Feel it, it is here

I’ve been waiting for this email. And now it has arrived:

I love a good package (who doesn’t?), and with just 4 days until the first Championship match of the new season (although 7 days until our first Championship match of the season), I was wondering if a good package was going to come my way. Well, finally, it has.

And there’s an early bird offer. Kaboom!

On the other end of the spectrum, there are the pay as you go deals: £25 per month or [gasp] £10 per game. Ten pounds!
That’s right up there with R500 per baboon. You could actually almost get an actual match ticket for that. Although the air fare might bump things up a bit.

Anyway, now that my email has arrived, I am going to sort my subscription so as not to miss out on anything exciting. And by that – incredibly – I mean Millwall at home next weekend.

UPDATE:
Aww yiss!

Well done

I’m really feeling rough today, so I’ve missed out on the excitement of the final day.

Well done to the U21s, who managed their first ever point as a team.
And really well done to the U21 women, who pulled off an incredible win against all the odds.

More from me tomorrow.

Still here

Still here watching the Dodgeball, and while the U21s haven’t got their first win yet, they are getting better with every game. There are clear signs that there is a lot of promise for the future for this young, inexperienced team.

It’s good stuff, and I’m so happy that my boy is part of it.

Off court, there are a lot of smiles and camaraderie between the nations, and the junior and U21 games have been played in great spirit.

Sadly, the same can’t be said of the senior games. There’s been a lot of chat about respect and good sportsmanship after some seriously heated moments yesterday.

Really nasty.

The differing attitudes to coaching are interesting to watch. Of course, everyone’s in it to win it, but the SA guys are also there to play fair. There are smiles, encouragement, support. The Egyptian players and coaches are the same until they don’t like something, then – without exception – it’s full on Jeykell and Hyde stuff. Kloppesque whine mode engaged: at the refs, the players, sometimes the fans, often some deity or other. It’s regularly been genuinely unpleasant.

Nah then, Mardybum.

And disappointingly, you can see it running off on some of the younger players already. A hint of arrogance, a bit of sarcasm, disputing decisions, chirping at the ref.

But then, what do you expect?

There’s a lot more to playing sport than winning. If there wasn’t, no-one would bother doing it. But there are so many life lessons you can learn from this sort of thing and it’s just really sad to see which ones seem to be getting through.

U21

So here it is. Our big news. No. Not another child, just another amazing achievement by one of the ones we already have.

Because today, our son represented the U21 South African Dodgeball team in the African Cup against Egypt.

At 16 years old.

Mmm. Lighting is that typical sports hall nastiness that we photographers love so much. Eww.
But wow, haven’t we come a long way since the little guy that many of you will know from my twitter profile image?

Yeah, I know that your only experience of dodgeball is that movie. But while it’s social, it’s also a good deal more serious than that. As the months of training for up to 10 hours each week should testify.

Officially sanctioned by one of the two international bodies, The African Cup is spread over three days. The competition is tight, passionate and often gets quite heated. This year’s event is near Somerset West, and you can get tickets here if you want to come along and watch. And if you can’t make it in person, all the games are being streamed as well.

The U21s’ first game didn’t go so well result-wise, but that’s really beside the point. It’s just been an amazing day and we’re so proud of our lad.

Double up

I didn’t pay the £25 to watch United’s 6 pre-season friendlies. I wasn’t sure I could watch them all anyway, and £25 seems like a lot when the opponents are Casa Pia (won 2-1), Lincoln (see below), Scunthorpe, Mansfield, Burton and Barnsley. No offence to those clubs, but I would have thought a bit more about it if there had been a Spurs or a Bordeaux or something in there.

I might still go for the season long package again though, if it hasn’t gone up too much. And that even though there won’t be a Spurs or a Bordeaux or something in there.

Anyway, if I had bought into the friendlies, I would have got more for my money today, with United playing two (two!) back to back 60 minute training games against Lincoln City.

Fotmob handled this unusual scenario quite nicely (see above), but Google got all confused and claimed that the first game had been abandoned and the second one cancelled.
That clearly wasn’t the case, and personally, I would have liked a third game to see if we could have got to 23.

Again, no disrespect to Lincoln, but these are games that we would expect to be winning, so it’s all about the intricacies and the performances, rather than the results. And the boss seemed pretty happy with those aspects, so I think it’s safe to say that we’re definitely winning the league this season*.

Bring it on*.

* T&Cs apply