Tag Archives: Sport

John Terry – time to show some real leadership

Being a Chelsea fan makes all the lurid headlines about John Terry’s misdemeanours even more difficult to take. He has been a fantastic ‘leader’ on the pitch, but the quality of that leadership is now in question. Serious questions have been asked of his conduct in recent weeks, mostly money related. From the dodgy £10,000 a pop secret tours to the super-injunction he tried in the media (guardian site) it appears to be all centred on the money. What disturbed me most about his attempted super-injunction was not that it was designed to protect his wife and two children but his reputation with his sponsors. He has already made a lot of cash from selling wedding rights and from his ‘dad of the year award’ (which definitely needs returned). I’ve heard nothing in the media about him being sorry, no apologies to his family or to Wayne Bridge. Some of the more lurid speculation about him paying for an abortion for Bridge’s then girlfriend seems to confirm a pattern that he thinks money can fix everything. Terry has a lot to learn about leadership. He maybe needs to start with one of the basics – at the core of leadership is character and trust that demonstrates itself in compassion and respect for other people. Although Ancelotti is standing by Terry as Chelsea captain it seems only a matter of time before he has to resign the England captaincy or be stripped of it. The longer he holds on the more respect he loses. The captaincy issue for me is partly about Terry’s moral leadership and also about trust and respect in the dressing room. If I was one of Terry’s team-mates I wouldn’t want him anywhere near my wife or partner, I would find it very difficult to trust him. Can such a litany of major flaws in judgement in such crucial issues really be divorced from your ability to lead a team? I think not. The England captaincy isn’t even the real issue. The real issue is does Terry have the balls to stand up and not only admit his wrongdoing, but apologise and demonstrate remorse? Does he have the ‘character’ to begin to demonstrate some elements of good leadership – a willingness to take responsibility? That will be more effective in restoring his reputation that simply hiring a PR company.  I’m willing to give him a chance, as we are all flawed, but I’m not sure if Terry even thinks he has done anything wrong, so come on John – show us what you are made of!

I’ve been censored by the big brother of Rugby World Cup Ltd!

rugby World Cup ballPrepare yourself for an outpouring of indignation. I have received an email from youtube informing me of a copyright infringement, and my video of the haka at the France-New Zealand Rugby World Cup Quarter Final has been removed! Not even action from the game but the haka. Waht the flip are Rugby World Cup Ltd up to? Have they nothing better to do with their time than trawl the internet and remove the slightest footage or photos of all their games? Seriously think about it – someone must be being paid from the money I paid for my ticket to trawl you tube looking for videos from matches. Do they expect us to pay to take videos and photos or something? What sort of world are they living in? Do they have Orwellian dreams and want to take on Rupert Murdoch for control of the media? Is 1984 looming? Can anyone tell me what major crime an advert for what is possibly one of the most attractive games to watch played is? I’m awaiting a writ now for criticising their small minded ridiculous pettiness, and to be told that I have to remove the photo of the French fans as it was at an official Rugby World Cup Ltd event. Maybe it should be Big business is watching instead of big brother…

the soapbox – so angry he can barely type

I was there!

soapbox is back from a thoroughly enjoyable weekend in Cardiff, via the delights of Birmingham Airport – possibly one of the first airports I’ve encountered where they don’t charge you twice the average price for everything. Unlike the motorway services stop where we paid £7.95 for a fry-up, but what better way to start a rugby watching weekend.

Sitting in a Spanish bar in Cardiff surrounded by Kiwis, Aussies and le french was a great fun. Shame the same couldn’t be said for the watery poorly poured black stuff. Cardiff is a prime example why the government’s insistence on putting a national stadium at the Maze is crazy. The prematch atmosphere in Cardiff was great – full of colour, and pretty darn good for the local economy too. They had great park’n’ride schemes too.

We had seats in Row U. I kid you not. 3 rows from the back. With roof closed it did feel a little ovenesque – although our french friends in front probably felt the heat a little more.the bunnies

The view was amazing. I was full of expectation at the fast flowing rugby I’ve come to expect of the All-Blacks, only to be disappointed as they failed to show up in the second half of a marvellous french revival. I had my trusty (not very good point and shoot but not a lot more) digital camera along to record the action. So i spent about 6 of the first 10 minutes taking a few photos, struggling with the light, the odd video of the haka, and then caught myself on.

In my obsession with creating tangible memories i was missing out on enjoying the occasion (certainly more than our kiwi neighbour). Its a phenomenon I’ve noticed at gigs – people are so obsessed with taking photos and videos to prove to their friends they were there, or just gloat, or just trying to preserve the experience to be relived, that they missed out on the wonder of what was happening – not soaking up the sights and sounds of the here and now.

The three of us had a wander around Gloucester the next day, enjoying some infantile sniggering as we walked down ‘Three Cocks Lane’ before checking out the memorial to Bishop Hooper – an early reformer martyred for his faith. Interestingly the Cathedral seemed more interested in telling people that Harry Potter was filmed there than celebrating a hero of the faith and man of great integrity… The cultured one of us took the Cathedral Tour while the youth worker and student worker retired to ye olde pub for some fine ale and South Africa – Fiji…

Great Sporting Lies and Humility

” We are being asked to believe that, less than a week after the great upheaval, players who regarded Mourhino as their mentor have thrown their lot in with someone who they ahve reason to suspect may have hastened their beloved manager’s exit. T’s like saying Larry, Adam and The Edge would barely look up from their royalty checks if Bono were dumped in favour of James Blunt…”
Read the rest here

I’ve been doing a fair bit of training over the last couple of weeks – for new staff of our ever growing plot to change the world through students. I’ve been ranting a lot about the Bible as I have done here too. Jaybercrow and Zoomtard also have a lot of good stuff to say on the subject. One of the things i keep coming back to and trying to live as well as hammer into people [constantly emphasise is maybe a better phrase in this context as has been pointed out!], is a sense of humility. A wise lecturer commented a couple of days ago that their is a significant difference between arguing about the ‘authority of the bible’ and our ‘interpretation of the bible’. Often we confuse the two. If someone doesn’t agree with your interpretation, its easy to claim they don’t respect the authority of the bible. and again its a classic example of trying to make ourselves feel better by making someone else feel small and claiming superiority. Which is not humility. Which is not the way of Jesus. Humility is not about winning and losing. Humility respects that other people’s opinions are not snatched out of the air. Humility realises that we don’t know it all, that other people have much to contribute to helping us understand God, the world, each other. In fact I think that’s part of what is behind Paul’s teaching on the church as a body. God does not make us self sufficient. We do not have all we need by ourselves. We need others for their gifts, skills, wisdom and experience. I think this is also what Paul is getting at in Ephesians 3 – ” that you may have power, together with all the Lord’s people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge”.
Time to stop and begin living humbly – realising others have much to teach us, that we need others. As someone working with students I see it all the time – sometimes at 19 or 20 people think they know it all and don’t need anyone else. It’s something I, as someone who always knows the right way to do things – my way, has had to learn the hard way and come to appreciate much more over the years. We need other people. a large part of humility is realising that.

the soapbox – coming after your money

a blue day

For all Chelsea fans – a day of mourning for the Special One who has gone from our midst. What will the papers write about, what will we have to look forward to in post-match interviews. Is this a case of classic boardroom and owner meddling? Was dropping mis-firing or not-firing at all Shevchenko the final straw for the baby faced billionaire? And to make it worse his buddy who was nicked from Portsmouth Avram Grant is lined up to move from Director of Football to Manager. A man with experience of managing two Israeli clubs and the Israeli national team. Hardly Champions League winning pedigree – looks like the Russian is making Chelsea his own plaything and playing with the loyalty and patience of fans who after so many years of mediocrity were getting used to success. Or maybe Kenyon’s move to Chelsea was all a big ploy to convince Abramovich to do crazy things (although powerful Russians have never needed an excuse before) to plot Chelsea’s downfall and United’s restoration.
Given Chelsea fans are all glory hunters expect a sudden defection to the sexy football of Arsenal – another team on the rise.

Maybe the wrong man is leaving

And at least we can look forward to Mourhino’s book – certainly won’t be dull…

Egg all over the fomula one and football faces

So Fernando Alonso certainly does come across as a petulant little boy – threatening to dob in his own team if they didn’t make him the big boy of the team. I guess he is a double world champion and is having to live a little in the shadow of his boy wonder team-mate. How Alonso kept his points is certainly miraculous. Jackie Stewart’s claims of bias toward Ferrari did look a little silly after the publication of the emails the next day. Apparently its par for the course in Formula One and we really shouldn’t be surprised, McLaren are just the ones who have got caught, big style and hauled over the coals. But does that make it ok? Is honesty and integrity fast becoming a thing of the past?

And then there’s Stephen Ireland of Man City, who got caught spinning a bizarre web of lies in the midst of his girlfriend’s tragic miscarriage. Proof that when we start lying it gets harder and harder to own up to the truth. Seeing his granny who he claimed had died will be interesting. I didn’t realise football clubs and associations went to such lengths to check things out though.

An elaborate web of lies is what much of the media are insinuating the McCanns have been spinning. Its strange how the media has turned on the couple – in much down to the Portugese police. I’ve no idea what actually happened but people are very quick to crucify the McCann’s. If they are innocent it’s another example of lives scarred and ruined by the over-zealous media. If it turns out they were involved in Maddy’s death they certainly have spun an incredibly elaborate web of lies.

Soapbox – off to invest in Northern Rock

edge of the seat stuff

What a weekend on the sporting front! Three great (well i’m assuming the France match was) rugby matches and high drama in the Carling Cup final. But what a contrast between the two occasions. Ireland produced an outstanding display to hammer England on an emotionally significant day. The respect and dignity which Ireland fans applauded England and as ‘God save the Queen’ rang out on the site of the original ‘Bloody Sunday’, and the atmosphere in which the match was played bore stark contrast to the scenes at the end of the match in theMillennium Stadium today.

Ireland put in a dominating display, outplaying England in ways I never imagined. Politically it was a massive occasion and for me it seemed almost the closing of a long and bloody chapter in Irish history. For England to play rugby at Croke Park the home of the GAA is a sign of how much the South of Ireland has moved on from the sectarianism that still afflicts the North. Maybe our politicians should take note. Back to the football. Drogba has been phenomenal, the football was end to end and full of drama, Arsenal have an exciting young side that will dominate in years to come, yet it all erupted in handbags at the end. Given footballers’ ability to go down at the slightest touch I was surprised not to see the pitch littered with players writhing in ‘pain’. I’m sure there will be repercussions with a few players handed bans, shame it has taken the shine of what had been a fantastic game, with some great goals by Drogba and Theo Walcott. First trophy of a possible 4 for the mighty blues, and Ireland showing what they are capable of – maybe better not to peak too soon with world cup coming up…..