Day 472 – Back for the final

But not by choice.

So this is an interesting one. We’re heading back home today, and we’ll be back in time for the Euro 2020 Final this evening. We’re not coming home specifically for the final. I think that even if England were in it, I probably wouldn’t be doing that.
And maybe England are in it. Or maybe they’re not.
As I write this, we’re more than 60 hours away from their semi-final kick off, so I have no idea what’s going to happen.

See?

If you’re wanting my predictions, you’re foolish. I can’t even manage to predict the result of one lot of games right, so asking me to predict to two lots is clearly ridiculous when I probably don’t even have the right teams to choose from for the second one.

Anyway, may the better team win and all that.

(I will not be staying up for the big show down between whichever South American teams end up in their final, either.)

Day 453 – Rain and England

Over 100mm of rain today has soon put me in my place as far as celebrating the lack of winter goes.

Never mind though. We had a successful trip out to The Flats this morning to renew some passports (no, we’re not going anywhere), and there’s a free-standing fireplace to light and an England game to ‘look forward to’ this evening.

Yes, I enjoy watching football, and yes, I’m English, but I’m no huge fan of the England national team.
Sure, I’ll watch them and I’ll support them, but it’s not life-ending for me when they don’t do well.
‘Nice when they win, meh when they don’t’ sums it up nicely.

I was saying recently that this is likely because when I was growing up, the England team had no relevance to me. All the games were played at Wembley. That was somewhere I’d never been and never seen – it meant nothing to me. (It still means very little to me.) So it was always based in London, and London was a long way away and… well… had no relevance to me. Added to that, the fact that none of my heroes were ever involved, and you really shouldn’t underestimate the effect that can have on a young kid’s level of interest.

Then there was the playing style. English domestic football was always more physical, more rough and tumble; harder and faster. And yet when I watched the England team, they always slowed it all down and played to the foreign opposition’s strengths instead of their own. I never understood that.

Aside from the matches of the 1990 World Cup, most of which I spent in Germany and had to be seen to be a total England supporter, I can only think of one other memorable England game: the 2001 5-1 win against Germany. For some reason (beer, probably) I felt like a proper fan that evening, as we watching in the Britannia in Headington before heading down the Cowley Road. That was a fun day.

But look, I’d much rather be watching Sheffield United: then and now.

That said, it’s either the England game or sitting outside in the rain, so I think Ill still be watching this evening.

Day 100, part 2 – What we will see, what we won’t see.

I’m about to walk the beagle in the sunshine, but I did want to put this quick prediction out before tomorrow.

As described above, some pubs in England re-opened today. Some people thought that this was not a good idea, that it wasn’t the right time, that people would abuse the privilege.
Well, there’s never going to be a right time, and some people will abuse the privilege, and those are the images that we’ll see in the newspapers and all over social media this weekend.

None of this sort of thing, illegal until just this morning:

Because that doesn’t fit the narrative.

There’s already been condemnation that the Government allowed pubs “to open from 6am”. No-one cared to expand that they was because they told pubs that they couldn’t open at midnight.

If you don’t want to go to a pub, don’t go.
I’m not going to a pub.
You choose.

But it’s like:

Only by forcing people to make the right choice can we have freedom to make our own decisions.

But don’t tar everyone with the same brush.

Pub owners (already a dying breed) have worked hard and spent a lot of money getting their businesses ready for today. Please don’t join in with the rabble and undermine their efforts or their right to earn a living.

Notes on the Rugby World Cup Final (and why I can’t lose)

A quick post on this event because it’s the only important thing over here at the moment* and it’s a matchup between my home nation and my adopted nation. But first, some groundwork:

Rugby is not my favourite sport, and thus, this game isn’t as important to me as it is to a lot of other people, for whom rugby is their favourite sport.

I do live in South Africa, but I am English. Therefore, I support South Africa in each and every sport and endeavour, unless they are playing against England, in which case, I support England. This is not an unreasonable stance: if any Saffas want to take issue with it (and there’s usually at least one who does), then they should consider their approach on an equivalent scenario should they be living in the UK. But then, even if they foolishly and disingenuously argue that they would drop the Springboks and follow England religiously, I still think my method makes sense.

It makes sense to me, anyway. And that’s really all that matters.

So yes, despite being in South Africa and being surrounded by South Africans tomorrow, I will be supporting England, cheering them on, hoping they are successful in tackling, running and scoring, and generally feeling optimistic that they will win the game. (A little assistance for anyone that hasn’t quite grasped the idea of “supporting”, there.)

But… (there’s always a but, isn’t there?) because of my lack of passion for egg-chasing generally, and because I’ve been here for almost 16 years now, I’m not 100% invested in my choice of prospective winner. If it were football and I’d only been here for a few weeks, I would be, but it’s not football and this is my home, so I’m not.
For context, the “big game” for me this weekend is Sheffield United v Burnley.

What I’m saying (and here, you might argue that I’m getting a bit soppy) is that because of the absolute state that SA is in at the moment, because we are faced literally each and every day with ever more tales of crime, corruption, general misery and impending economic disaster, I would dearly love a bit of good news. We all would.

It’s an old adage that sport unites, but it really is true. The passion and support that the Springboks’ World Cup run has generated has brought the nation together – it always does – and left the naysayers at the extremes of the political spectrum outnumbered and thankfully, thoroughly outvoiced.

And so, should South Africa defy the odds and lift the trophy tomorrow, I will really not mind too much. More than anything since JZ resigned as President, and more than anything until JZ is convicted on all those corruption charges, that would really make a huge positive difference to this repeatedly battered nation.

In conclusion, I really can’t lose tomorrow*.
I might as well just drink beer and have a good time.

 

* T&Cs apply

Borrowed tweet sums me up

England beat Australia in the Rugby World Cup quarter final:

I mean… it’s great. Well done, boys and all that, but… that’s about all.

I will be happy with two more wins in the competition, but my Alan Partridge shrug will remain.