Category Archives: Sport

Is Sport ever sporting?

English: John Terry Nederlands: http://www.pos...

John Terry

With Wimbledon well and truly over the sporting world’s eye turns to the court case between John Terry and Anton Ferdinand. After such a smoothly run tournament, Wimbledon once again comes out looking like the perfect child. Football, on the other hand, comes out kicking and screaming, fully keeping its ugly stereotype intact.

But its not just football that has an ugly side, sport in general is pretty horrible. Serena Williams, the golden girl of wimbledon 2012, displayed her less than pleasant side in the 2011 US Open Final, when verbally abusing an umpire. Why is it that people in the public eye so disappointing? Well because there just humans after all, the real disappointment is that people actually look up to these, so called sporting heroes.

It was nice to be able to celebrate a successful tournament in Wimbledon and to fairly congratulate the winners for their tremendous effort. But within a blink of an eye our attention is rudely drawn back to a less than celebratory characteristic of sport. John Terry’s on-going racism trial optimises how sport is a game of two halves, there is the good and the bad. Terry may be a fantastic footballer but that does not in any way qualify him for being a fantastic person, sadly.

The trial has helped to heap on the negative stereotypes that surround football at the best of times. It has revealed a little more of the dark side of sport that no one wants to witness, especially with the Olympics on our doorstep. We can only hope that justice is done, whatever the outcome, and the media don’t sink their unrelenting teeth into Terry’s trial and shake it all over the Olympics’ parade. This summer should be a showcase of the best of sport, so can everyone for once just be set and on their marks for good behaviour?

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , ,

Ciao England, Good-day Wimbledon

Court No.1, Wimbledon, 2004 Photo by Alexander...

Court No.1, Wimbledon, 2004

Last night England were duly dumped out of the Euros by Italy, no real surprise there. What is surprising is that before every championship English football fans have a delightful ignorance, they believe that somehow, logic and all sense forgotten, that this year is our year, football is coming home. This blind faith is short lived and it is not long before everyone realises that the English football team, unfortunately, just doesn’t play as well as many others, especially the ones in the knockout stages. And so with their pride in shreds the English fans crawl home, taking a little compensation in the fact England are still the best team in the United Kingdom.

With the football hooligans passed out in their local, their sorrows well and truly drowned along with their livers, a new crowd emerges from the woodwork. This is no ordinary crowd, no common patriotic skinhead, this is the Wimbledon faithful. A whole class of their own, an opinionated, caesar salad eating, Ralph Lauren wearing bunch capable of making any man feel utterly insignificant.

Cardigans tied over shoulders, Pimms in hand this is simple the best of Britain. The start of Wimbledon means three things: sun, tight skirts and a whole lot of tennis, what’s not to like about that. By the end of the two weeks the nation is captivated with tennis, although serving is a pain in the behind, we all love a spot of tennis with the chums. Wimbledon helps to define Britain, it is a little bit of our history and a whole lot of our excitement. Us Brits love a good tournament to unite us, especially when the football team left many feeling rather melancholy. Any excuse to show the world how to host a tournament is gobbled up, politely of course, by our jovial Wimbledonians.

It is with pride that many tune in to the wonder that is Wimbledon, for two weeks Britain is again in the spotlight.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Racism rife in Euro 2012 capital

Donbas Arena, Donetsk, Ukraine - UEFA Euro 2012

Donbas Arena, Donetsk, Ukraine – UEFA Euro 2012

With the European Championships just round the corner all eyes turn to the host nations, Poland and Ukraine. In many ways this is just another championship in two ordinary countries in a exiting summer of sport. However, this championship could prove to be at the heart of the most controversial decision UEFA has ever made. By allowing the Euros to take place in Poland and Ukraine UEFA may be lumping their own heads on to the chopping board. The choice to allow Poland and Ukraine to host such a prestigious European football tournament could have dramatic consequences. It has been revealed that both nations are home to a horrific racist footballing culture. With this in mind we have to ask the question whether UEFA awarded the Euros aware of these barbaric attitudes, and if they were not, why they were unaware of the situation at hand?

I had read a few articles and heard the odd rumour that Polish and Ukrainian football fans could be racist, even to the point of undertaking racist attacks on other supporters and players alike. An awful thing to hear, especially when the UEFA are continually taking steps to rid football of racism. However, I didn’t really grasp the full magnitude of the problem that is blatant racism in these nations, until I watched the BBC Panorama programme Euro 2012: Stadiums of Hate. To understand the extent of the behaviour adopted by football fans you have to watch the programme. There behaviour can no longer be graced with the title Right Wing politics, it can only be described as hateful, anti-Semitic nazism.

These stadiums are a breading ground for prejudices, enmity and hostility to mere scapegoats labelled as the stimulus for their hate. These stadiums are the same ones fans from countries all over Europe will be sitting, singing and celebrating in. Does it seem right to welcome men, women and children into a place that houses an atmosphere resembling the horrific years of Nazi Germany?

It was very saddening to discover the racism that was so blatant in Poland and Ukraine, whether only in the footballing community or not, that is no excuse whatsoever. I sincerely hope UEFA have not, as I have, just discovered the situation they have entered players from all ethnic backgrounds into. This could seriously be a disaster. UEFA may have just opened a can of worms too big to swallow. UEFA must be accountable to the actions that take place in the host nations, after all UEFA were the ones gladly giving Poland and Ukraine the seat in the spotlight.

I can only hope that Poland and Ukraine are not embarrassed by these minorities who believe there is still a place for racism, let alone neo-nazis viewpoints in today’s world. In no way do I want an act of racism to be a feature of Euros 2012, however, I also don’t want these diseased cultures to go on unrecognised. There must be action taken against those who openly exclaim that ‘Jews should be hated’. There is something seriously wrong with a culture that overlooks the exclamation of racial hatred.

I had naively believed, hoped, that human nature had moved on from the past and learnt from the costly actions of others that in no way can racism, antisemitism or general hatred of an ethnic group be acceptable. We must destroy this misplaced anger, we have to, it is imperative if we are to survive as a species.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

The perfect return…

Thierry Henry, playing for Arsenal against Cha...

Thierry Henry, playing for Arsenal against Charlton Athletic

Thierry Henry returned to Arsenal on a two month loan from New York Red Bulls in their close season. Henry was a legend at Arsenal before leaving for Barcelona in 2009. With Henry on the pitch you knew there was always a chance. He had goals in his blood, if the ball dropped to him anywhere in the box, or outside for that matter, you could pretty much say goodbye to keeping a clean sheet. Tonight Henry was back in an Arsenal shirt at the grand age of 34. The Gunners were facing Leeds United in the Third round of the FA Cup, 60 minutes on the clock and it was possibly the most unentertaining cup game of the weekend, but then the introduction of Thierry Henry, now if that can’t liven up the match then I don’t know what will. As expected his introduction brought a big of jazz, if that’s even possible?

In less than 10 minuets guess who was breaking the deadlock and placing their name on the scoresheet? Yeah you got it, Thierry Henry!

For anyone who says he’s lost his class think again because Henry’s back.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Gary Speed Passes Away

 

02/09/11 Wales V Montenegro, Euro 2012 qualify...

Image via Wikipedia


Upon hearing the death of Gary Speed, a legend in British football on and off the pitch, it really made me think  how precious life is. At any moment we could be facing our last with absolutely no clue. I suppose this cruelly shows how life can never be taken for granted. With today’s expectations Speed was simply too young to die. We all expect to live on and on into our 80s at least, but in reality we have no control at all over our most defining principal: life.

The news was such a shock that it has made me realise that life should never be abused and that to live every day like your last would really be a great act. Love, care, pray and give to others as you would hope to receive could make each life on this earth as special and miraculous as its existence is.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Tevez caught thoroughly offside

Carlos Tevez, oh Carlos where do I begin? For anyone that doesn’t follow football (soccer), Carlos Tevez is one of the highest paid players in the Premier League (English Football League) and is, well brilliant that can’t be denial. However, in many ways he is simply outrageous!

 

Man City welcomes Carlos Tévez to Manchester

Tevez picture used on billboard


In Manchester City’s recent Champions League match against Bayern Munich Tevez was asked by his manager to come on with around 30 minutes to go. For anyone that is at all interested in football they know that anything and I mean anything (being an Arsenal Fan) can happen in 30 minutes. Tevez refused to leave the bench. Now that’s just the same as your boss asking you to, let’s say, finish an article and you replying…’yeah, actually you know what, probably not this time actually but cheers anyway’!

IT JUST WOULDN’T HAPPEN!

Because we are decent individuals I hear you say? Maybe. But I believe the problem is a lot deepen that a stubborn man acting well below his age and even his shoe size. Footballers are paid such ridiculous wages that they feel untouchable and this is worrying for a society in decline. Tevez can sit on the bench each week and not have one kick of a ball and still earn £200k. (pause for effect) Yep that’s right probably more that we all earn a year! Well that sucks, agreed.

By refusing to play when asked by his manager Tevez has shown a massive lack of respect. He is a fantastic footballer and surely must love playing the beautiful game. Any fan would tell you how much they would love to be out on the big stage with their stars. So Tevez’s actions has not only let himself and his team-mates down but also the fans, his wage payers.

It is astonishing to see how celebrities have become so powerful. In today’s society celebrities can get away with nearly everything and it sets a really poor example for the youth who take a lot of stick.

 

Carlos Tévez

Tevez


Should we let this lack of respect just go because he is a famous, desirable star or do we need to face up to the facts and challenge an overpaid celebrity with serious issues? Too harsh?

If Tevez would put all his energy into his gift from God then I would be his biggest fan but unfortunately his has assumed a position of superiority which frankly he hasn’t earnt and doesn’t deserve.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Serena Williams’ outrageous outburst!

 

Serena Williams at the 2008 Wimbledon Champion...

Image via Wikipedia


Serena Williams, oh dear. I have to admit I’m not a massive follower of tennis but I take a keen interest in Wimbledon and have grown up with the Williams sisters at the forehead of women’s tennis. I am a big supporter of both of them and what they have achieved in their respective careers is absolutely fantastic for any sports person. To me they seemed true sportswomen-hungry, hardworking, dedicated and damn good! Now as I said I’m not too hot on tennis so my opinions maybe slightly out of place but I want to focus on Serena Williams outburst in the US Open Final 2011.

YouTube clip of the US Open Final-Williams vs Stosur

It was just  embarrassing to watch such a celebrated athletic turn to such childish behaviour in her anger. I can sympathise and understand Williams’ annoyance with the decision in such a high profile game. However, you have to remember that she brought the decision upon herself by acting in a unsporting manner by calling out ‘come on’ before the point was actually hers. Arguably this could have put her opponent off and the Umpire, playing by the rules, had to give the point to Stosur because she touched the ball.

Personally I feel disappointed that Williams lowered herself to this level, she has an amazing record in championships and has the ability to win more but losing her temper so publicly has made a mockery of her past successes.

Sports personal who are watched with a beady eye by the media need to understand their responsibility to lead by example. Sport has a massive influence on young children and celebrities need to be big enough to control their actions, they certainly have a big enough pay check to persuade them.

The worse thing for me was that Williams was obviously so furious with the decision she insulted the Umpire and judged her as an inferior. More and more celebrities from all backgrounds see themselves as untouchable and take no responsibility for their actions. Williams called the Umpire a ‘loser and unattractive inside’ which has nothing to do with the game and was unnecessary. It made her opponent look like a worthy winner and a respectable sports-women unlike the blustering Williams.

This pathetic outburst from a player I have a lot of respect for has really made me think again about Williams’ attitude. She should be rejoiced for what she is brilliant at; tennis, but I fear this needless outburst will linger like an unpleasant smell over her remaining years at the top of world tennis.

If we can learn anything from this, it is that we should all be gracious winners, and losers whatever our circumstance or situation.

Tagged , , , , , ,

If only Usain Bolt would actually race each race!

Usain Bolt after his victory and world record ...

Image via Wikipedia

Usain Bolt-Man or Machine? I’d opt for machine to be honest. The World’s Fastest Man is not a title you earn everyday and for that he has my upmost admiration and jealously. In many ways the man is superb, his athletic ability is second to none. He simply left Walter Dix trailing in the 200m final in Daegu, and Dix is not an easy man to leave trailing.

I could sing Bolt’s praises nearly all day or in reality, all day. However, I find him utterly infuriating and not because he is outrageously confident and dare I say cocky, but because it appears he never really takes it seriously. He seems to commit halfheartedly too often. I have to admit he did fight hard in the 200m final and show a glimpse of what he is capable of. But for me it seems as though nearly every race Bolt adopts a tauntingly relaxed finish and acknowledges the crowd more than the job at hand. Other athletes push themselves to the very last millisecond just to be rubbished by an eased up Bolt. If I was his coach, thank heavens I’m not, I would be driven mad by the man. Surely every coach wants their athlete to continue to improve and break every damn record in the book! Bolt could but he seems to care less about finishing with determination than in style, and I’ll grant him that, he certainly does.

Does Bolt fear showing the world his limit? Does he purposely not fight hard to the end in every race so to not lose the illusion of his ability? I would probably have to say no and it is just that the man has a sensible tactic-That he can win the race in the first 100m allowing himself to remain fresh for the all important final. My metaphorical hat is taken off to him.

I do wish, however, that Bolt would be at his leg burstingly, temple vain popingly, teeth clenchly, brilliant best every race. I know, I know, wishes never come true!

Tagged , , , , , ,

Why I don’t care if Arsenal suffered their worst defeat since 1896

Arsenal crest

Image via Wikipedia

Yes I must confess I am an Arsenal fan. And yes I must confess I couldn’t bring myself to watch the game that many have labelled an absolute, gut wrenchingly historic thrashing. I don’t care that my beloved team were destroyed for the whole world to see by their fierce rivals. I don’t care because it has forced a change and for the better. It sounds like a cliche but this game may be the turning point that brings an end to the trophy drought that has bogged the club down for so long now.

People love to criticise Arsenal for the way they play-it’s too one dimensional, lacks a plan B, not the singer of course, and a out an out strong winning mentality. I can see this is true to an extent but people forget the brilliance that is an on-song Arsenal team. They can be the best footballing team in the world and let’s be honest every team that plays football aims to play the beautiful game beautifully, or why bother.

Anyway I digress. The humiliating 8-2 defeat means that for the first real time Wenger and Arsenal had to accept defeat graciously and act, quickly as well. As the transfer window clock ticked on Wenger possibly pulled out some of his greatest genius from the hat. He moved to bring in older, wiser and more experienced players that will form the inner core of a new Arsenal team. A giant German centre back is about all many middle aged, true Arsenal fans have been dreaming of for the last few years. An experienced player like Mertesacker should never be brandished with the title ‘a panic buy’. Wenger has, for once it seems, brought in trusted players that will help Arsenal seriously challenge for trophies. And this is all thanks to United, something I thought I’d never hear myself say.

Wenger’s philosophy hasn’t been so much as proved wrong as right. He has sold quality players that he has made and sculpted for a massive profit and brought in assured players to replace. Classic Wenger masterclass I would say but then again I may be slightly bias.

With the new look Arsenal team on show I can only thank United for their performance on the weekend and hope it will be the last of its kind. Arsenal are back with vengeance and will surprise many onlookers this season. A good bottom smacking can only make one stronger I say, but please don’t quote me on that!

The damage of defeat has been inflicted and a wounded Arsenal so often accused of sulking have moved swiftly to strengthen their ranks. Something Arsenal fans have been yearning for and so I suppose I can only thank Manchester United for their heroic display last weekend.

In Wenger I trust.

Tagged , , , ,