Thursday, 22 November 2012

Slave to the system

Anger is a gift. So says fiery counter culture orator Zach de la Rocha; lead singer of Christmas chart topping metal band Rage against the Machine and teenage hero for all angsty left leaning ex-teenage dirtbags (like me). When in full flow and fury his words are hard to disagree with. Anger is a gift, and we should use it to fire ourselves up and attack challenges... and scream down microphones if they're in the vicinity. Anger has it's limits though, depending on the context. In Mr. de la Rocha's world of violent revolutions it's a pretty big plus point, though quite a sad one when attributed to students bouncing bins off the windows of the local Barclays. In sport anger is a fire that needs to be contained. The obvious example is in boxing. If a fighter gets angry in the ring and loses his discipline then most of the time he will be finished by a swift punch to the temple. In hockey, a rash challenge or a needless dribble from ill discipline can damage the overall team effort. All players have done it, regretted it, and beaten themselves up about it. While they're right to reflect like that it's important to remember that to have passion to control you must possess it first.

My own passion has run high this season, omissions and frustrations bearing heavy on my mind. For the record I am fine and enjoying things quite merrily now, ploughing along this year and hoping to do the best I can to win games. I think over the last few weeks my words here have become a little severe at times in that I appear to have been reacting to my situation in a negative way. I apologise for that impression and it certainly is not my intention. Many weeks ago when the prospect of hovering between two teams first popped onto my horizon I stated that any anger and passion at such decisions needs to be directed at the pitch and not in becoming dismayed or arrogantly railing against the perceived 'poweres that be'. I haven't lived up to that mantra in its fullest it would be fair to say; but that forest has been walked through and I must say I'm out the other side and enjoying every second of Hockey I'm playing at the moment and ready to make those points nowhere but on the field of play. Perhaps my most enjoyable moment this year came last weekend during a 6-1 win (I scored 2, set up 1, thanks for asking) when an opposition defender bellowed at his team mates to mark me tightly as I was the 'danger-man'. Now I've been called a lot of things in my time but that's got to be a new one!

For the record I would never ever intentionally label in a negative light anyone who is prepared to take the plunge of the challenge of organising, shaping, and running a hockey team or club. It's not an easy thing to do even at the best of times and those people never get enough thanks for it. I've helped to run teams for years and sat in more that my fair share of bleak committee meetings facing the prospect of this marvellous club I play for dropping a team from competition or even winding up altogether. I have the fullest respect for all of the guys making those tough tough calls at the moment on selection issues and would like to point out in a season where our teams are regularly facing 10-man sides and witnessing clubs drop out of leagues altogether, Sale is going from strength to strength with full teams and subs, players who have a great time, and fantastic passionate training sessions (which I urge all non-attending players to attend... 3rd team I'm looking at you!). This is due in no small part to the effort and commitment (mental as well as physical) that those folks on the committee put in and I thank them all for that, and if you play you should too.

You may be feeling a little misled by now at my title and opening comments. Perhaps you were expecting some barnstorming 'arab spring' revolutionary talk. No, not here. The system I'm talking about being a slave to is not the free market neo-liberal capitalist economic doctrine that is slowly eroding both the welfare state and the concept of Social democracy in Europe. It is the system of play that we operate under here at Sale. Now I'm still not daft enough to divulge the details of that here but the point I wanted to make is that only through complete commitment and embracing of that system are we going to perfect it to it's devastating maximum potential. That was the message of coach after another frustrating drill for our attackers, that we need to all do our specific jobs, whether hard or easy, and place complete faith in the system. What this means in a nutshell for example is: if I receive a ball and look to play the ball to a winger, but that winger isn't where he should be, that isn't my fault. What it also means, crucially, is that just because that winger isn't there doesn't mean he won't be next time I get the ball, or the time after that etc. etc. It takes trust in each other, discipline, resilience, and dedication to play our system, we need to be slaves to those emotions. The attackers have had a tough time when it comes to taking chances this year but if we commit to the system and stay on task we will finish those chances and we will be irresistible.

Last weeks 6-1 win for me was a great game and great fun, I was pleased to see it trumped by the 6-0 win the boys on the 1st team managed. A special mention for the first clean sheet of the season for the 1's too! That winning every game before Christmas target is still good and i'll hope to see them pick up some momentum now and drive on with another win this weekend.

I'm heading into a pretty tasty top of the league bash this weekend and hoping that us 2's can come off with a win, it really is a must to keep pace in our division and I know we can do it if we start right from the first whistle and play the system with dedication, I hope to bring you big tales of grandiose wins next week.

Song of the week

A tough choice this week as I'm not feeling any puns coming on. For that reason I've decided to plump for a Rage Against The Machine Song. I'm certainly NOT going to be going for 'that' Rage Against The Machine song. Instead I'll treat you to the song from which the quote that begins this blog originates from. Anger is indeed a gift, but my present to you is this weeks song of the week : Rage Against The Machine- Freedom

The Teas League

I may be absent from the 1's currently but it's going to take much more than that to kill off the legendary teas league! This week we've got our guest judge Mark 'Michel Roux' Holmes taking up the reigns again. So let's see if it was a taste-tastic whirlwind rally down the path of adventure or a congested grey commute around the circular motorway of blandness.

Disclaimer: This is only a bit of fun. I am an appalling cook myself and in no way a food expert. All criticism will be tongue-in-cheek and if any people/clubs choose to take offence please know that all reviews are intended to make no negative reflection on the friendly welcome and hospitality that all teams always provide us, for which we are very grateful and thankful for.

17/11/12 Bebington Away

Jacket Potato and Maybe Turkey Chilli

Substance 4/10- Potato and Chilli filled the gap for those that braved a full portion.

Taste 2/10- Basic food (as in Sainsbury's basic) and questionable meat, maybe turkey, whatever animal it was it certainly hadn't seen much seasoning. Some of the boys had to visit Colonel Sanders on the way back to fill up.

Presentation 1/10- Plastic bowls and forks. It says it all.

Another blunderbuss review from Mr. Holmes, a hard man to please. Have to express solidarity with the plastic bowls though, what's all that about?

Well let's take a look at where that leaves them in the league tab- STOP THE PRESSES!- We have a late extra tea from last week to bring to you attention from last week. This 11th hour entry cannot be reviewed as it was brought in from home packed lunch style by 1st teamer and fellow blogger  'The New Dave Wynne®'. And here it is:

Chicken Salad! Now don't panic folks the Teas league is not going to be sullied with something as downright scandalous as a salad, but it is a good time for me to point you once again in the direction of Dave's journey blog which you can get here:

RE-START THE PRESSES! Let's look at that league table:

1.Colwyn Bay (Chilli & Chips)- S: 8 T: 9 P: 7 Tot: 24/30
2.Brooklands (Sandwiches & Chips)- S:5 T:6 P:8 Tot: 19/30
3.Timperley (Spag Bol with Rosemary & Salt Focaccia)- S:5 T: 2 P:6 Tot: 13/30
4. Bebington (Jacket Potato & Maybe Turkey Chilli)- S:4 T:2 P:1 Tot: 7/30

Hard times for Bebington there with our lowest score so far. I think they could be set for a bottom of the table dogfight as the season progresses. Next up is Chester, which I've had a sneak preview of and think could be a very big contender at the top!

As always thanks for joining me this week. I enjoyed clarifying a few things this week and stating how proud I am to be part of a club that has such dedicated people as members. I'm no voice of dissent and my whole purpose here is to show what a great club Sale is to be a part of. I only hope that those who have read my blog over the weeks have that impression in the forefront of their minds. It is the truth.

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