Must Be Mad

One of the serious downsides about running a Sunday league football team is that you are at the full mercy of the British weather. Never has this been more evident than today, when an insufficient amount of rain fell overnight for the game to be called off, resulting in us having to play when it was obvious to all and sundry that it was soon going to descend into farce.

And what a farce. If I were a neutral observer, sitting in a warm ivory tower, I would probably laugh at the suffering people go through in order to watch their side suffer or succeed. But mostly suffer, in my case.

Today the conditions were utterly appalling. I had listened to the rain all night pounding away at the roof barely 50cm above me. The forecast was for it to rain heavily until midday – good enough, since our game would kick off at 10:30am, and the overnight rain would be a bonus. Ideally, we needed the game called off, because we’re going through something of a crisis at the moment. True, we are never out of crisis, but this one is worse than most.

The rain stopped at 7:30am. I looked out the loft window – clear skies coming ahead. I checked the BBC weather forecast. Sunny spells, 9am. Sunny, 12pm, sunny spells 3pm. Well, at least it wasn’t going to rain while we were there…

But the game still might have been called off, I thought. I checked the league’s website. No news. I checked my mobile – no news of cancellation either. OK, so we’re unlucky this time. We’re going to have to play. But like I said, at least it’s going to be sunny.

Wrong. Not for the first time the BBC Weather website forecast, which is soon to be reclassified from a factual website to a comedy website, was so damn wrong it’s untrue. I often laugh at how many times the forecast can change within the space of 24 hours. Sometimes I think it randomly generates symbols they change so often.  

We were treated to 90 minutes of hell. Gale force winds, freezing cold, blowing throughout. Rain. Heavy rain. Heavy hailstones. Sunshine! Heavy hailstones. Heavy rain. Driving, bitterly cold rain, freezing you to the bone. On, off, on, off. Worst of all, I badly needed the toilet. Not a number two, I assure you. 

The thing is about our team is that they don’t take kindly to poor conditions. In recent weeks we’ve actually been improving, having sorted out a good defence. Well, that was until our excellent keeper decided to let us down, resulting in the current crisis. But anyway, we thought we would be OK at the back, at least. And we were, until the weather ruined everything.

Whether it’s a lack of enthusiasm, or there’s something about our style of play that really suffers in the rain, it’s hard to be certain. But whatever it is, we just don’t know how to deal with it. We lose all control, while the wind does its worst to make the trajectory of an airborne ball utterly unpredictable. Meanwhile, the driving rain saps you of all energy and morale.

The conditions in the middle of the game were such that if they were happening at the start of the game then I’m certain it would have been called off. Indeed, I understand that many similar leagues called off their games today. But ours crazily went ahead. If only the rain hadn’t stopped at 7:30am. If only I hadn’t been deceived by the woeful forecast this morning for the rest of the morning. Can they really not forecast just a few hours ahead? I would have worn more layers and a more waterproof jacket for starters!

So today has really knocked the stuffing out of our team. After two great performances in the last two weeks, today was utter capitulation. It was only 2-0 down at half time, and the opposition had had no more chances than the ones they scored. It ended 7-1, in the second half when the worst of the weather was taking its toll. At one point I pleaded with our team to abandon the game. The opposition were happy to (of course they would) and the referee thought we should but our players didn’t want to, so we didn’t. 

Like I said, you’ve got to be mad to be in this business. 

Nobody ever said being a football fan was easy. But more than being a fan, running your own team is far worse because the depth of involvement is on a much deeper level. But we do it through the good times as well as the bad… even if it means nearly dying of hypothermia.

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The Drawing Board Is Bored

Over the past few days, I have sunk a little further into depression at the situation I’m in, but I’m still trying out options to change it.

For instance, I decided to finally get off my backside and register as a referee again. So, with a bit of luck, I will soon be back to doing a game a week, and though it only provides a small financial infusion, it is better than nothing. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I just hope I don’t get injured again.

Meanwhile, I found it in me to put in a couple more job applications. This time I feel a little more positive about the whole thing. I’ve found a job, a six month temporary contract, that could be ideal for me. It would buy me some time to think things over, and provide me with cash at the same time. And it would make sure my current employment gap doesn’t become embarassingly long, making it even more difficult to get a job.

This whole situation has come about for a number of reasons, but chief amongst them right now is a broken promise from a friend who pretty much guaranteed me that he would be able to just give me a job. One of his staff left a couple of weeks ago, and he found out about it a month ago. He said he would be able to get me her job once she left. It didn’t happen. He’d already broken a promise to find me work earlier in the year. Now, maybe it’s just the downturn in the economy making his business not want to give out employment right now – that would stand to reason by the sheer lack of jobs available at the moment – but whatever, I’ve been hanging around, waiting for something that was never going to appear.

Fortunately, the Sunday morning football, around again today, is going to provide me with enough distraction to give me something to do. Plus with the training on Wednesday night that I go to and help out, there’s always something a few days away to look forward to. A shame there’s no money in this. I love it so much that I have now broadened my job hunting search to look for anything football related. Oh, how I’d love to be the Company Secretary of a Premier League club…

I’m also getting more and more involved in a project that is exploring the possibility to make a new football club from scratch. That would be good. And in time, it might even pay me if I’m good at it. I think I am, I just need someone to give me a chance.

But to do the things I want, like making a new club, I neeeeed money. Refereeing and it’s attendant £20 a week is, sadly, not going to do it for me.

And neither is my continual stream of thoughts relating to ideas I’ve got. Much as they’re interesting, in the business jargon, they’re “loss leaders”. That is, they will never make me money. Starting a computer fixing business is an absolute non starter – the market is saturated already. All they’re good for is taking the odd £20 off a distant family member for fixing their PC, riddled with viruses and spyware.

Right now, the drawing board is sick of the sight of me.

Quantum State Inbox

There’s only so many ways you can write out “nothing much happened” in 500 word blog post format, and it seems I’m running out of possibilities at this moment in time. But fortunately, there is something trivial to report.

The worst part of life right now is that my brain is even mocking me. I am in dire need of some good news. Indeed, I’m in dire need of even receiving the application forms I’ve asked for. It’s not a good sign if you ask for a form early last Thursday and still don’t have it today; it probably means they’re a thoroughly incompetent organisation. If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s inefficiency. I digress.

My brain is mocking me because I had a couple of dreams last night in which I received an e-mail which contained an offer of real, paying work. Woo! No, it wasn’t a chain e-mail asking me to engage in some fraud. Though that would have been funnier. And it would have made me realise even during the dream that it was a load of rubbish. You know what I mean, when you’re having a dream that’s so ridiculous that even your sub-conscious mind begins to say, “Yeah, right! And that swimming, bright orange sheep just exploded because…?”

But instead I woke up, 90% disbelieving that there actually was something good in my inbox (there never is)… but a tiny tiny percentage of me really did believe, hoped, wished, was desperately craving for something good to be waiting when I opened Mozilla Thunderbird and Gmail this morning. The sensible part of my brain was saying “This is just ridiculous! Dreams are nonsense!” and yet I didn’t want to extinguish this tiny flicker of hope that there was something in it. Who knows…

So I had this bizarre train of thought. The longer I didn’t inspect the inbox, the longer I could hold onto this vague hope that something good might be in it. Yes, my friends, there was some sort of quantum logic operating here. If I didn’t check my mail, I wouldn’t know whether there was good or bad news in it. Or even no news. Some might even say that all of the above apply until it is inspected, thus forcing it to settle.

Don’t expect me to understand that, or even if I got it right. Probably not. I only have a useless degree in political science after all.

So I waited. Just a little longer. I hadn’t checked my e-mail since 4pm last night. It was better that way. Nothing good ever appears anyway, so the longer it’s left the more chance that something might drop in there that I might actually want to read.

Of course, when I did look, there was nothing. Nothing at all. 16 hours and nothing interesting whatsoever.

Do you think I might be getting addicted to checking my e-mail? I think so. At least when the mail arrives, you know there’s not going to be anything else that day and you can relax. E-mail is an altogether different beast. A very scary one, replete with OCD scales and wings.

And so, another tedious day must begin.

Navigation Resignation

When we go on family excursions, one of us is normally handed the map to guide us on our merry way. Well, when I say “one of us” I generally mean me. It’s a job I enjoy doing, and my mum is hopeless at it so it’s a fair deal.

This time, however, I blotted my copybook in quite a substantial way, and I suspect there will be no way back. I still blame the map for the disaster, but I should have bowed to the prior knowledge of the group (and even myself) but I tried to be too clever.

The situation was fairly simple. My sister has recently passed her driving test (after five attempts, though I’m not saying anything as I’m sure I’ll be that bad if/when I ever do it myself) and so to celebrate we all decided to go together to our family static caravan in North Wales. So we went in two separate cars, and drove up there. So far so good.

However, the next day we decided we were going to go for a little stroll up the hill called Moel Famau. It’s a journey we’ve done many times, and it’s fairly straightforward from our caravan.

A picture of the Jubilee Tower on top of Moel Famau

A picture of the Jubilee Tower on top of Moel Famau

Only this time, I looked at the map and decided that there was a simpler route. It would take us round the other side of the hill, but it would be a shorter route, and it would even provide us with a different wall. The map was pretty clear, this alternative route would take us to a different trail head.

So off we went. It was a breeze for the first 20 minutes. Then we reached the point from which another road was supposed to peel off. A “minor road”. Maps are infamous for being very selective over which roads they include. Sure they have all motorways, A roads and B roads… but they also include lots of other roads which don’t have any distinguishing features. So I had no idea where we were going to find this road. It was one of hundreds of real ones.

Worse, the road signs pointing to villages often included placenames which weren’t even on the map. And the place I was looking did not once appear on the road signs.

Navigating in Wales is bad even at the best of times. But we went round and round on a wild goose chase for this single road I was looking for which allegedly lead up to the trailhead. It was nowhere to be found.

I even got out the car to explore a “village” we had driven through to see if there were any road signs I’d missed. None. I should have known that the trailhead wasn’t signposted at all at any point in the part of land we were. That should have told me that we were looking in the wrong place.

Defeated had to be admitted to… and we went back on ourselves to rejoin the road we’d travelled down and then on to our destination.

This humiliation has meant that I will never be trusted with the map again. It wasn’t all my fault… but I should have stuck with the original plan to go the normal way. I got carried away with my map reading abilities, and was obviously too confident on both the map I had and on the Welsh road network.

Now I have to become a backseat driver all over again. And have to listen to my mum sending us the wrong way again.

Though I should really just stop going on holiday with my family! I’m, what, 23 years old now…

Bread Based Idiocy

It is amazing how such a little bit of incompetence can make me feel such a moron.

Only 15 minutes ago I departed to go the shop. The goal, to buy a loaf of bread. A simple goal, you would think. One I have done many many times before without incident.

I was wrong. The problem all stem from the fact that I have to buy bread for more than me this time. If I’m buying bread for me there are only two loaves I ever buy, depending on which shop I go to. Warburtons Seeded Batch or Hovis Rich and Roasted. The best loaves of bread ever, by the way.

But since I’m currently living at home, having good bread is optional for the simple reason that if I buy anything other than crap white bread it will result in a deluge of complaints from my siblings, whose pathetic palates can’t tolerate anything other than white putty-like stodge. So I have to sacrifice myself and buy crap bread.

At the shop, I arrive to the usual dilemma. Which one to pick? My family seems to alternate between different loaves every time. I decided to go for a Kingsmill 50/50 loaf (which they will tolerate because it’s still “white”). But then I put it back down just to look around one final time. Then decided to go with the orignal decision, and took it to the till.

When I got back home I took the loaf out of the bag and was horrified. Not only was the loaf not the Kingsmill 50/50 – it seems I’d picked up the neighbouring white loaf which has almost the exact same wrapper design… but worse, it was thick sliced.

Thick sliced is fine, but it is a con. You still eat the same number of slices despite their extra size, thus meaning you have to buy another loaf of bread in a much quicker time.

I don’t know how I’d managed to make this mistake. I only ever buy medium sliced. But for some stupid reason the thought to check that I was buying medium sliced didn’t even cross my mind.

Idiot, idiot, idiot. How hard can it bloody be to go and buy a loaf of bread? I should be able to do this by now without making one of the most basic errors a food shopper can make.

My penance will, of course, be to go and buy another loaf tomorrow.