Slam and Dunk

Deep in the Northern Hemisphere winter is a time when the egg-chasing sports enthusiasts get their moment in the limelight; when the Six Nations Rugby Championship takes centre stage; where some of the people of Wales connect with a strange kind of religious fervour.

This year it all kicked off with the biennial ‘Men in Skirts‘ weekend, as Scotland arrive in Cardiff. A brief moment when men can be true to their inner selves, and at least one shopping-laden woman can turn a blind eye…

1. a) Scary scrum

Scotland were in the rarified position of being tipped by many as favourites to win in Cardiff, only to be blown away 34-7 by the native dragon of Wales

1. b) City Road dragon [2]

Next up, it was the turn for Wales to be on the road, with the fixture that inspires thoughts of a clash with old enemies rather than a celebration amongst rivals. What would the marauders across the Severn Bridge take to the hosts of England, tipped to be champions before the tournament started? Well, with dragon-hearts in mouths for most of the last 60 minutes, it wasn’t to be, as St George stumbles to a 12-6 win, and the guest fire-starters prove at the final whistle to be a little more inert in portraying their true heritage…

2. Inert firestarters

Staying on the road, next up is the always welcome trip to Ireland, where the lotion joyously flows, and the red army have frequently found travelling success. As added-on time arrives Wales are only 3 points behind and in possession with the potential of a match-winning try; and then that wayward pass…… Ireland clinically strike for a 37-27 victory, as Welsh heads are bowed…

3. Fallen head [4]

With two oh-so close matches away, Wales return home determined not to let an unpredictable season slip on the banana skin that Italy may lay down at the Millennium Stadium (no Principality Building Society product placement accepted here!). A frenetic first half is followed by a procession to a 38-14 home win…

Banana skin

Which only leaves the simple matter of a victory in the final home match with France to secure a creditable second place in the Championship. If only… Wales don’t do ‘simple’! After most of the match watched through parted fingers, mouth agape, from behind the sofa, the final whistle brings that rarest of outcomes… Rabbits 14 Headlights 13…

5. Desperately holding on

Until we speak again, you may ask “but what about the other matches?” to which the carefully tutored Juno and Bella would answer “so what!” Another Six Nations comes to an end, with congratulations to Ireland for the Grand Slam of 5 wins in 5 games, and even greater congratulations to England for their Number 5… the Dunk of finishing 5th out of 6!

4. Pride restored

Feline fortitude

So, what did we learn from watching more than 124,000 seconds of Championship football home matches at the Cardiff City Stadium across 2016/7? The main message to take into the summer:

Football is… a bunch of fat blokes sitting down, telling a bunch of fit blokes running around, what to do.

Pinterest and 9Gag

And, for those cats who prefer the scintillating excitement of watching on TV from the comfort of their sofa…

Zak Show dot Com

Until we speak again, choose your refreshment to get into shape, and build your ridiculously high expectations for your team, in time for the new season in August!

[For the record the Mighty Bluebirds have risen from 24th in October 2016 to finish 12th at the end of this season. Project that rise forward, and… no, I’d better not go there, at least until too much sun has fried my brain.]

[With acknowledgements to Zak Show.com & 9GAG for the original images used to illustrate this post.]

 

The will of the people

We live in such divisive and divided political times that abiding by ‘the will of the people‘ is a constant mantra delivered by the fearful so-called winners. The Brexiteer 52% (approximately 37% of adult UK voters) will have no truck with any attempt to debate the way forward. Any expression of a desire to debate issues is instantly drowned out by this vaguest of phrases. When challenged as to what the Brexit plan could be about, headless chickens may well provide a clearer answer…

Difficult choices

In Scotland, the 45% who want independence from the UK have the dominant voice in most political discourse. Or is that the 62% who want to stay in Europe (against ‘the will of the people‘)?

Looking for clarity from across the western democratic world? Why not check out the US, where the person who accrued less of the total number of votes wins all! A clear mandate to show the middle finger to the rest of the world beyond US borders, aka the will of the people.

Challenge any of these populist movements to give us a clue as to where we are actually going, and they have only a Plan A all the way to the sunny uplands of making us (or is that US) great again (as mandated by the will of the people)…

Concept: Successful business trend. Happy talented businesswoman

Talking of La La Land… the will of the football tribe is never ambiguous. Ask any one of the 100% of Cardiff City FC fans, and there is only a completely singular ‘will of the people‘… we are the greatest team in football the world has ever seen! Fortunately, on this occasion we ran into an Ipswich Town team largely resembling the Tractor Boys image externally imposed on ‘the will of their people‘; so that at least today the ignominious chant of the home fans could pass any scrutiny.

20170318_165053

Until we speak again, I would strongly recommend the will of cats, as demonstrated by Juno. they are much better at herding than being herded, whatever the statistics try to say!

You talking to me?

 

It’s going to be great, really great!

Optimism can be infectious, even when the source is somewhat dubious and dangerous. But beware to take in the full picture when someone is promising to make things great again, really great folks. It’s going to change, really change folks! I loved a recent comment on the change in American politics… a nation that has undergone a transition “from the changey-hopey thing to the strangely-gropey thing!”  And I was particularly reminded of this in the following photo from my perennial seat of hope down at the Cardiff City Stadium. What is Bartley the mascot doing to that woman steward? If this is leadership, then Cardiff City FC may just be taking the USA lead a little too literally.

bartley-2

But, where there is optimism greatness may just follow. Our own new leader seems to be doing something right…

warnock

Following a recent home defeat we then went on to two away wins before hosting the bottom of the table Rotherham United. Well, expectations of a thumping win were high, and for once our team on the pitch didn’t disappoint…

5-0

Yes, even I need to blink… 5-0. Things are going to be great folks, really great!

fireworks-on-dark-sky                                       chilling-in-the-sun

Until we speak again, Bella reminds us to enjoy the sun while it shines, because in this game there will always be a ‘but…’

Inauguration Day

Well, if it’s good enough for the ‘Man Fart’ in Washington D.C., then it’s good enough for the War-lord in Cardiff!

As the massed ranks take their place to witness the pageantry, all await the Gettysburg, no, Cardiff City Stadium address…

city-v-burton-1

“We’re going to make the Bluebirds great, again!”

warnock

“We’re going to build a wall to keep the others out!”

wall-of-balls-2

“And we’re going to make the Albion pay for it!”

city-v-burton-2

Until we speak again, don’t blink with the boredom of the first 91 minutes, the outrageous promises of the previous campaign may have been missing, but you don’t want to miss the big moment!

look-no-eyes

Post truth

Politics has probably always been the art of conning the masses into believing something that rarely stands up to the facts. Come the time for an election (or referendum for that matter) the claims to shoot for the moon abound… anyone in the UK might remember a certain red bus with £350 million on the side? Anyone in the USA might remember how the Mexicans were going to pay for a wall to keep them out?

night-cannon-moon

We have plumbed new depths for claiming that our values and feelings are actually facts. Why, just the other day while the Bluebirds were shooting for the moon (well, they hardly have sight on goal) it became apparent that the moon was presenting an elusive target… is this evidence that it was actually shifting back and for across the sky?

moon-shooting

But nothing resembles the new ‘post truth‘ better than the home fans chant of:

“And it’s Cardiff City,

Cardiff City FC,

By far the greatest team in football,

the world has ever seen.”

If you are part of the tribe, and you listen to it long enough, you might just begin to believe. Though the second half siege that Aston Villa laid on the Cardiff defence would surely cast doubts in even the most deluded of minds. Juno certainly had a sceptical look whenever this chant was presented as an interruption to feline ablutions. “Lick this Luciano!” was the most likely refrain…

lick-your-own

Until we speak again, the final score was Cardiff City 1 Aston Villa 0. Perhaps that ‘post truth‘ chant had a scintilla of foundation to it. But then, maybe Brexit & Trump will be good for us all as well!? Next time: pigs will fly over the Cardiff City Stadium!

 

CL-UMP

A coming together of protagonists for a staged event lasting 90 minutes, whereby the two opposing forces seem loved by the few and disliked by the many. Blows are traded, almost like handbags at five paces, until one or other side lands a decisive strike (or two). But ‘decisive’ is meaningless, as the competition on show is but a small part of the overall contest, to be decided at a date already determined for the conclusion of the campaign.

Immigration is not an issue for the two sides that have nothing but open arms (though limited economies) for the influx of outside talent; and there certainly were no walls being built by the home defence! I don’t know how many Hilary’s or Donald’s were on show, but there was a grim consistency in the message for the home believers, as Derby County just edged the bottom of the table duel at Cardiff City 0-2.

A poignant message could be viewed on the big screen… a lament for the cancellation of the home team’s Goal of the Month Competition; owing to the fact that the home team didn’t score any goals at their home venue throughout the month of September!

in-memory-1

right-hook

 

Until we speak again Juno would have had no gender bias I’m sure, but her wishes for Hilary would be ‘deliver a knock out blow’!