Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Old Chinese Proverb Say

This year's display of the full gamut of the human form clothed in some of the tightest and lightest fabrics known to man is to be held in China. The Olympic Games, a welcome respite from the round ball game, and one that I look forward to with relish. I have some affinity with China having dabbled in Chinese medicine in my twenties when I undertook acupuncture in order to rid myself of a thirty a day habit that was spiralling out of control.
The whole Chinese philosophy towards not only medicine, but also everyday life, differs greatly from the Western World. From memory, where we in the West will identify a problem, look for a causative agent and then attack that causative agent. Chinese medicine relies on an overview of the condition, not a particular symptom. Your Chi, Blood, Jing, Shen and several other bodily fluids must be in harmony, problems arise when this happy medium goes out of kilter; too much ying and not enough yang. Most problems can be cured through the penetration of needles or a quick dip into a vast encyclopaedia of herbal medicine, follow this up with a brief consultation with a man who lives on a mountain and hey presto! Vim and Vigor restored.
Now call me an old cynic but until the mid seventies the Chinese had not won a Gold Medal, this week alone they have won seventeen. Having accepted Modern medical science and realising that there is no future in Herbs they have upped their performance and shot up the medal table. Nobody rushed off for a mortar and pestle to grind a few leaves when the Chinese Gymnast fell from the pommel horse, and I can’t think that any one will rush on with any needles if the star Chinese hurdler falls at the first; although a Chinese Javelin thrower may have been detailed to throw wildly at him if such an event does occur.
We in the West have our own dalliances with alternative types of medicine, chief among them Homeopathy. Fortunately we were quick to realise that this particular brand of witch-craft had no place in sport. The theory goes that, a low dose of what is giving you grief will make you better. After brief trials where Footballers who had been felled by a tackle were kicked again but not quite as hard, and cricketers who had been felled by a ball to the head where asked to “head” a cricket ball a few times, the experiment with alternative medicine was abandoned.
This year’s games have, so far, been stunning. Once the Birds Nest and Water Cube were Fung Shui-ed into position a breathtaking opening ceremony began, although the questions surrounding the Chinese record on human rights resurfaced with the spectacle of hundreds of scantily clad ladies being required to clap and high kick for a full three hours as the procession of teams entered the stadium.
The first week for those who view the Olympics as merely an Athletic Contest can be a little disappointing. I myself am agog at the adonai afloat in the rowing competition, Greek gods to a man, Six-foot plus, dressed in tight fabric and with a slightly sweaty dishevelled post-event look, it has been a joy to wake up with them every day this week, as the heats of the rowing are screened at breakfast.
This Olympiad, the male swimmers have been a little disappointing the vast majority of them covering up in the latest full length super-fast swimwear, (imagine how many more medals David Wilkie could have won if he’d ditched the moustache and shaved his chest!) although the synchronised divers, in particular the Australians in some sensationally skimpy “budgie smugglers” definitely drew the eye. The Chinese took the synchronised medal, although, with over a billion to choose from it cannot have been too hard to find a pair who look the same and can fall off a board at the same time.
I will be up again early tomorrow with husband and son, lapping up each and every event. Husband and son have not mentioned the dreaded “F word” allweek, concentrating instead on our impending week away at a French camp-site where they will feel duty bound to out compete several other nations in various events. Synchronised Bombing is in the bag, while my husband has developed a new kind of swimming hat inspired by the streamlined cycling helmets worn in the Velodrome, that will enable him to cut through the water and reduce his profile. In reality it is a large rubber glove that fits over his head and a six-inch conical candle that fits flush to his forehead, but to him it is the difference between winning and losing his “Campsite Olympics”I will let you know how they get on.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Transfer Talk

One week until the Charity Shield of Doom that heralds another season of flipping football. My husband and son’s excitement levels are building slowly towards the weekend. The last few weeks talk around the table has been mainly about weather Ronald will go to Real or Eto will go to Exeter – I think that was what they said. To be honest I have developed what I call my late summer haze, a fixed half smiling expression on my face behind which I can hide emerging to give a “yes dear” or a “ Gosh how exciting” during conversations laden with transfer speculation and football gossip. The sums of money that trip off my son’s tongue are fantasy figures, twenty million pounds, thirty million pounds one hundred and twenty thousand pounds a week. My husband will reply authoritatively that such and such is “worth it” or “they should be paying him more if they want to keep him” To me it seems that this transfer malarkey is all a big scam cooked up by agents who get their slice each time a player moves. I am not sure that I would notice the difference between earning fifty thousand a week and sixty thousand a week, you’re already filling your trolley with the Tesco Finest range and using the softest toilet roll known to man so why the move? Money can no longer be a motivator to the individual player so it must be other factors that drive a player to move. A love of clothes, fashion and shoes then it has to be Milan or Northampton, A fisherman may be attracted by a move to Grimsby or Hull, a keen sailor to Portsmouth or Plymouth. A love of the outdoor life and all things “small holding” may pull a player towards Cardiff, Ipswich or Norwich, while a love of the Hills and a bit of a ramble would draw a player to Carlisle for the Lakes, York for the Dales or Exeter for the Moors. Surf dudes and beach lovers would I am sure look for a move to Scarborough or Southend; Brighton would hold a particular appeal for a few, while the high rollers and glitzy would, I am sure, head for Blackpool or possible Rhyl. I cannot for the life of me comprehend why someone would choose Liverpool, Manchester or Birmingham over the beautifully situated Yeovil or Chesterfield, or the convenience of the shops to Fulham. I believe that Milton Keynes have a newly formed team, well good look to them in finding a bunch of footballers with a fetish for roundabouts.
Of course many of today’s professionals, inspired by Posh and Becks will claim to make a decision after consultation with their partner. Once the fifty thousand a week level is reached there must surely be some consideration by a level headed WAG to the area in which they are to move. I would advise Ashley Cole’s wife to push for somewhere away from the bright lights and temptations of the City, perhaps Gillingham, Peterborough or to really emphasise your point Aberdeen or Inverness. Any WAG looking to update their husbands image and move him on through the mullet/perm phase would do well to push him towards some of the more stylish inner city clubs or for guaranteed results a move abroad preferably to a French, Italian or Spanish club. If Leather is your thing well it has to be German or Austria, a bit of a bookworm? Then push for a move to Hereford. Need some new cutlery? Then try for a short-term loan spell at a Sheffield club. You could sample the delights of the elderly and retirement with a spell at Bournemouth or Torquay, or cruise away while he stays to play with a term at Southampton. There has to be more to consider when changing club than a slight increase in an already astronomical wage or a longer contract. Pretty much the same clubs seem to win the cups and leagues each year so if I were a WAG I’d be in my husband’s ear about the clubs I would like him to move to and the ones that he should discount at all costs, give the subject some serious thought because when the agent comes calling he will have only one thing on his mind and it won’t be the activities of the player’s partner or the quality of the shopping in the nearby area.