Definitely not “winter is coming” but “winter is here”. The sun may well be out, but there is a chill in the air, enough to make me want to rug up and stay indoors.
Which is what I have been doing a fair bit of, especially after sustaining another injury last Saturday. I wouldn't have minded so much had I stopped the goal, or the team had won, but we crashed to a 1-3 defeat to the side just below us on the ladder. All of that made it a pretty miserable afternoon for me. The train ride home felt longer than usual, and all I really wanted to do was to curl up on the couch as soon as I got home, after grabbing a bite to eat of course.
So, how did I do it? First half, around fifteen minutes in, a pair of attackers came straight through on the strength of a good ball, with only one defender to stop them – me. The sweeper had gone too far forward, and I had no idea where the right-hand defender was, which left me trying to get in-between both of them and somehow get to the ball. The keeper came out to the edge of the box, they got around him, took a shot at the goal, the ball rolling in about a second (if that) before I stretched out to try and stop it. I felt something go “twang” in my left leg, and I collapsed off the field beside the post. I tried to get up, and immediately discovered that something was quite wrong and just managed to limp to my bag to rub some deep heat on it. It didn't sink in until half-time that my game, for today, was over. An ice-pack was provided, and I spent about half of the second half with it under my leg.
It didn't help that goals weren't going in the other end either. Another penalty was missed (I don't think we've had one successful one taken so far this season), a few shots went wide, and their goalkeeper pulled off a few good saves that made well and truly sure that we weren't even going to get a point.
So it really doesn't look good for this Saturday. I'm one of two players injured, and two more are unavailable, leaving the side with about fourteen players. It's a crucial game too. Five games to go in the season, the manager reckons that we need to win three of them to secure a top four spot. We would prefer a third, so we don't have to face the team coming first in the first round of play-offs.
Can I walk? Yes, provided I don't try to walk too fast. Yesterday I had to scamper to get a connecting bus yesterday. It hurt. Stopping suddenly hurts as well, so whenever I can, it's a lie down on the couch and keeping the whole leg straight, seeing my left knee hurts as well if I've been sitting down for too long. (Another injury, which was sustained a few weeks ago after being fouled in the in-goal area.)
So, the world cup is over. Very few could argue that Germany didn't deserve to win the tournament. From their 4-0 thrashing of Portugal in the opening round, their 1-0 win over France in the quarter-finals, then their 7-1 blitzkrieg over a woeful Brazil in the semi-final, they had been a dominant force, without that much attention being paid to them. Whilst the football world was watching to see if the host nation was going to break their 64 year hoodoo, or if indeed it was going to be a South American final between Brazil and Argentina, the Germans picked off their opponents, then with a thunderous lightning bolt destroyed the host nation's dream, which was subsequently trodden into the dirt by the Dutch with a 3-0 victory in the third place play-off. Already there are hundreds of memes and pictures lampooning the poor effort by the hosts. The best one I've seen is of a selection menu of a football game, with Brazil being the bottom difficulty level after “Very easy”.
As for the final, well, it was well worth getting up for. The lack of sleep not a problem, seeing I was so keen to watch the match. Argentina had plenty of chances to win the game, and failed to take them. When the goal finally did come, 113 minutes into the match, there was little doubt in my mind that Germany was going to win. And what a winning goal it was. It was a goal worthy of winning the most important match in the world, one that every aspiring player could even dream of scoring. A wonderful cross, the ball chested down, and before it hits the ground the left foot lashes out and hammers it past the keeper into the right-hand side of the net. Sigh!
Ironic to think, that the host nation was willing the Germans to win. I don't think they would have ever been able to tolerate their arch-rivals Argentina beating the side that thrashed them 7-1 in the semi. And I can't help but thinking, from a theological point of view, that whatever deity the Brazilians were praying to before, during, and after that match was definitely not listening. In fact, he/she/it felt the need to punish them even further by having them trounced for the bronze medal match as well. One could well ask why they were being punished. I could offer a couple of reasons, the first being that they punished for their pride believing that they had a given right to win this world cup, and/or, that they obvious felt it was necessary to lavish millions of dollars on an event in order to win the tournament (to kill off the spectre that's hung over them since Uruguay beat them the last time it hosted the world cup) at the expense of all those who were deprived of health care, education, housing, food, and even law and order that those millions could've provided. One could say, that that is punishment enough.
Finally, I should add one little further thought. Germany won the world cup because they were the better TEAM. Football is a team sport, and the old maxim of “a champion team will beat a team of champions” can surely be applied here. Despite having a player pulling out of the side during the warm-up prior to the final, despite having a player (the very one that was brought into the team to replace the injured player) substituted off thirty odd minutes into the match, they didn't look any worse than their opponents. In the end, it was a substitute that scored the winner. Ten defenders and ten attackers the German coach said during the tournament. They weren't reliant on any one player, although their keeper Neuer, was brilliant, often playing as a sweeper at the back, and thoroughly deserved of the Golden Gloves award. (Which is more than what I could say about Messi being awardedthe Golden Ball for the best player of the tournament. One could easily say it was a “WTF?” moment.)
Enough of football. Apart from watching a lot of football, I have been distracted during the long winter days and nights at home by a) watching a lot of DVDs and recorded movies, b) playing computer games. I did find the courage to actually go for a walk last week (and was rewarded by adding another bird to my collection), but with all the cold weather outside, I felt it was wiser to stay indoors.
Anyway, in recent weeks, I have acquired a couple of computer games. The first, the latest instalment of the great Close Combat series (the Caen breakthrough), the other, Tropico V, one of my all time favourite games, seeing it allows me to become a dictator of a country in the luxury of my own home. Both definitely allowing me to kill plenty of time, and to provide distractions whilst the world cup wasn't on.
As for films, well, I've started to go through the recordings on the portable hard-drive and watch them. I've discovered that there were a few Shaw Brothers films on there, as well as a number of Wuxia films as well. And if that hasn't been enough, I've been re-watching my Bond collection as well. So far, I've watching all the Connery ones (including Never Say Never Again, though not part of the official franchise), all the Moore ones, and the first of Timothy Dalton's pair, The Living Daylights (based off a Fleming short story I should add).
Do I have a favourite Bond film? Have to admit, even though I don't like Moore as Bond, Live and Let Die still is my favourite (it was the first one of the books that I remember reading), marginally ahead of On Her Majesty's Secret Service. (To think, Lazenby could've taken over the franchise, but was warned off from doing it by his agent... ) The first one that I ever remember seeing was For Your Eyes Only, strangely enough, at the drive-in in Tamworth.
Favourite Bond? Lazenby. But in an argument over Moore or Connery, Connery is always going to win. (To think, Moore was first choice as Bond, but couldn't do it because he was doing The Saint television series.)
Finally, there has been one other thing that I have been working on. The comic book shop that I hang out in at least once a fortnight, Dark Dimensions, is having a trivia night this Friday. Yours truly is hosting it, and has gone to great lengths to even write the questions for it as well, 50 in all. Naturally, the theme is going to be pop-culture, which, I find, is pretty hard to define seeing pretty much everything can be pop-culture, just the same as anything can attain “cult” status. Anyway, there are questions about comic book characters, there are questions about fantasy and sci-fi movies, there are questions about TV series. I have tried to cover as wide as field as possible, but can't have a question on everything. (I didn't even put one in about the X-Files.) There are picture questions, there are sound questions, there are multiple choice and straight answer questions. I have even put in a trick question. One of the local cinemas has even given the boys some passes for prizes, and will be having a table at the event.
And more importantly, I'll be able to cross one more thing off my bucket list.
Oh, before I forget, I even found the time to play some Blood Bowl. July 6th, at Burwood, I made an appearance for the 10th running of Eucalyptus Bowl (and I'm one of a few that has actually made it to all ten). Three games, one win, one draw, and one loss, slightly better than my embarrassing effort at Can Con back in January.
Right. I think that'll do for the time being. Ciao!
P.S: I should also add, that on July 3rd, the mental health support group that I'm involved with celebrated their tenth birthday as well. Plenty of dignitaries in attendance, including the mayor, and both state and federal members.