sabato, novembre 21, 2015

The best possible end (Rugby World Cup)

Dan Carter was already a legend in his own rights. Already the top scorer in the game by far, already considered the best fly-half of of the modern era (and possibly of any era), good looking and whatever you want to say, he got it.

But entering this Rugby World Cup he was at the end of his career, coming back to a World Cup after having lost all but the first games in the previous one. He got injured during that World Cup while he was at the top of his career and missed the rest of the competition. Then ruptured his Achilles tendon in 2013. Already new players on the rise took his place in games during last years, so his position was not the one of the big star that no-one can doubt.

Then the competition begun, the matches went on and he was playing his game, good composure, on target with the kicking. Everything was going well, even if the All Blacks were not crushing every opponent as expected, but simply winning. And then a quarter final against France started, and New Zealand won big, really big. Than the semi final against South Africa and he played well during the whole match, and he topped the performance with a fine kicked drop goal that close the gap with South Africa and inspired the come back win.

And the final came. After 4 years, Carter would have played in the final he couldn't play 4 years before. A bit older, still great, but yet not the same: age and injuries slowing him down.

And I am sitting in my couch at home with my parents, big screen in front of me, enjoying the match and hoping for him to win that match he deserves. New Zealand started strong, and he plays great. Kicking well, orchestrating the offence and tough on defence. And Australia come back, increasing the pressure on defence, with hard tackles on Carter. At least 2, one just a little late, the second definitely high. He goes on. At half time they are up big, match seemingly in control. And just after half time another try for New Zealand and Carter converts it: 21 - 3. And I think this it's over, Carter, playing a really good game, is winning his World Cup.

Nope! Australia is a young team and plays really well. And Ben Smith tip-tackle a man in orange and is sin-binned. And in those 10 minutes the Wallabies storms back and suddenly the score is 21 - 17 and the momentum is on the Australia side. New Zealand seems still composed, but they are missing something to retake control. And Carter seems tired, he got tackled and it seems to me it took him ages to stand up again. Then he has a ball to kick into touch and he misses it. I am worried, it's around 60' minutes and I feel for the better of New Zealand's chances that he should be subbed.
Then something happens. The TV shows him rallying his team-mates, his run seems fine again and he keeps on tackling as if he is a flanker instead of the fly-half.
And... and out of nowhere he kicks out a drop goal that is simply amazing. Without preparation, from 35 meters, just like he is just passing by, an incredible drop goal. No preparation, he is not deeper than usual, the Australian line is not far away, he just kicks it and it goes in. New Zealand is up 7, a converted try, and Australia starts to feel the pressure and the time winding down. Carter kicked 7 drop goals in his whole career up to that point (and 1 in the semi-final 5 days before, byt the way). I am stunned.
The match goes on, Australia putting even more pressure, the All Blacks defending with order. Then there is a penalty just inside the All Blacks' half. I think they are gonna put it on touch. Carter looks around and decides to kick. 54 meters? He converts it! I am now on my feet. Final minutes, the Australians are attacking, but they are risking too much and they lose the ball: try for New Zealand. That's the end, Carter converts with his right foot. I didn't notice it at first. He is left footed (when kicking, he is actually right handed...). Carter wins his World Cup with an incredible match.

So, this was the perfect end. They should be making a movie about this man and his career and this last match. Because this is his last match with the All Blacks. 1, 5, 9, 8. Mark these numbers: 1598. It's 2 points short of 1600. But it's a sweet number. It's his mark for test points. I doubt anyone in the future will ever surpass this number. This is Dan Carter.

giovedì, ottobre 15, 2015

Fucking midget (annoying people, part 2)

I am waiting for to go to the station and catch the train to work. I am kinda late, really late, but there are not so many train. So lets use this time for something completely useless.

Monday night, another football game of the famed team Notti Magiche. We are up 4 - 0 after 10 minutes, than we let them come back, because we are kind people. The match begins to turn to a grind, though game. We are still up 4 - 3 in the final 10 minutes of the match, they mainly try to score in counter attacks (don't ask, please don't ask how a team that is up by one is pressing high instead of waiting for the opponent to come... don't ASK!), but we are managing quite well to control. They started to make faults, we started to receive them, this is a usual pattern. For once I am not complaining that much with the referee, since he is controlling everything quite well and when he sees a harsh tackle he has no problem on talking to the player and tell him to quite down. Finally.

Then a ball in our half, rebounds high, I go and an opponent too, we try to reach the ball with the legs, his is a bit higher and far stretched then mine (he is also taller then me, lets say 10/15 cm, not that difficult, I know) and I lower it just before we reach the ball. The ref assigns a fault for me, rightfully: his leg is high and straight, dangerous play. He (the opponent) complains, and I agree: always complain! But there are no doubt it was a fault. But the funny part starts now: he goes to collect the ball, and shouts (in between with something else, but that I don't remember): "FUCKING MIDGET!"

And it was me! I was the "fucking midget"!! Come on!! I am not that short! Anyway... after realizing the comments I started to laugh! Quite hard (theatrically, lets say) and quite a lot. I was sincerely amused by the comment, and was already planning some come back. Anyway, while he passed by I told him: "Not that you are such a giant, come on!" and re-started the play.

From that point on, every time I took the ball from him, and it happened quite a lot because I didn't want him to do anything else, I was telling him: "That's the fucking midget coming!" or something similar. I also used my incredible midget strength to steal the ball from him just overpowering him, and as I said, he was taller then me and heavier than me. But fuck it!

In the end... we won. I went to him to shake his hand and he reluctantly did so. I really enjoyed that match (my match, the one from the team, not at all... again, how you manage to have them score 3 goals in counter attacks when you are up 4 - 0 ?!?).

[I know you where thinking I would have talked about the Game of Thrones midget... sorry to disappoint you!]

giovedì, ottobre 08, 2015

Draw (annoying people)

This is a football post, this is a "I annoy people and people annoys me" post.

Today is Thursday, a day I used to spend doing something for sometimes, a something that I really enjoyed doing and that now I miss quite a lot, and that now is devoted to football. Playing football. 6 vs 6 football (I know, I betrayed my beliefs... but I needed a second night of sport each week, and this was what was available).

It's with not the team I organize, and you can understand it by the fact that in 3 matches I played we've never lost. With the team I organize (7 a side) we never won.

Anyway, we are from Ukraine, we are not a great team, we are not a bad team. And tonight we draw. It was a though match, we controlled the first part of the first half, and than we were down 3 - 0 all of a sudden. We hit posts, their goalie save quite some shots, when the goalie was not there a defender saved a goal already done (by the way... mine...) and at the end of the first half we managed to score: 3 - 1!

It was a hard fought first half, we were emotionally down... but we stick together and we started the second half with high expectations. And all of a sudden we were 6 - 1 (or something similar). Holy s...!!! But we started to grind it, pass after pass, miss after miss, and they started to be de-concentrated. And we got back up to 7 - 3. And they started kicking, pushing and doing all those bullshit things that a team that is not any more confident does. They were actually pretty hard with the tackles all match long, but it's fine, if you don't push it too far and risk hurting with your tackles, it's ok with me. But they started crossing that line. And I don't like it. I became vocal about that a lot (my team-mates knows that). And at one point one of them crossed the line a bit too much and was sent out for 3 minutes (a yellow card, in this tournament). And we scored. And then they scored again: 8 - 4. And here I started to feel good, to run more, push up a little more. And we scored 8 - 5. And I pressed one of them with the ball, that thought I am a small guy and he is a strong player... and protected the ball with his strong body and I don't give a shit. You push me? I push harder than you. You hit me in the face with your flailing hand? I don't care, I sneak below it (he was actually holding me while protecting the ball, but in that way both of his arms were towards me so I could simply go around him... bad defence there, man!) and took the ball and went towards the goal and... he kicked me! From behind, not to try to take the ball, but just to hit me. Well... not a big deal, not strong enough to cause me pain, but the ref sent him off (red card... yeah!!). I called him a fucking idiot, and that's not a good thing and I am not proud of it, but I never stood people that cannot lose and that try to hurt you when they are loosing. Anyway.
We scored a goal, than I scored another one, humiliating in the process the goal keeper (that was prepared to launch the ball with the feet, but I sneak behind (today it's sneaky day!) one of his team mates and put the foot in front of the ball just when he was shooting: the ball rebounded in the goal.

And then... it's all of a sudden 8 - 7 and they are 1 man down. And we push. And I took the ball at the limit of the box behind the defenders, the goalie rushed out and I dribbled him, but pushed the ball too deep and I was all of a sudden 30 cm away from the line and outside of the goal for half a meeter. And then humiliated the goalie again (I want to stop a moment now and explain the "humiliated" thing: I don't really think that there was humiliation, but probably that's what he was thinking, because he became quite pissed off): he rushed again to me, thinking I was trapped, and I simply brought up the ball above him, jump him over, landed next to the line, a defender come but I sneak the ball in the goal (today is the sneaky day, I told you). And scored! I went to collect the ball and take it up midfield because at this point I really wanted to win and there were few minutes left. And the defender (tall guy, 1.90 metres, 90 kilos) defended the ball, pushed it with his legs against the nets (the goal's one, elastic, and the fence one, steel...y). I leaned down to take it, and he still did it, and pushed me a little, but I am a fucker, and sneak it outside from his legs and tried to stand up, and he leaned against me, I tried to go towards the centre of the field and he actually jump on me and I carried him for some meters. I thought he was joking but he was really mad at me! I told him than if he wants to make love, I was not prepared (you know, I like to annoy people) and probably pissed him off even more. So... I annoy people.

And the match ended. We didn't scored another goal (I had the chance to shoot from the distance, but I chickened out and tried to get near, but missed the occasion... meaning that I should have shot with the left and I would have scored because I am that good...). So, a draw. Match finished, time to shake hands, and I, as usual, went to all of the players and started shaking hands. They were not happy, but I was enjoying them been pissed of... I am that bastard. And the tall guy shook it, but he was shitting me over in dutch, and I went to the goalkeeper, and he took my hand... and tried to hurt me tightening the hold on my hand! But... but... are we 6 year olds?!? I could not believe... he tried it again! TWO TIMES!! I called him an idiot (again... yes, it's my favourite word) and really could not believe it.


I annoy people, I know... but they annoy me more.

martedì, ottobre 06, 2015

Not a people's person (or: how to live as an idiot)

Few days ago (actually, almost 2 weeks ago) I have had a nice confirmation of how less I understand people. Well, truth is that it wasn't really on that day that I had the confirmation, I already knew it. But it has been a nice follow up on the conclusion I had come to in past times (and actually the episode was not so important on the matter, it was really important on another level, but transeat...).

I really don't get people. I maybe am able to understand their reactions, facial expressions and words when I am actually detached from them, but the minute they matter to me... ooohh!!! That gets really interesting! I simply get lost, go blind and deaf. I know myself, so nothing that happens really takes me by surprise, but it still hurts sometimes finding out... that I was right... or wrong, depending on which side you look at the matter from.

I definitely don't get people. I am better of with animals. I can understand why an animal does something. I cannot understand why a person does something. I can't even understand why I do something, imagine the difficulty when it comes to understand other people's actions. And again, the closer I am to the person, or better, the stronger the feeling I've got towards her (yes... hehehe... it's always a she, sorry) the less I understand. And that's why I love play football and why I understand people there: I HATE EVERYBODY on the football pitch! I am obviously joking and taking everything to an extreme, but in the above three paragraphs something true can be found.

I don't understand people. Please, come clean with me. I will not understand you.

How do I live with that? Like an idiot (hence the title). I move around, doing dumb mistakes, hurting people's feelings, hurting my feelings. And there's not enough words sometimes to explain "I am sorry" other than... the actual words. And it gets annoying not understanding and not getting understood.

Anyway, it's dark outside and there's so many things I don't understand that it sound a bit ridiculous. You will see me laughing a lot... not laughing that much in the inside.

lunedì, settembre 14, 2015

Life's goals: THERMOS!

I am easily satisfied. Even if probably a lot of my friends will tell differently, I am.

And tonight, after the weekly football match (by the way, having taken 3 paracetamol in the last 24 hours it's a clear indication that you will struggle during a football match, mark my words!), I sad down, saw my new thermos, that I bought less than a week ago, sitting on the table. There's tea in it, I knew it, because I prepared it at 5 pm. And it's 9:30 now... so probably the tea will be already cold.


Ah, that's a reason to have a life, after all... right there!

(Still enjoying the second cup, by the way, just before heading to bed...)

venerdì, settembre 11, 2015

Quantum mechanics

When I was a kid, and also late in my teens, and even further in my twenties, I enjoyed reading fictions book... I am not sure if this is the correct word. Anyway, books about invented stories, not reality, not history books. I enjoyed even then the once in a while history book, or the physics manual (or ants... if that matters).

Past the thirties I started developing a taste for manuals, research papers and the such. And that's true that I can't even remember the last fiction book I have read (barring the eventual re-reading of some of my favourites like LOTR or Lem's Solaris and the Invinceble, or Garcia Marquez Cien años de soledad). I am really not sure why something like that happened. I believe it's related to my dislike of any story that ends badly: if I already know that it will end badly it's not an issue, but if I have to be passionate about the outcome and than everybody dies... no way I'd read it!

So lately I've read the history of the celts, some European early history and physics books. The latest of which happens to be an history/explanation of quantum physics that I am really enjoying.
You know, the famous Schrodinger's cat that's either dead or alive, but you will never know until you open the box... so don't open the box!
It happens that I should have studied such matter in my student life... at least at one point or the other. It happens also that... what a book! I understood things I didn't even bother to grasp in my youth! (The book is In search of Schrodinger's cat, by John Gribbin).

Other than the awe about those physics/mathematicians that developed the theory, there is the full understanding, finally, that actually we really know nothing. But mainly because we, the public, use concept of our everyday life to try to grasp something that's actually completely outside of it. There should be a physics course in everybody's life, just to have everybody understands how useless each and everybody of us is, and lower our pride to the level where... where everybody is equal and nobody deserves more than anybody else.

Fuck it... I am too deep in thoughts today... I should be drunk!

lunedì, settembre 07, 2015

12 days of Christmas

It is difficult to understand what's going on in my life. For me, I mean.

I am never too clear regarding what I really want, what it is important for me and what I would LOOOOOVE to do. Truth is that I really don't know what I like. I am a bit too apathetic in all the aspects of it (my life). I fear to commit to some specific hope, so that it cannot be crushed under the waves of life. Not that it has always happened something like that, I should say... but hey...sometimes it has happened so I am entitled in my fear!

So, there are so many things I like that I cannot pick a favourite one. I am positive that I definitely love to play football. That is for sure. I can actually say that there is no place on Earth in which I feel more at ease than any football pitch (7 a side up to 11 a side, maybe 5 a side is not really my place). And I am a bit scared about that.
But of all of the other things... did I love maths? Or I prefer physics? Or maybe natural biology? Or history? What about maps? I love maps! And sociology? Is it so interesting to check out people reactions... and music? Or movies? Or books, book I really love... but you got the picture. I can go on and on. That is one of the main reasons why I could really not end up being a good student. Nothing really interested me so much as to having myself dedicating all of my energy to it. Apart from sports in general and football in particular... but I never had the phyisique du role to really do something with that.

Anyway. Now I am buying an apartment in Amsterdam. And I love this city. But I'd love too to move back to Fuerteventura, or maybe go to Stockholm, and why not Vancouver? Canada is nice! And... and... Tahiti?

You got again the picture. I am doing this because it's the right time and probably the right place. But if you think I am completely positive about this... forget it. I am simply not interested in anything enough to have a satisfying life (whoa! WHOA!! Yes... I am pushing the limit here, a bit, just a bit). But I am doing my best and it's the best I can do, probably. Ah! If I could be able to jump off of that cliff... and really say: I LOVE THIS!

Not gonna happen any time soon, anyway. But it's good enough, no problem about that.

(Why 12 days of Christmas? Because while I was signing the contract to buy the apartment, the makelaar said that I'm gonna have it next to Christmas... by the way, the apartment will be mine on the 15th of October: IT'S NOT NEXT TO CHRISTMANS, COME ON!)

mercoledì, settembre 02, 2015

Anniversaries (or maybe it was the 4th!!)

Tomorrow it's September the 3rd, 2015.

It's an anniversary. A HUGE one. Two years ago, on that day, I was dying. And not slowly dying, that had been going on during the previous months. On the 3rd of September 2013 I stepped out of a door and my soul, my spirit simply crushed in pieces and disappeared. There's no easy way out of such situations and, anyway, I am the worst at going out of such situations. I died and walked the next year or so as a soulless spirit.

Still today I can feel the desperation of that day. Everybody feels and reacts differently, everybody is strong in some situations and weak in others. On that day I could not stand. My legs could not withstand my weight. Nothing in my life before and nothing after (up until now, of course) felt so hard to pass through. I felt so crushed that I could not breath and simply take the next step was something I still consider the biggest achievement of my life.

That happened exactly two years ago, minus one day.

Tomorrow, September the 3rd, 2015, I am going to sign the contract to buy an apartment in beautiful, cold, wet, amazing Amsterdam (thank you whores and drugs! Thanks Obama!. Tomorrow, without thinking about it, without working to make it happen, I will officially start a new life. That's a neat coincidence, a strange one.

Tomorrow, thanks to my parents, to friends near and far, to girls (yes, always girls!) met and lost, I can say that the next step is less of a burden, less of a painful stab, as it was before. Thanks to hands that patted me on the back, thanks to blue eyes that reminded me that love somewhere still existed (even if maybe is not corresponded, but who cares) the road ahead is still hard, and I know I still and forever fill the loss of that 3rd of September 2013, but...

Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains in the moon.
Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star,
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.
[J.R.R. Tolkien]

domenica, agosto 30, 2015

The words I've never said (or... missing opportunities)

I am having that feeling that: "oh, shit. I've completely lost the time to say/do it". And that even worst feeling that I've lost you. Like this, without having said or done something that was there in the air to be caught, I've lost you.

It's a fine Sunday morning, weather was supposed to be shitty, but it's not. Probably where you are the weather is better, and warmer, and you are holding somebody else's hand. And it bothers me a bit.

I've always that feeling that something else could have been done, and I haven't done. That something else could have been said, and I haven't said it. And I hate that feeling, and I always fall back on these habits and I regret to have acted like I did.

Yes... I am a good guy, and a stupid moron at the same time.

Will get better...

venerdì, agosto 21, 2015

I still got it (partially... maybe... I am not sure)

As usual if I don't write it means that everything is fine, or everything is so bad that it's too difficult to write, or that I've got no time or will to write.

As usual, if I don't write, it's because I am an asshole.

Anyhow, tonight I've had a wonderful night with some friends, having dinner on a canal, laughing at ourselves and about ourselves... living a wonderful life.

And I am now home, early for a Friday night, but not feeling the need to being out hunting for life. Life is already here.

I've been thinking about my age, about finally abandoning this lifestyle of a young and strong young man and finally entering the mature age I am actually in. Since I moved to Amsterdam I started again to play a lot of football, mainly 5 and 7 a side. It took some toll to get used to it, I got injured, I got frustrated at not been able to run as I used to, be strong as I used to. Mainly I felt so many time that I have no more the same fitness that I really started thinking: "Time for switching to golf, my dear". Legs hurting, but mainly not been able to withstand a full 50 minutes match on the pitch without going out to take a breathing (50 minutes!?!? I used to play 90 minutes... I am really old). "Who am I?", I started wandering so many times. But then, springtime came, I started playing twice a week and maybe adding a weekend of tennis... and the legs started being their usual pair, lungs started responding and 2 weeks ago we had the finals of the 2 tournaments. And I was good... I really enjoyed playing, I felt being able to control the pitch, the tempo of the game. People around me were maybe (for sure) younger and fitter, but not smart enough, not good enough, not experienced enough... and I actually played well and had good impact on the games I played. We still eventually lost. But hey, I felt: I can still play.

And it's nice, being able to compete with 20somethings when you are 40. The last match I played was the deal-breaker. We were at the 4th match of the night, having won all the others, against a younger team, more rested (they were 11, we were... 7) and, as I discovered later, an actual 11 a side team. And there were a youngster that really was a pain in our defence. A real pain in the ass: quick, strong and technically skilled. The worst possible against me. But I kept his pace, I sent him on the outside and actually controlled him with not too much effort (apparent... I was actually dying every time he was attacking me...).

They finally won, 1 to null, when I finally gambled too much and was too up the field when he got the ball. Actually, they scored when I wasn't there to defend. But, hey, I did the job for so long.

Is this important? Maybe not, life now is other things, but it's still nice knowing that I can still be a force on the field, even now, even after all that has passed, and I don't mean only years.

Good for me. Golf can still wait some years.