Daily Prompt: Fandom – No longer interested

Are you a sports fan? Tell us about fandom. If you’re not, tell us why not.

I remember the word Fandom from the last time we got this prompt. I had never heard of it then and I did not remember it this time, which shows how much my sportsmanship exists. In my younger days I was a keen follower of football, but I wrote all about it the last time I did this repeated blog and do not intend to write it all again.

Suffice it to be said that in later years I now and again like to watch a football (soccer) match on the television, but I no longer feel the urge to stand in the stadium in the cold weather for 90 minutes watching  22 grown men kick a ball around. Of course if the player is attractive enough to warrant more than a glance, I take more interest.This was the case years ago when the Dutch goalkeeper Erwin Van der Sar was playing for the english team Manchester United. I even went to the lengths of taking a photo from the television.

Champions League Cup Final 2009

He retired in 2011 and since I have no great interest in sports.

So I have fulfilled my duty for this prompt and do not have a lot more to say. I am still suffering from my nose cold which is now a head cold and my head does not feel like concentrating writing anything at the moment.

Daily Prompt: Fandom – No longer interested

Daily Prompt: Offside Memories – West Ham United and/or Leyton Orient

Team USA is playing today in the soccer World Cup in Brazil. Do you have any funny/harrowing/interesting memories from a sporting event you attended, participated in, or watched?

The scene is set in the stadion

I took this photo from the TV a few years ago, it was in 2006 before the beginning of the UEFA cup final when Manchester United played Chelsea in the final and Manchester won. At that time Manchester won everything, so no surprise. They had a good looking goalie, Edwin van der Saar and it was worth watching the match only to watch Edwin: tall, blond and in general a good looker. Of course they also had some guy called Rinaldo, a Portuguese who was credited as being god’s gift to woman. Unfortunately he knew it and left a trial of broken hearts on his football tour through the world. He still plays and apart from his womanising talents, I must admit he is a good player.

Of course I do not look at a football match to admire the hairy legs of the players and the hairy details do not look so good on the TV.

There were days, in my teenage years, when I could be found most Saturday afternoons in the football season, standing behind the goal at a local match with a friend of mine. We were sort of football crazy. We both lived in the East End of London. My dad was a supporter of West Ham United, and her dad a supporter of Leyton Orient. This was quite a good combination. The two teams were near to each other by London Underground and when one was playing on its home ground the others were playing away and vice versa, so what could be better. We were covered for a football match every Saturday.

We had a small problem with pocket money. Both being from a working class background, money did not pave the streets, so we were on a tight budget. Train tickets and entrance fees to the matches made a large hole in our meagre budget, but we did everything for football. Luckily the Leyton Orient ground was within walking distance. Of course a train would have been quicker, but we began our walk after lunch and ninety minutes later we were at our destination, tired but happy. It was a pleasant walk, at the beginning in town, but somewhere along the way we entered the River Lea valley. The River Lea was one of the London rivers and at the time of my football days, a little neglected. It was polished up for the 2012 London Olympic games when they found a few remainders of radio-active deposits, but they were cleared away and the River Lea was rediscovered.

I have the memories of walking along the road, parallel to the banks of the river, thinking of the match ahead. Eventually we would arrive at the stadium and stand in our usual place behind the goal for another ninety minutes to watch the game.

There were also the times during the school holidays when my friend and I would take a trip to the stadium with our autograph books waiting for the players to and mixing with other supporters obtaining our longed for signatures. I believe I still have the book somewhere, but I do not remember who the players were. They are now probably grandfathers if still alive. I remember one player who left the stadium, took a look at me and my friend and said “I ain’t signing any books for girls”, so we put him on our black list.

That was Leyton Orient. West Ham United was something different; they were a first league team and had the better players. It was the Bobby Moore time, when he joined the club and became a legend in his own right. I saw him play many games at the Boleyn ground, being named after the local pub, or vice versa. I do not know what Anne Boleyn had to do with the West Ham United football team, but Wikipedia tells me that there was once Boleyn castle nearby which belonged to the Boleyn family. Anne Boleyn was one of Henry VIII wives and was unfortunately beheaded because he wanted to marry again. She was also mother of Queen Elizabeth I.

I am digressing, after all what does football have to do with English royalty, although the Queen or the Duke of Edinburgh have been known to place the FA cup into the hands of the winning team. Probably the only time in their lives they have watched a match. They are more used to sitting on the backs of horses on the polo green.

So West Ham was my other team. The entrance fee did not cost more than Leyton, but we had to take the underground train. It was further afield. I remember the cemetery where my mum’s family were buried was nearby.

My taste for football remains, but it is not always the same. I am not so interested in the current world cup; I leave it up to Mr. Swiss, although his appetite has been spoilt by the dismal results of the Swiss team. The English have already gone home, so why bother. The States play at midnight this evening. Mr. Swiss finds it will probably be a good match, but I do not think his love of the Americans will credit staying up until midnight.

As far as funny memories are concerned, there are none. One of the directors of Leyton Orient was an impresario in show business and he would often bring visiting stars to the match. It was then that I saw Pat Boone sitting in the stadium. We had then changed places from behind the goal to where the players entered the field as our pocket money was increased and we could afford it.

Times have changed. When I watched a match the players had a minimum wage and the supporters were well behaved. Today West Ham supporters have a reputation of being the rowdiest even most dangerous, and they probably invented hooliganism. My dad once told me he would be too frightened today to go to a live match. I now sit outside on the warm summer evenings reading a book whilst Mr. Swiss and the neighbours watch a World Cup match on the TV. I receive the results by the sounds from the surrounding area. It is much safer and more relaxing.

Champions Statue

This statue shows Bobby Moore holding the FA Cup won in 1966, being supported by other West Ham Players: location Green Street, Upton Park.

Daily Prompt: Offside Memories – West Ham United or Leyton Orient

Daily Prompt: Set for Solstice and for a soccer match

Today’s Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year (in the Northern Hemisphere). How are you taking advantage of the extra hours of light this time of year? Do you like it, or do you already miss earlier sunsets.

Sunset in Feldbrunnen

We have some pretty sunsets at this time of the year, especially if we have had good weather during the day. As the golden sun sinks slowly in the West, we do not have John Wayne slowly trotting into the disappearing width of the prairie, as we do not have prairies, just fields, cows, and a few mountains in between. All the same a Swiss sundown has its charm, even from my little village.

One advantage of this solstice thing is that I can stay outside until late and read my Kindle with no problems. I always have a book somewhere and uploading them from good old Aunty Amazon is a quickie and if I am lucky I can snap a free one. Only today I realised I was out of something to read, although not quite. I am in the middle of “Darm mit Charm” which is a German book, translated to “Intestine with charm” written by Giulia Enders, a German lady that has completed her medicine studies. Perhaps not quite an entertaining lecture on the long summer evenings, but she writes with humour. The journey of your food from entering the mouth being dissolved by the taste buds until it is dispelled in the canalisation system can be an interesting study. She throws in a few handy words of advice in the book referring to what and how to eat, so whilst lying on a sunbed outside on the patio in the long evenings, I am doing something for my body.

OK, not everybody’s sort of thing, but today I got an interesting offer to download a free book, a horror story (again in German) from Amazon,  so I might change books midway this evening and do some vampire spotting whilst reading.

What does Mr. Swiss do when I have deserted him for the wide open solstice evenings – no problem? At the moment there is something called “World Cup” in progression in Brasil. Evening my colleagues from over the pond have qualified for this competition. Yes, they are now kicking a round ball across a football field and are not wearing protective helmets or padded  t-shirts. They are exposed to the raw antics of soccer and are doing quite well I hear. So Mr. Swiss is taken care of, he does not feel lonely, having a TV soccer match to watch, although a little disappointed at the moment. I will not use the exact description he applied to the Swiss team yesterday evening when they lost 5:2 against France as profanity is not allowed on a blogging site. Needless today, whilst I was soaking in the intricacies of the human intestine in my book I was subject to cries of despair, distributed around the area where I live from other Swiss male members of the human race, my neighbours and Mr. Swiss, that were watching this catastrophe match. Not only were the Swiss a miserable failure, but they lost against the French, the nation that eat frogs. The Swiss goalie managed to save a penalty, which ensured that the result would not become 2:6 and it seemed that the Swiss goalie was the only person on the field that knew why he was there.

Nevertheless, the solstical evenings can be enjoyable (with the exemption of football matches that the Swiss lose). As it is the month of June, the June beetles tend to have their marriage flight in the area. Around nine in the evening they develop from their weevil state into a fully grown flying beetle and arise in flocks from the earth. Man meets woman, they land on the branches of the trees and it is a real mating orgy: one of the reasons I am not posting a photo, they might not be allowed on a blogging site. Most amusing are our neighbours that stand in the garden, each with a tennis racket in their hand. No, they are not playing a game of tennis or badminton in the warm evenings, they are aiming for the flying June beetles to ensure that no eggs will be given the possibilitiy of developing and  laid in the garden and no weevils will develop to make a feast on the roots of our plants: so is the path of nature. I noticed that this year there are not so many flying beetles, so it seems the reproduction of this species has been reduced due to the tennis match.

We also have a group of young men living in our apartment block. It seems they meet in the evenings to watch the football match together. Men tend to form flocks, enjoy company of like-minded of the species, uttering their cheers and boos together and, of course, ensuring that they do not suffer from thirst whilst watching the match. This combined with the chirping of the crickets and evening songs of the birds when relaxing in the summer evening air completes the romantic picture of the Sumer solstice..

Yes, I am enjoying the summer solstice, the peace and quiet of nature, especially thanks to the World Football Cup finals.

Daily Prompt: Set for Solstice and for a Soccer Match

Weekly Writing Challenge: Living History

Your challenge this week? Write about a current event from your own unique, subjective perspective. 

Schweiz Brasil football

As I was not present at the match, and photos from the TV screen usually have strange marks on them, I stole borrowed this photo from the Swiss Blick newspaper. The team are dressed in yellow shirts Brasil style, made especially  after beating the Slovenian team in their last match. They had already qualified if they had won or lost, so had the shirts made to celebrate at the end of the match.

Who has heard of Switzerland? Of course you all have, you know the country that has almost as many cows as people, where the people eat cheese fondue, where we have cuckoo clocks (which are made in the Black Forest area in Germany), and where we all walk around yodling and spend the week-ends climbing mountains. Where Hornuss,(farmer’s tennis – no, I will not explain that one) and Schwingen (Swiss wrestling – and I will not explain that either) are the Swiss national sports. But ….. we can also play football.

By football I do not mean that game played in an ex-British colony called America where they have an oval ball and run around with the ball in their hands, pushing the members of the other team out of the way to reach the goal posts. No, the Swiss play the game with the round ball, eleven players in each team and you get penalised if you happen to handle the ball. That was just to clarify matters, although a few years ago the Football (soccer) World Cup was hosted by our friends over the pond in America with success.  That was the last time that the Swiss team actually managed to reach the finals in the host land.

Now they have done it again. Was it a miracle, was it the talented team of dedicated men, was it the fantastic work of their manager Ottmar Hitzfeld? Who knows, but they will be there playing in one of the 12 stadiums chosen for the games, holding the flag for the Swiss.

Mr. Swiss just said, do not get to euphoric about praising our footballing wizards, those that are at the top have further to fall. So let us stay on the ground and see what will happen. The Swiss team had to qualify for the privilege of being in the land of samba and carnival. They qualified so well, arriving at the top of their section and winning all matches with the exception of one where they had a draw, that they are now in the top group in Brasil. This could be great but it seems in the same group could be Germany (ok, we know them), Brasil and Argentina (we know them as well, but that is not so good) and Spain who we even beat once in an international game.

So the excitement gets slowly dampened into a “keep your fingers crossed, and just be glad to be there” phase.

Not that I will be glued to the TV screen during the World Cup, which is actually in 2014, but I will be have a glance now and again and I am sure Mr. Swiss will keep me in the picture. I am also convinced that if and when the Swiss win a game, our roads will be full of cars with Swiss flags hanging out of the window and horns sounding all night long. Needless to say many supporters will be quenching their thirst in the many restaurants decorated for the occasion (or drowning their sorrows as the case may be).

I had a quick look at this fantastic Swiss team and discovered that most of them had strange sounding names, not very swiss. Most of the players seem to have their roots in other countries. No problem, they all have a Swiss passport. Even I have one of those, to go to prove that they are not fussy about who they give them to. One of the teams they played to qualify was Albania, and it seems that the level of language understanding was excellent between the two teams.

So there we have the good news from Switzerland and hope it remains good.

You may ask why I say nothing about the British qualification for the Word Cup finals, being born in England of English parents. That is quite easy – I always have a soft spot for the underdogs, for those that are not expected to win.

Swiss football team world cup

Weekly Writing Challenge: Living History

 

Daily Prompt: Fandom

Are you a sports fan? Tell us about fandom. If you’re not, tell us why not.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us SPORTS.

West Ham United Stadium, Upton Park

West Ham United football Stadium

A new word – Fandom: I had to look it up in Wikipedia to make sure I was not being led on, but it exists.

I am not an active person; prefer to watch than play, but in my school days I was in the school land hockey team as a defender. It was the only game that resembled anything like football, for ladies to play.

Tennis was not my thing, the ball always seemed to go upwards instead of forwards when I hit it and I never did understand the scoring system. Even today the game just bores me, although now and again Switzerland wins something, so we all cheer and are happy. Formula 1 2, 3 and all the rest is too noisy for my taste: cars racing around a track, poisoning the air with their fumes. The drivers are celebrated afterwards, but I wonder if it is because they survived.

Bicycle racing is quite popular in Switzerland. There is a tour de Suisse, where they sometimes even race through our little village and I have even been known to stand on the road side with my camera. There is also a Tour de France and a Giro d’Italia, the same sort of thing, just taking place in other countries. I quite like watching it on TV, mainly because of the scenery shown. I cannot ride a two wheeled bike, have balance problems, something I have never really given up on, but Mr. Swiss says “No” too dangerous for me, thinking of broken arms, legs and anything else you can break.

P1080499

My real love was and still is football. I do not mean that game played in the states where they all wear helmets for protection, have a slightly egg-shaped ball and do a Superbowl once a year. My oldest son has been known, in his younger years, to stay up until early in the morning to watch this exciting and brutal energetic game. He even explained the rules to me, but I got lost on the way.

No, I am talking about football, the one with the round ball,  known as soccer on my side of the pond: 10 men chasing a ball and one in the goal. Look at my first photo, my team stadium, West Ham United. My dad was a West Ham supporter and so am I. I spent many Saturdays at the Boleyn ground, Upton Park watching my team win (or lose now and again), it was just in my blood. Claret and blue are their colours and do not forget the great Bobby Moore was their captain and played for them. I even saw him play one of his first professional games for the club, being then just a young teenager.

I remember when West Ham won the English cup final in 1964. The next day on Sunday morning dad and I made ourselves ready to go to Stratford High Road (East end of London and where my dad originated) to watch the players arrive at the town hall. A large coach came along the road with all the team, and stopped. They left the coach and were afterwards seen on the balcony of the town hall proudly showing the cup. I have never forgotten that moment. Of course, afterwards, dad and I retired to a public house/bar where he was a regular when a young man. He was so happy, he had seen our team with the cup and in the public house met all his old friends from earlier days. That was a fun morning. A week later we all met up again in the same pub on a Satuday evening and mum came with us.

So yes, I was a football fan: I still sort of am, but as the years go past, the glory days of earlier fade. Now football has become a money game. Footballers earn more than millionaires, are millionaires, and a lot of the sparkle and team spirit as dwindled over the years. I knew every name of the West Ham/England team during the beginning of the sixties, and today the English team players have names you cannot even pronounce, are no longer English, and the national team seems to have shrunk to the leftovers with a British passport who can be lucky to be encouraged and have a chance with a good trainer.

Here is a photo of a monument to be seen near the West Ham stadium showing their best players: Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst, Martin Peters, all of whom I saw play for West Ham when they first player for the first team, and also including Ray Wilson who I do not remember.

Champions Statue

All photos taken by myself on a London visit to West Ham United Stadium, Upton Park

Well I was asked about Fandom, and there it is. Of course, I also like to read Scandinavian detective stories, fantasy and horror fiction and some German thrillers, as well as a few British, I do not actually read books, I devour them. Just call me a book fan. I just noticed if I continue I will write the longest blog of the year (a chance to enter the Guiness book of records?), so I will leave you with the West Ham team and Bobby Moore holding the cup on the statue.

Daily Prompt: Fandom

West Ham United – Local Swiss Boy Raphael Spiegel joins the team.

West Ham United Stadium, Upton Park

As far as football is concerned (the english game – soccer in America) my dad was a West Ham United supporter, so I automatically also became one. Yes, my claret and blue heart beats for the “Hammers”. I was all the more surprised, and even pleased, to read in our local Swiss Newspaper the AZ Solothurner Zeitung (AZ Solothurn Newspaper) the following report.

I am translating and explaining as it is all in German.

The Headline of the article is “West Ham treasure my potential highly” and a photo of the 19 year old goal keeper Raphael Spiegel follows the headline, stating that this man is from Langendorf, a village where me and Mr. Swiss go to the local large supermarket for our shopping and only five minutes away by car from where we live.

It seems that Raphael Spiegel, who is a goalkeeper,  has made a large career jump and is changing from the Swiss football team Grasshoppers in Zürich (one of the best Swiss teams) to the West Ham United team in London. So I went on an exploring trip on Internet and found this link on the West Ham United site.

Raphael Spiegel footballer

http://www.whufc.com/articles/20120723/hammers-sign-spiegel_2236884_2856128 

Which saves me a lot of translating. There was an interview in our newspaper with him and it seems that it is quite positive that he actually has a three year contract.

One of the questions asked was how his english is. He said that he can understand quite a lot and can basically converse, but he is sure that he will soon learn the language. Another player Guy Demel is also in the West Ham team, who played for a while for Dortmund, and also speaks German, so he will have someone to converse with in the team. At the moment he is in England looking for somewhere to live. I wonder if he will find somewhere near where I grew up, who knows. West Ham is on the edge of the East End roughly speaking.He was also asked why he was not taking part in the West Ham United training camp in Germany, but because of the formalities that had to be settled, no time remained. However, this week he is training and playing with the second West Ham United team.

I would also mention that he played for the Swiss U17 team and is also in the narrow choice for the U20 team.

So I can only wish him the best of luck, and am pleased to see a local boy from my part of the woods in Switzerland who will be playing for my team.

Flash Fiction – Coincidence?

FIAF 13

 

“FIFA colleagues, where are we having the world cup in 2018?”

“Ask your girlfriend Mr. President?”

“No Problem, OK Desiree, put you foot on the world and twiddle it a bit. Let us see where it turns to.”

“Spasiba, It will be in our glorious Russia.”

“Vladimir, just transfer the roubles to my bank account.”

Prince William lobbying for the World Football Cup

Prince William lobbies in Zurich
Government leaders – and royalty – are stepping up support for their countries’ bids to host the football World Cup in 2018 or 2022.


Coming to Zürich was intended. My future wife and I are looking for a suitable place to spend our honeymoon. My flight was booked and coincided with the FIFA meeting in Zürich to choose the host for the Football World Cup in 2018, or even 2022. Meeting our prime minister at the airport was so nice, and we arrived together in Zürich.

This lead to the misunderstanding that I was lobbying to bring the World Cup to England, especially as my hotel was the same as other prominent figures at the conference. I met David Beckham, had contact with Sepp Blatter, a wonderful person,  and I may even have a chance to see Bill Clinton. Such a shame that Mr. Putin might not be able to make the meeting, I would have loved to have met him.

I will, of course,  be travelling in Switzerland looking for a quiet place for Kate and I to stay in June after our marriage.