Monday, December 12, 2011

Manchester, What Are Your Plans for Thursday Nights?

In a somewhat hilarious turn of events, both Manchester teams got sent crashing out of the Champions League this last week, leaving just the two London clubs - Chelsea and Arsenal - alone to carry the mantle in Europe...or are they alone? Wait, isn't there another league that Manchesters United and City might feel more comfortable in? Ah but of course! The Europa League! Otherwise known as the greatest insult known to football, the Europa League is a competition that exists for the sole purpose of generating some extra money for UEFA and Channel 5. It is a wonderful competition, full of the clubs that just weren't good enough to make it into the Champions League; so of course, we must add to the pain of being knocked out in the first round of the Champions League, and throw those rejects in there as well! What joy it will bring to the rest of the country to see City and United playing on Thursday nights against teams such as Olimpi Rustavi and FK Minsk in front of a channel 5 audience! I can hardly wait!

As if to add insult to injury, Manchester City were also defeated today by none other than Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. This made Andre Villas Boas very happy, a message to his critics it seems:
"Are you not entertained?"

Saturday, November 12, 2011


With 11/11/11 upon us, it was nice to see the many tributes in the sporting world for Armistice/Remembrance day. Despite FIFA's best efforts, the England football team were finally given the go-ahead to wear poppies on their black armbands for their friendly match against Spain. I was so glad to see that common sense had prevailed. I guess that the worry had been that it was some sort of a political statement, and FIFA didn't want to have to start making exceptions to their rules. But in England, the poppy is nothing political (for most people). It doesn't have to be pro-war or anti-war. It is simply a symbol - a way for us as patriotic people to honour anyone who has died in any conflict. To deny us that show of respect would be heart-breaking. It was great then, to see the boys wearing their poppies with pride, and also observing a two minute silence before training and the game itself.

As a side that very game, England beat the World Champions, Spain! Yes! It wasn't pretty, but it was efficient, and showed great promise for the future of the England team. Now if we could only see that in a tournament...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Here Come The Girls

The other day I stumbled across this article in the Telegraph. I guess as a punishment for hooliganism, the Turkish FA decided that the female fans could teach a thing or two to the men about what it means to be a real football supporter. As a result, 41,000 women turned up and sang and cheered their way through the match. All this just proves to me is that us girls make the best fans in sports...or at least the nicest! What a great idea by the Turkish FA though, I'm sure that the last thing that the men would want is to be replaced - and then shown up by - a bunch of girls!

In other sports "news," here is a quite funny, not-meant-to-be-insulting Internet meme:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ode To David Beckham (II)

I'm sure everyone knows by now just how much I love David Beckham. In fact, a while ago I posted this hilarious video of him on Ellen. Well, guess what? He went on the show again and did another hilarious video. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

World Cup! World Cup!

The Rugby World Cup starts Saturday and I can't wait.

Source: via Rachel on Pinterest

England's chances are relatively slim, but remember, we've done it before...

Shortly after the whistle blew, this picture was taken. It is also the inspiration for the title of this post, as Jonny himself claimed to be yelling "World Cup! World Cup!" in his excitement.

Of course, as per usual, the favourites this year are the All Blacks, so here's a little something to set the mood...

Kind of makes you embarrassed for when the BYU football players attempt it...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Weekly Round-Up

In a shocking turn of events, I am actually going to write a post that is actually about sports this week!

Source: via Rachel on Pinterest

Last week England's cricket team became the number one test team in the world, after destroying the previous top team India. Alastair Cook was the star man with an amazing 294 runs. It's always great to see an English sports team succeed, especially when you consider that in 1999, England were sitting shamefaced at the bottom of the rankings. Here's to many more years at the top!

On to football, and the start of a brand new Premier League season. It came as much of a surprise to most that Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea all failed to win on the opening day - with all three teams drawing with underwhelming opposition (although we must give at least some credit to Newcastle, Sunderland and Stoke respectively). For your information, here were the results from that opening weekend:

Blackburn 1-2 Wolves
Wigan 1-1 Norwich
Man City 4-0 Swansea
West Brom 1-2 Man Utd

I guess you could look at this and predict an easy win for Manchester United this season (not that I would ever automatically rule out Man City...except I do), but I don't really believe that there's too much that you can learn from one round of matches, and I still believe anyone could win it.

Over in the United States, Robbie Keane has become the latest player to join the ranks of the MLS, by signing for L.A. Galaxy. Here's what he had to say about it: "I have always wanted to come and play in MLS so it's the perfect combination for me and a dream come true." Now as much as I love the MLS, I find it really hard to believe this statement. If it was indeed a "dream come true," then why on Earth didn't he come over earlier - some time before he turned 31? Come to think of it, why didn't he join Real Salt Lake or any other team here? I suspect that the "dream" lies in living in Los Angeles, rather than playing for their team...

Monday, August 8, 2011

Mini Mourinho

I recently realised that the Premier League season is upon us (yobs permitting), and I have been remiss in failing to mention the (sort of) recent acquisition of one Andre Villas-Boas as the new Chelsea manager. So young and relatively inexperienced, he is something of an unknown quantity. However, having followed closely in one Jose Mourinho's footsteps at both Chelsea and F.C. Porto, I would like to say that I am more than happy to welcome our very own Mini Mourinho to the Chelsea management team - even if it's for no other reason than his looking rather good in a suit...

Let's hope that he's the master tactician that he promises to be!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


In celebration of the release of the last movie in the Harry Potter series, I thought I would write a post about something topical. I recently discovered that there exist in this country, groups of people who like to get together and play "real-life" Quidditch. Here is a video of it.

As much as I love the Harry Potter books and movies, I am kind of perplexed by this one. First off, what on Earth do they mean "real life"?? Harry Potter IS real life! Secondly, surely playing quidditch without a flying broom (and snitch for that matter), defeats the point? Foolish muggles! Lastly, I refer to Quidditch Through the Ages by Kennilworthy Whisp (also J.K. Rowling), "The United States has not produced as many world-class Quidditch teams as other nations because the game has had to compete with the American broom game Quodpot". Where then, is Quodpot? I thought Americans weren't too keen on Quidditch? Having said that, it is nice to finally see Americans embracing at least one global sport...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Americans and the Weird Sports they Play

For a country full of people who make fun of perfectly normal things such as a five-day-long cricket match, they sure do play a lot of weird sports - and I'm not talking about baseball and American football.

Allow me to enlighten you.

Ultimate Frisbee

It never occurred to me that there was ever, or could ever be, anything "ultimate" about throwing a frisbee. This could of course be because any frisbee that was thrown by me is likely to find itself falling limply to the floor somewhere six miles east of where I had meant to throw it. Nonetheless it was incredibly strange to me, when I stepped foot upon these shores once again, to find out that, not only was frisbee an intense team sport here, but that people - especially people in Provo - were actually rather fond of it.

Still unsure of exactly how the rules work, it appears to be some kind of cross between netball and soccer; with a frisbee.


All those hours after school spent watching Recess finally paid off, when I discovered that kickball is in fact a real sport. That people play. Competitively. Again, being a mostly inexperienced kickball player (as in, I have never seen or played in a game, ever), I can only gather something of the rules; but it seems to be baseball, but with a dodgeball.


This is a game that I had never even heard of until I played it. Volleyball, but in a sort of squash court, so that the balls can bounce off of the walls. Very strange.

So there you have it, three new games that I still have yet to understand. However, as I see it, the point of these is simply to have fun. And I'm always looking to expand my repertoire of fun. Anyone have a frisbee?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I Think it's Time for Another Video... here's one. This is what happens if you fall asleep at the cricket.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

It's Not So Good To Be Green

So the other day I read this article about Robert Green. Apparently he is considering international retirement. This would make him the third English goalkeeper (that is still playing) to make this move, after Paul Robinson and Ben Foster did the same. Other players such as Jamie Carragher and Paul Scholes have also taken similar steps away from international football, and this latest one has got me thinking - what has happened to good, lionhearted patriotism?

I'm beginning to realise just how much I refer to David Beckham in this blog, but to quote the great man's agent, "he will always be available for his country, when fit and if needed, he will be there." Now that's what I call duty to a cause. Now 36, he is no spring chicken, but if he were to be called up, he would be there in a heart beat.

From what I understand, most of the aforementioned players announced their international retirement due to a lack of really international retirement is the new way to save the embarrassment of not being picked for the first team. This is also being cited as Robert Green's excuse.

So not enough opportunities, eh Rob? O.K. then, let's take a look at the last time an English manager let you play...

I know, I know, it was just one mistake - in the opening game of the World Cup - perhaps we should just forgive and forget. So let's take a look at his club form for West Ham...who just got relegated...this is awkward...

Maybe he's right, he should definitely be England's first choice goalkeeper.

Monday, May 9, 2011


Now that Chelsea can officially win nothing this season, following their crushing loss to Manchester United, and with the rugby and basketball seasons over, I feel it is time to turn attention to the best thing about the summer: summer sports! I must admit, there was a time in my life when I bemoaned the summer, and greatly mourned the close of Premiership football each very young and foolish I was. I am here to tell you that there exists a magic formula in sport, and this is it - the sun. There is something so very special about those sports that are half about the result, but just as much about sitting in the sun, eating strawberries and cream, and watching a fine sporting contest.


Doesn't this just look like the perfect day?

Many people struggle to understand the sport of cricket, with its long matches and complicated rules. So here's the Sparknotes version: the most runs and you win. Try watching a game of Twenty20 first, as it's more exciting and it's fun to see them wack the ball so much - that's how I got hooked. Americans always argue that higher scores in sports are better, so then cricket would be the perfect sport - run totals are always in the hundreds! Well except sometimes when England have an off day...


Yes, I realise that tennis is going all year round, but the climax of the tennis season for many people is that wonderful tournament, Wimbledon. There's nothing like (Kent) strawberries and cream, sunshine, a struggling British hope, and lots and lots and lots of rain to make a great British summer!


Now I won't profess to be a huge baseball fan...THIS is a huge baseball fan...

But I did stay up all night in 2004 to watch the Red Sox win the World Series...that's gotta count for something, right? Anyway, much like cricket, baseball is a sport that - for me - is best enjoyed casually, with a cool (non-alcoholic) beverage, and good company.


Known in the United States as "track and field", athletics is getting a lot of exposure due to Usain Bolt, which is fair...because he can run the 100m in 9.58 seconds without even breaking a sweat. Anyway, despite the strangeness of having regular competitions of "I can run faster/jump higher/jump longer than you" or the triple jump (weirdest event ever, I have never understood where that came from), there is something really compelling about watching these competions and rooting for your country's athletes. I challenge you to do it (sometime other than during the Olympics) and not get hooked!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

For England, and St. George!

Get a playlist!

Yesterday was St. George's day, and as is custom in England, there were numerous newspaper articles lamenting the loss of a great tradition of a national holiday celebrating England - Ireland have St. Patrick's Day, the United States have the 4th of July...and so on and so on. No doubt plenty of things have been said about English and their patriotism/lack thereof. However, despite the relative unimportance of St.George's day in the English calender, I argue that, perhaps, the English are more patriotic than is simply manifested differently - through sport.

I know, I know, I would say that in a sports blog; but no one who has ever been to England during a World Cup could possibly argue any different.

For those of you who don't know, England's sporting teams are notoriously unlucky and decidedly average at many sports that we so arrogantly consider to be "ours"; and none more so than the England football team. In the 46 years since 1966, England have failed to win a single World Cup or European Championship. This then, is a tribute to our great, underachieving English football team!

We Was Robbed!

We English do love a good scapegoat. The following are specific reasons why we did not win certain past Word Cups/European championships.

1986 - The "Hand of God" - Maradona cheats to win. In the aftermath of the Falklands War, it is a rivalry that has lasted to this day.

Of course, he also scored a rather good second goal...but we ignore this.

1998 - David Beckham gets sent off. Becomes a hate figure in England.

If you don't know what happened, you can watch it here.

Euro 2004 - The goal that never was, by Sol Campbell.

2010 - The goal that most definitely was, but the linesmen were blind.

Germany went on to win 4-1, but this goal would have made it 2-2, with the momentum in England's favour.


For some reason, there exists a curse that springs up as soon as England are involved in a penalty shoot-out. Having only won one in the six that they have been involved in in major competitions, they are not what we would call "penalty masters". And they are usually lost in excruciating circumstances against the Germans. So long World Cup 1990, 1998, 2006 and Euro 1996 and 2004.

On the Plus Side...

English football fans are among the best in the world, and hopefully one day we will be rewarded with a victory that will spark celebrations that will be even greater than when the rugby team won the World Cup in 2003.

But until then, we will just continue to be fiercely patriotic. At least when England play.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Ode to David Beckham

I have a fabulous internship with Real Salt Lake. It's pretty much the best thing that's ever happened to me. Yesterday we were visited by one David Beckham - who, incidently, could not prevent L.A. Galaxy from losing horribly, in front of "the fortress" at the Rio Tinto Stadium. However, having now seen him up close, I can establish that he is still a beautiful man, and I would say quite handy with a football too. So in honour of this occasion, I have decided to post this hilarious video of him performing a prank on The Ellen Degeneres Show. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Glory Days

England's rugby team lost to Ireland this weekend, thus forfeiting the Six Nations Grand Slam. How appropriate that it should also be on the weekend after St. Patrick's day. I was an unfortunate spectator to this display of great ineptitude by England - the time difference and kind start time meant that I could watch at a rather pleasant 11am - and, although I was mostly just glad to be able to watch some international rugby, it saddened me to see England play so poorly when I can still remember that World Cup and Grand Slam winning team of 2003. It still gives me chills to think of that last-minute drop-kick by Jonny Wilkinson. My current background is (obviously) a tribute to that sweet moment.

You know it's strange, but despite this loss, England are the winners of the 2011 RBS Six Nations trophy - which apparently means nothing if it's not a Grand Slam. Here, with their shining trophy, are Martin Johnson and Lewis Moody looking very...well, moody...

Ah well... I guess you can't have it all...

However, over on this side of the pond, BYU Basketball are very much living their glory days, and loving every minute of it. Proud participants in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen, here is a wonderful tribute to the awesomeness that is BYU.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ugly Football Shirts

So last night I had this dream that Chelsea had changed their home kit to something similar to this, except with more red:

It was awful, I had to call Mum in England just to ask her to buy the old one before it ran out! For those of you who don't know, this is the old one, held beautifully by Fernando Torres.

Of course it could have been worse...


So I guess I should count myself lucky!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Circles and Spirals

So many things have happened recently that I have failed to comment on; as such, I will attempt to rectify this. Right now.

A lot has be said recently about BYU nationally and internationally because of the Brandon Davies incident. With BYU getting so much attention, it was a nice surprise to see that the vast majority of it was positive, such as this article in Time. Although I am devastated that this happened - putting a major dent in our NCAA championship ambitions (I know that may be going a bit far, but c'mon, it's just fun to say that we COULD have won it), I am glad to know that I go to a University that will stick to its principles, maintaining honor no matter the situation.

Speaking of honor, Noah Hartsock received an honorable mention in the Mountain West Conference awards for this season. Many of our players were included, including Jimmer as the MWC Player of the Year due in part to an amazing season.

An amazing season which saw the Cougars win the Mountain West Conference for their last season as a member of it; it was sealed with a win over Wyoming.

Did I say win over Wyoming? Well, seeing as we're on the subject, let's talk about the awesome flashmob performed by the amazing BYU student section in what was our final home game of the season.

While we're on the subject of home, I was more than shocked to find out that England beat South Africa in the Cricket World Cup after reaching a batting total of just 171. Usually when they produce the unexpected it's not a good this was a nice surprise!

But then, I guess the sporting world in England is always capable of producing strange occurrences (WARNING: man in mankini! Not for the faint-hearted)...

Curious sending off, but apparently it's in the rules of the game...honestly I think the guy did us all a favour! Judging by the stewards running around in the full version of this incident, I doubt they ever would have caught the guy by themselves. Since there were also two other sendings off in this match, I would suggest that this referee gets a job at are obviously his thing!

And so to finish it off, just a personal observation of my own. Why is it that whenever I go running in Provo, every yappy dog in the town comes out to annoy me from its front yard? I can't help but think, "really? I've had dogs that could swallow you whole!"

Monday, February 28, 2011

Why You Should Like Sport If You Don't Already

What is it about sports that has us so involved? The world over, sports - whatever form they take - make billions of dollars. But that doesn't even begin to describe the hold that it has over people. It's not just a profitable business, but a way of life, a part of culture.

It can even be used to pinpoint differences between nations. Here - I'll prove it: for the English (and indeed most of the world), there's nothing but football. But being the English, we still must cling to the past - those glory days of the Great British Empire - thus, rugby and cricket are still popular sports. The United States, never ones to conform, invented their own versions of certain sports, and they have became the main ones today - American football, baseball, basketball. And the French...well the French like whichever sport they're doing best I would say rugby right now...but we'll come to that...

Still though, why is it that we are still so enthralled with such a seemingly inconsequential thing? One might point to a common phrase, "it's only a game!" But is it?

Let's look at a couple of examples from this weekend.

Provo is buzzing right now. There isn't a soul at BYU who hasn't heard the name Jimmer Fredette, or at least a little bit about the massive top 10 win over SDSU, which launched them to No. 3 in both national polls. A win like that can really change the mood around a place, and certainly has done wonders for the LDS church's national exposure.

England beat France this weekend. No, there was not a war. Not of that kind anyway. But this was a huge game. Why? Well, OK both teams were unbeaten in this year's Six Nations tournament. But ALSO, this was England v. France. It's a rivalry that goes back centuries. Previously manifested in real wars, now it is only existent in sport. But what an existence it has.

Reason 1

And here is where we get a key reason as to why sport is so huge. It has such an important role to play in modern-day patriotism. This is why sporting rivalries so often continue old political rivalries. Take the World Cup this year. The USA saw the England match as a massive game, because of the history between the two countries. Such is the case between England and Argentina, France and Italy, or Germany and....well, anyone. And surely that can only be a good thing? If patriotism is kept alive through sport and not war, I'm sure there will be no complaints.

Reason 2

Unity. The Olympics happens every four years, but every time it does, we see the whole world sitting down to enjoy the individual achievements of others. The same thing happens with the World Cup. We may be competing against each other, but really we're all united.

Which leads me to...

Reason 3

Individual greatness. We all love inspirational stories like the one above. There is nothing like hearing a story of someone who has overcome all odds to achieve greatness. And in today's society, sporting achievements are the epitome of physical greatness. As is this man:

And besides all that, sport is just really fun! Anyone can go to a game/match/test and have the time of their life being part of a crowd of die-hard fans. In Shakespeare's time, this is what the theatre was like, but for us, there exists something that might just be better. The world of professional sport. You just have to pick a side!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Best Goal Ever?

Now every time a great player scores a great goal I'm quite the skeptic, "but would people still be saying this if he played for Notts County," I ask? Well friends, we have a rare occasion where I definitely believe that they would...which is irrelevant because I struggle to think of a player on Notts County's current roster that could manage this...

Amazing. Now let's see that for England.

In other news, anyone who is aware of BYU Athletics' student ticket policies will not be surprised when they see this picture I took at the BYU v. Utah men's basketball game.
For those of you who do not understand what they are looking at, this is the Marriott Center, two hours before the game. As is usual, the student section is completely full, with no one else there. Some of those seats will not even be full by tip off. Students have to come this early or risk being turned away without getting me, it's happened a few times (despite claims made by an email sent from BYU Athletics).

On the plus side, I got in, BYU won, Charles Abouo had a killer game, and Jimmer was alright...just the 23 points this week then.

The Utes knew what was coming. They couldn't handle the fear.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Do You Hear the Drums?

Anyone who hasn't been living under a metaphorical, Ihatefootball/thenews/anythingtopical/Idon'thatethemIjustliveinAmerica rock for the past few days will have heard about the transfer of Fernando Torres from Liverpool to Chelsea.

At the risk of revealing too much about myself, I am a Chelsea fan... so for me, this was pretty good news...

Excited as I was, it was only natural that I should share my feelings with those closest and dearest to naturally I posted a link on Facebook. The results, however, were somewhat surprising. My Facebook friends definitely know more about soccer than I gave them credit for...and it wasn't the English ones. Football is definitely a growing sport in the States, and a large part that growth is happening here in Utah; I would say that this is partly down to the number of immigrants from Central and South America, and largely because of the number of people who move to all parts of the world (serving an LDS mission) for two years and then return with a new-found passion for the game of football.

For those of you who were under the previously mentioned rock, here is the brief version of the events of the past week:

Fernando Torres is one of the best strikers in the world. Part of Spain's World Cup winning team this summer, he is a true goal-machine and was a crucial part of Liverpool's first team. However, during the World Cup and even after, he suffered something of a prolonged post-injury slump in form. This transfer window, Chelsea pounced and shelled out £50million for him. Rip off? I don't think so. Despite his drop in form, Torres remains a quality forward and will continue to be so - you can't get rid of skill of that kind. At 26 years old, he is also relatively young for a footballer today, and far younger than most of his Chelsea team mates!

I for one, cannot wait to see what Torres can achieve with this Chelsea team and I will be watching eagerly on Sunday, along with the rest of the footballing world, to see what will happen when Chelsea showdown against Liverpool.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Basketball. If there is one sport in the States that I have really grown to love, it is the one played with a bouncy orange ball, between two hoops. Ironic really, considering I couldn't stand netball in school...but that's a story for another day.

I can still remember my first basketball experience at BYU after coming to the States from England. After the formality of American football, I feel I can compare the start of the basketball season to the teenagers hosting a party once the parents leave town. At least that is the experience of college basketball. With the covered arena that is the Marriott Center, there is a real opportunity for an atmosphere.

And here in Provo, boy is there an atmosphere.

I cannot explain the chills that come with 22,000 screaming fans and a lights out introduction. Now I'm not saying it's better than a Premier League soccer match, but it is definitely a different experience.

After three years of dedicated following and support of the BYU basketball team, this year has just exploded. Freshman year, I can remember being impressed with this other freshman kid - Jimmer Fredette. "What a funny name...hey, he's pretty good!" Such was the chain of thought for most of us. This year - his and my senior year - he's finally becoming that iconic player that BYU has been looking, even grasping for (remember Plaisted? Cummard?) ever since Danny Ainge. After 42 points against #4 SDSU, here it is: Jimmer for President! Or maybe just Player of the Year...