Tag Archives: Rugby

Diary

Why start a diary ?

Hello Dear Reader,

It has been a couple of weeks since I had the chance to sit down and write anything other than work stuff. I have been rather busy. I do have to finish my first book, ‘Zen and the Art of Timetabling’ plus an article for a magazine and just get back to being creative.

Why am I mentioning a diary? Well, I noticed that Michael Palin was visiting Stoke-on-Trent during his Thirty Years Tour. It was an opportunity not to be missed. Tickets safely purchased, time arranged and then wait. To be fair, I was very busy and just had no chance to read up on the tour, so it was a real nice surprise about what I would see and hear.

I am a long time fan of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, in parts akin to a radio favourite The Goon Show. Actually, when it was first pitched the BBC called it the Go On show. Fortunately for the world The Goons came together, pun.

Settling down in the theatre, I remembered I had a been given Michael Palin’s audio version of some of his diaries. It was brilliant to listen to. It gave an insight as to why you should keep that diary. I do enjoy listening to people who talk about writing. You can learn from it if you take the time. It is not always easy as you may feel that you can not win but you can.

Michael talked about what his diaries enabled him to do which is remember and reflect, so long as I understood that right. There was a very good reason why he started, I won’t give it away as it is a spoiler. His diaries span thirty years and I suspect there is more to come. He was very engaging, just himself on stage with a few film clips. Of course Python was mentioned, as was Ripping Yawns and his travel shows. For me, it explained clearly why a diary not only helped but created its own book. In these electronic days, we often write on Facebook, what we are eating, why we feel joy and the latest rugby news. That might be rather bad given the weekend. (This will only work at one point).

Maybe it is something younger people should be encouraged to try. Rather than using electronic study, grab a notebook and just put your thoughts down on paper. Many writers do that as a habit or again should. It is also not to late to start one and as Michael shows, the entries do not have to be pages long. It is just capturing that thought.

I really enjoyed listening to him, it made me want to read his books again and get back to writing, which is good. Hence this new blog, which after all is sort of a diary or is it a letter or is both?

If you get the chance, I thoroughly recommend seeing his show. Here is the link for Michael Palin. I do have an idea for the Christmas break and I must find my ‘Round the World in 80 Days’ DVD.

Tagline: ‘Dear diary here I am 3rd October 2015, 8pm listening to a rugby match. Oh …’

 

Sporting Rant

Hello Dear Reader

Sporting Rant.

I must warn you that these are all my own thoughts.

In the past few months and weeks, there have been a number of high-profile changes to televised sporting events. The last most notable one was the Open golf championship, held here in the UK. This has moved from the BBC (free-to-air) to pay-per-view.

Why? It is certainly not for coverage these days as free-to-air reach as many homes as cable and satellite, I would argue. Given the advances in televisions, set-top boxes and the interweb, you no longer need the old fashioned ariel to see these channels. There can be only one motivation in my view, money.

Now we hear that one of my most enjoyed competitions, the rugby union 6 Nations is to be split between BBC and ITV. This,they say is a good thing. No it is not. Not for me anyway, The last time ITV took over one of my favoured sports was F1. That was a disaster given the so-called conditions they claimed they would show F1. ITV cannot exist without advert breaks, hence F1, a live moving, changing sport, would come complete with advert breaks. However, they would be sensitive to the action, make sure you never missed anything and be better than the Beeb. What rubbish. There was one notorious moment when in the British Grand Prix of all places, Hill was about to overtake Schumacher. It was amazing driving, wheel-to-wheel, Hill was fighting to get past, you could his front tyres level with Schumacher’s rear. Then he was almost level, the left hand of corner coming up, Hill would take the lead or they would crash or the box for soap power would make clothes all cleaner?

I sat there for seconds thinking I had changed channel, what was I doing? But no, ITV had gone to an advert break because it was half past the hour and no make what the advert break had to come before the amazing action. It took me almost an hour to get through to ITV to explain to a very fed-up sounding person, how the idiots had been allowed to ruin the race. Not only did they cut at the action point but they rejoined at a point where clearly Hill had finished his move and was well clear. They lied. At no point did they ‘freeze’ the action and come back as though we missed nothing. F1 went into the dustbin for me.

This is why I am so against ITV with my favoured sports. Currently, highlights of Premier Rugby Union (once on BBC 2 Sunday evening) can now be found, well only if you really really look, somewhere on an ITV channel at midnight or 1am.

At a time when we need to get people into sport, when people need to enjoy sport or just have something to look forward to rather than soaps, why does this country allow the removal of sports from good broadcasters? Don’t forget, the BBC showed paralympic long before channel 4 did. Their coverage of the London games was poor in many places.  They missed 90% of the marathon just about, they missed a gold medal archery match between two, TWO, Brits. BBC did a far better coverage. Now the Olympics is under threat and guess who will clearly want to bid.

We need money in sports, but not at the expense of good coverage to boost interest in the young. Cricket, now almost gone from free-to-air often struggles to get people into grounds. Golf, may well suffer the same fate as less will see it. Many years ago, the RFU had all the England 6 Nation matches on Sky for one year. It nearly cost them more than just a few pennies.

There needs to be a change in how free-to-air is financed in order to keep sporting interests alive. Remember when athletics went to ITV, they disappeared and nothing from overseas was shown. However,the BBC (again) brought coverage from the overseas meetings.  I wonder if interest went down in the sports then? Like wise, when the BBC showed the Olympics in my sport, archery, numbers went up. Maybe that is just to simple. There is in some countries what is called the ‘Crown Jewels’, those sports that must remain free-to-air. It is said by Sky and BT that they have enhanced certain sports by taking them away from free-to-air, but for me at what cost. You can read more of this at the BBC here; http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/33357440

So now I have to consider watching England rugby 6 Nations matches with adverts and annoying bits. Humm.

Tagline: ‘Can someone tell them the match started’

6 Nations

Hello Dear Reader

6 Nations

In a week’s time the Six Nations rugby starts again. It is one of the best competitions and one of the oldest around in sport. Rugby is a huge sport, it has been liked to chess. There are clear tactics akin to chess in the game play. You have the Forwards, the ones that put themselves on the line sacrifice at each play, forcing the other team to change its play. Forwards are hardened tough players, they push hard to get the ball, smashing into the opponents. They can often drag players in blinding the other teams captain. Like a chess board, you need to watch every square inch of the pitch. never be fooled by just what is in front of you. The sleight of hand, as the scrum-half mis-directs, waiting as his, backs strike, taking the ball to score. It is a hard brutal game.

The six nations; England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France and Italy, battle for honours, the Triple Crown, the Calcutta Cup, the Grand Slam. Each team plays the other once at proud stadiums packed with fans. Here is one of the differences with this sport. The fans sit next to each other, no separation, no need to worry about them. These games are cherished, followed moment by moment, players roared on and then moments of perfect silence. The hush that comes over both sets of fans as the kicker attempts to place an odd shaped ball between to imposing posts.

Again, here is another difference. The crowd respect the players, the action, the play. They do shout and scream, even at the television as I know, but they respect the game. Afterwards, they even have a drink with the opposition fans.

Although the six nations only lasts for a short time it is explosive, fast and dramatic. This year it has added meaning, as all the teams will take part in the Rugby World cup later in the year. Like the other World cup, this takes place ever 4 years and brings together the top teams in rugby. The Southern hemisphere sides often triumph in this competition, except for one wonderful year when a certain Jonny Wilkinson kicked a fantastic last-minute drop goal to beat Australia in extra time.

As I said at the beginning of this blog, the game is akin to chess. In those last few minutes, you could see England move the ball move men on the board waiting for that moment. The crowd could see, the Aussies could see and so could that one man. That is what makes rugby, the game centred on one moment. It was almost in slow-motion as the kick sailed between the posts and the team knew they had the Webb Ellis trophy.

It was only two minutes of play but it was the most exciting two minutes.

The Six nations starts next Friday night with England playing Wales, live on BBC 1. Once more, battle will be joined.

Tagline:’Scum down at the 5-meter line, England put-in.’