doesn’t always seem so apparent outside of the border. 

But with this in mind, how many other nations have anthems that actually envision the glory seen by the eight teams that have won the competition in its 88 years of existence? I’m sure a few. Can you imagine any teams chant being humble? 

‘La la la la… we may potentially win with a good performance… La la la’. 

Not in a million years! 

Sport is about competition, and having the belief in winning surely helps it become reality. It doesn’t bother me that nations convince themselves they will be victorious. It’s a football game, not a world war. But then again, I guess I am being over dramatic. It’s only a few comments after all. But it does seem to be aimed towards the more dominant teams in world football. If Iceland’s fans shouted at the top of their lungs how great they are, it is seen as cute. National pride. If it’s a more dominant nation, it is arrogance. I guess that comes with it, everyone roots for the underdog. 

But that is what many of us think we are. Underdogs! We never expected to get as far as we did, the hope of winning something that we haven’t won since ’66 has us dreaming but not expecting. We are in that weird place between seeing ourselves as underdogs (not to the same degree as smaller footballing nations of course) and being seen overseas as an overly optimistic country that thinks it is a favourite, when really it is an underdog. 

Gary Lineker, former England player and now TV presenter for Match of the Day for the BBC, tweeted a great response to the accusations of England being ‘arrogant’ with the song:


See…

Just having a laugh, guys…
Just another laugh, he didn’t really buy a trophy cabinet. I don’t think…
 

So these are my thoughts on this. Maybe I’m being too bitter myself, it’s only football banter after all and boy did I love seeing our European and South American football rivals leave the competition early. But I wouldn’t bother searching their national teams Instagram to talk shit. If we spent as much time being creative as so many people do being negative, we would all be winners.

What do you think? Do you feel certain nations of the world are seen as arrogant whilst other nations get away with it? How does your country compare and was it in this years World Cup? 

As always, I would love to hear your opinion and personal perspective wherever you are.

See you soon, Euro 2020!

Super Bowl 52: Will I ever learn?

I enjoy getting caught up in major sporting events. The current problem with watching american football for me is the timezone. I wanted to watch the Superbowl yesterday, unfortunately I couldn’t as it was on around midday here in Sydney, smack bang in the middle of my shift. Instead I watched these highlights later on.

Midday on a Monday didn’t stop many Sydneysiders gathering in bars and casinos to watch the game on the televisions that tuned in around the city. I am sure many American tourists were able to watch the game and enjoy a beer in the sun… It was a pretty friendly timezone for those that were without work commitments.

But a confession. There are a few things I still don’t get about the sport, things that I have been too lazy to actually research and has been the only thing that has held me back from getting really into the game. I am ashamed of this.

There are a few questions that stand out for me. I am sure I have plenty more however an understanding of these will be enough for me to actually watch a game with a greater enjoyment to confusion ratio.

1. Those yellow flags thrown on the field from time to time, what offences are they acknowledging?

2. The knee down in the end zone after a punt. I’m not sure of this one either.

3. A fumble. How does a fumble differentiate from an incomplete pass? Does a player have to simply touch the ball for it to be classed as a fumble? Do two hands need to be on the football before it’s loose? Does the football have to avoid touching the floor?

4. At 6.47 in the highlight video, after analyzing the replays to determine if it is a touchdown the referee states ‘The receiver possesses the football and becomes a runner’. Does becoming a ‘runner’ change the play? Are runners restricted to certain limitations or have to adhere to differing rules?

So much to learn, so little time.

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I could Google the answers to these, but that would be boring. With the majority of my audience being American, it would be silly to not make a post of it and speak the community. Much more fun.

Did you watch it wherever you are in the world?

And last question… was it a good thing that the Eagles beat the Patriots?

 

Featured Photo by Martin Reisch on Unsplash

Familiar accents in a far away land

Today has been a good day. Very busy and therefore productive, tiring and therefore a good workout. It is also one that ended in high spirits as Australia will be in the 2018 World Cup after beating Honduras 3-1 in Sydney. There were- and I am sure still are- yellow shirts everywhere in the streets and will be long into the night. Yellow shirts and football (soccer) have always been associated with Brazil, you could have been fooled into thinking you were walking back from the Maracana tonight rather than the ANZ Stadium in Sydney’s Olympic Park or out of the many bars showing the game.

This was a development very late on in the evening and wasn’t the plan for this post, however if any occasion results in fireworks it is probably worth a mention*. I originally wanted to post about a couple I met today from the UK, from my city in fact. In fact, just down the road in a neighbouring village, we finally worked out the distance after the lady said ‘you know, near the Red Kite Pub?’. Pubs are a great marker for getting your bearings if you are lost in the UK, particularly in a village or small town.

There is always a great deal of excitement when you overhear a conversation in your own dialect when abroad. You would never have spoken to them if they were sitting next to you in a cafe back home, now suddenly they are your best friends and you are planning life together. It is like our caveman instincts kick in and we need to group up in an environment of strange sounding people. No matter how far you travel, it is just a matter of time before you encounter one of your fellow citizens. This can be seen as a blessing or a curse. Here in Sydney, it seems like a Brit is around every corner. Back when I was living in West Texas, we were few and far between. I loved the opportunity to only hear my accent once in a blue moon, it made the encounter much more interesting.

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Do you enjoy meeting your fellow countrymen and women when on holiday, or do you see a holiday as a break from the norm and therefore avoid fellow citizens at all costs?

*I am unsure if the fireworks were directly related to the win tonight, however it was very fitting even if unrelated.

Featured photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

My taxi driver Dave

Meet Dave. Every now and then I will grab a taxi into the city when I am either late or in a lazy mood. Sometimes, I will get one specific taxi driver and today, it was him. Opening the passenger door felt like eternity.


You know those same conversations you have with someone that doesn’t remember you? Groundhog day, a bad case of déjà vu for the whole journey. It starts with Dave asking me if I like football. I do, however if I say I do, I know I won’t get a word in edge ways for the next 15 minutes. Thankfully I have been in this situation before. I am prepared.

‘Erm, not really, I never get the time to see the games, I am usually working’

This didn’t work. 

I still didn’t get a word in edge ways. In fact I managed to take this photo of St James Boulevard, the road leading up to our stadium which you can see above, hidden behind some modern high rise hotels and student accommodation. He had no idea I took the photo…

I feel I could have stuck my head out of the window and took a selfie without him realising. The longer the conversation/ lecture went on, the more he convinces himself I must like football. I know I do, but I told him I didn’t. Isn’t it funny how people can be so into something that they choose that you like it? I am not mad, I find it hilarious. I was chuckling to myself most of the way.

He is a nice guy and what can I say, I would rather a friendly taxi driver than one that was miserable. I don’t need those vibes from people, however a little more variety in conversation would be desired. I wonder what it would have taken to not have listened to a one way conversation about football… 

What if I told him I hated it? That it was the last thing I would have wanted to talk about? I honestly don’t think this would have made much difference.

‘Well that’s a shame, I was going to ask how you felt about our most recent signing. Did you know that he…’

Oh Dave, you beauty.