New Digs

DIGS

Well, the next step that I have made in my quest to grow up is moving to a new place. As of last week, I am renting a suite in a house share in Guiseley, which is about 3-4 miles from where I was in Burley-In-Wharfedale. I share the house with two other working professionals; one woman and one man. The woman owns the house and so is officially my land-lady. The guy is close my age and has only recently moved to the area for work. They are both quite friendly and follow football. However, considering the woman is a lifelong Leeds fan, I have to keep my Manchester United flag out of the window or be evicted.

The house is a semi-detached 3 bedroom house in a new development. So, unfortunately I can’t say that I am living in a old English cottage sipping tea and writing blogs. On the positive side, I don’t have to worry about the roof leaking, old pipes bursting, or no heating. We share the kitchen and the living area, which is not expansive but offers plenty of space for 3 people. There is also a nice back garden for when it gets decent enough to spend time outside again. 

The best part about the house is it’s location. I can walk to the Guiseley stadium in 5 minutes; I can walk to St. Mary’s for work in 10-15 minutes; I can walk to get groceries in 5-10 minutes; and it is less than a 5 minute walk to the train when I need to go a bit farther afield.

The move was bitter sweet considering I was leaving the Inglehearns, who have treated me so incredibly well since I arrived. Maybe too well as a matter of fact…I was getting fat and spoiled under their watch. Fortunately, they are not far off and I will see the kids often in school and will be sure to visit them when my cupboards are running low 😉 

Overall, I think it is a good move for me psychologically as well. When I said I was getting fat and spoiled, it may not have been true in a physical sense, but there was something about me that was beginning to feel too comfortable. 

When I first came over everything was new and exciting, which made it easy to be motivated. The challenge is keeping up that motivation and hunger, even after you get settled into something. I am hoping that the move will help to re-invigorate me and refocus my efforts on the main goals and objectives that I have set for myself. 

Here are some pictures of the house and also the recent festivities in the snowfall!

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DIGGING

The other thing we’ve been doing here in Yorkshire the last few weeks has been digging away the snow. If you are conjuring up images of buried cars, skiing, and big four wheel drives at Wal-Mart, you are deceived – I am in England, not Denver. All told, we only had about 8-10 inches of snow, coupled with sub-freezing temperatures. However, England does not have (or necessarily need) the infrastructure and equipment to quickly deal with even a little snow, so there were some setbacks.

Most agonizing was the fact that there has been no football for the last 2 weeks. We have had 3 consecutive games cancelled and have had no chances to train on a real pitch. It’s nice to have a day off every once in a while, but a long break can be quite frustrating. It was even difficult to get good training in on my own. Most of the sidewalks were quite icy, so it was hard and dangerous to go out on a serious run. There were no fields (even artificial turf) cleared, so I couldn’t kick a ball around easily either. Although, I did manage to use the side of the house and the sidewalk a couple of times. 

Having said that, snow can be cool and fun…at least for the first day. The Inglehearn kids had one day off of school and so I brought them out sledging, had snowball fights and made snowmen. We invented a game called snowball chicken, where you all stand close and throw snowballs in the air. Then you all have to stand there and hope one didn’t land on you. It turned into a hit…no pun intended!

All the snow is gone now, it disappeared literally overnight, so hopefully we can resume life as normal now and get back out on the field. For those of you interested, I also wrote a new article on the team website called Snow Games. It will give you a good idea of where we are in the season and the challenges we will be facing after the break from the snow! I encourage you to take a look.

Why Digs?

After naming this post, I was curious, so I briefly looked up where the term “Digs” came from. The best story I found was that it had been used by soldiers in the World Wars who referred to their new trenches as “Digs”. I liked that explanation the best, but other’s said the term had been in use far before that by traveling actors; it was used as slang for their temporary accommodations. The fact of the matter is, so far I dig my dig and hope I didn’t dig my dig so deep I can’t get out. You dig? (Thank God English is my first language).

I hope to have more soccer news to tell you soon.

Peace all,

Seano

 

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Call me “Sir”

Yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir.

Like a SIR

Like a SIR

As I said in mentioned in a recent post, I have started work at St. Mary’s this semester. Strangely, I have had to adjust to being called “Sir” on such a regular basis. I know the term has been used for decades to speak to someone in a position of authority, but I must admit, it is used far more liberally here in England. I’m not talking about the usual polite terms of  “yes sir”, “no sir”, “excuse me sir”, but rather other interesting uses: “ask sir”, “sir is in charge of your game”, “sir will show you the drill”, or “please ask sir for the ball”. It is essentially used as a pronoun.

This happens

This happens

And the English get mad at us American’s when we butcher the language! At least they don’t say “yuns” like the sirs and mams off in western PA.

Some ridiculous American slang

Some ridiculous American slang

Have you ever had a person that is in a place of authority over you and they call you “Sir” far more than you call them “Sir”? One of the supervisor’s who works for my Dad’s company does this. If I am working under him, or call him about something, he always greets me with courteous “Yes sir”, even with my informal “Hyaa, Noah” greeting. There are a few possibilities here. First, he has no idea which one of his bosses kids he is speaking too, or it is his military background kicking in? Either way, he is a wonderful guy to work with. Yet, it always makes me feel bad and I think, next time I’m going to say sir first! Then I do it and it feels like I’m taking the Mickey.

“Hi SIR!! Sir, I said Sir, Hi!”

To be clear here, I am not complaining about any of this. Our culture and society are slowly losing basic manners, so anywhere you can find some courtesy and respect is refreshing.

I’m finding myself in the curious transition, that I am sure everyone goes through, where you begin to be seen as an elder more often than a youngster. I remember talking to my good friend about it just before he was married. We were commenting on how funny it will be to hear people calling him Mr. Inzeo. Then we realized it really wasn’t funny at all and that we had wasted our youth away blowing things up and shooting each other point blank with paintball guns; we were officially beginning the process of getting old. I’m sure my elders are all like “shut up kid”, you don’t know what old is! While they are surely right, as usual, I bet they can look back to the period in life that I am talking about, where you are in the process of crossing that fuzzy, undefined boarder into adulthood.

It takes time to get to this level of Sirdom

It takes time to get to this level of Sirdom

Fortunately, the kids at St. Mary’s are always there to remind me that I’m really not that old. I walked into a room full of young boys the other day and they asked me who I was. I said: “I’m the new teacher’s assistant”, to which one of them replied “really? how old are you like 18?”. “I wish kid, but no, you have to call me sir!” It must have something to do with my full beard.

That group was full of interest about me after that.

“Will you sing your national anthem?” “No”

“What about saying the pledge of allegiance?” “No”

“How does your national anthem go?” “Oh say can…wait NO!”

“Can you recite the pledge of allegiance?” “No”

(In the end, I folded and did a little bit of both – they regretted asking me to sing.)

Another group, on another day, kept trying to get me to say things because of my accent. For some reason, whenever this happens, “Potato” seems to be a favorite word. In this particular case, I was asked to say it in a nice high pitched granny voice. It turned out to be something along these lines:

http://vocaroo.com/i/s1iR0vcINdoB

I submitted to one refrain of “Potato”, but stood strong against pressure to repeat it; along with other words and phrases, which included “hot dog” .

Caught!

Caught!

Needless to say, it has been quite the experience so far. Everyday that I go in I become more familiar with the situation, and with my own responsibilities. Luckily, for most of the groups, but particularly the boys, they always bring the energy. The challenge is, thus, to channel that energy into one activity where they will actually be focused on learning something. The idea is not just to let the students run around and blow off steam so they will be calmer in the classroom – though that’s not a bad side effect. Rather, you are teaching them the fundamentals and benefits of sports and athletic activity. These fundamentals include health, leadership, teamwork, hard work, and willingness to learn. The Physical Education Department isn’t primarily for the purpose of making great athletes, but rather to make well rounded individuals by using sports to cultivate in students other essential life skills.

In honesty, I’m doing quite a bit of learning myself which is always good. While I mostly help out with the football/soccer, I’ve had a few lessons in rounders and netball, and am looking forward to the possibility of learning a bit of cricket and rugby at some point as well. I’ve been helping out with basketball too, since the cold weather has been keeping us inside, and memories of the good old days, when I was a baller are slowly coming back…even if the skills are not.

Lastly, I am always impressed and in awe of good teachers. Being a good teacher, who can inspire students, is no easy task; as I am beginning to find out. I know I was blessed with some excellent teachers throughout school and they were crucial to my development. It is often easy to forget how much of an effect teachers have on us, our families, and our culture in general. It is a great responsibility, but also a great opportunity.

And that kind sirs and lovely ladies, is all I have for you today.

Go head first!

Seano

Patience

A family friend was once visiting my house and my little sister, who was probably no older than 5 at the time, was demanding something from them while they were in the process of getting her exactly what she was demanding. They looked and her and said “Patient is a virtue, virtue is a Grace, Grace is a little girl who doesn’t wash her face”. While Grace, who is now in College, probably doesn’t remember this specific instance, her cruel older siblings made sure the little ditty didn’t leave her memory – which clearly means I said it over and over.

While it was originally used merely as a means to silence and confuse a child by the use of eloquent language and literary devices, it has stuck with me for a while now. I now wash my face everyday!

What? I have a new sponsorship deal.

What? I have a new sponsorship deal.

In reality, patience is crucial to have for almost anything you do in life. Good things generally don’t happen in an instant. I know the good old Bible says “knock and you shall receive” but it never says how many times you have to knock. That is where patience comes in.

I can assure you that patience is very often needed in football. The last two Guiseley AFC games were won with patience. We kept on knocking on the door, so to speak. The door being the stingy defensive efforts of Corby Town and Oxford City, our two most recent opponents. We won the games 2-1 and 1-0, respectively, and although we dominated most of the statistics – offensively that is – it wasn’t an easy task. Both games were won with second half goals.

In the first win, against Corby Town, the visitors managed to steal a goal against the run of play. We continued to get chances the entire game, which they were desperately throwing themselves in front of. Eventually, by patiently building up the pressure, we were able to get the two goals that we needed for the important victory.

You could say Oxford City set up specifically to test our patience. Fortunately, Guiseley passed the Oxford test, scoring the only goal of the game early in the second half. We were patient, but determined and literally bundled the ball over the line after numerous corners and scraps in front of the box. We certainly weren’t knocking gently, but we got the answer we needed at the time.

Barcalona, arguably the best club team the world has ever seen, are always patient on the ball. They pass and probe and knock, waiting for the door to open – or in their case, it’s more like they unlock the door. Another example would be Manchester United, who are famous for their late victories (see here and here). They have a belief that the late goal will come. The best teams know how to be patient, because they are confident that their knocking will be answered.

FYI: Some things might not be worth it!

FYI: Some things might not be worth it!

For me personally, my success in sport so far has often come after patience. I started off as essentially a laundry boy who trained with the team in University, but was patient and eventually earned a starting position; ending my college days as a nationally recognized NCAA student athlete. I spent plenty of time on the bench at some of my other teams in the past, before becoming an integral part of the squad. I know that with patience, coupled with hard work, I am able to move forward. But it is patience with the confidence that if I keep knocking the door will be opened.

Let me also point out that patience is not always inaction. That is usually laziness – of which I am often guilty. Patience is positive action in the pursuit of a devious goal.

Patience is important in just about anything. I have some friends who are musicians, waiting for their big break. I have seen them knocking, knocking, and knocking, while patiently waiting for that door to open. The knocking comes in the form of hard, hard work for them. Fingers bleeding, eyes bloodshot, and bad hair day after bad hair day sort of work. Then they hear the scuffling behind the door and a glimmer of hope…they keep knocking, keep knocking. The sound fades, but they keep knocking, keep knocking. The patience and determination is eventually rewarded.

Not many people make it to a celebrity status within their field without this kind of patience and dedication. To maintain that status, the patience and dedication must remain as well.

I am waiting for Vizzini!

I am waiting for Vizzini!

Patience is necessary for so many other aspects of life as well: waiting in lines, waiting for girlfriends(boyfriends), waiting for results, waiting for promotions, waiting for 5 o’clock somewhere, waiting for the weekend, waiting for summer, waiting for Vizzini, waiting for fast food (seriously?), and waiting for babies. Which brings me to the true inspiration behind this post: my cousin who is expecting her second child. Wait…what?

No but seriously, I asked her if there was any news? She said *sigh* “no, I’ve just had to wait patiently” *sigh*. I feel like waiting to have a baby might be something like waiting to throw up when you know it’s inevitable. You wish you didn’t have to feel so much worse and so vulnerable before feeling better. Anyway, I told her she was just being lazy and that the baby was just a devious goal that she was in pursuit of and that she needed to take more positive action.

After she cyber slapped me across the face, I realized that patience is really a huge part of our everyday lives and applies to so many areas. I knew that I could at least relate it to so many things that I have experienced, especially in football. So, this post is dedicated to my cousin Catherine and I wish her and her new baby girl the best!

If you have trouble with patience, it is important to remember that patience “is a Grace”. We can’t get Graces for ourselves, we need to rely on God for them. So, if you find yourself needing patience, ask him for it.

A few things of further interest:

I will be writing some articles for the team website which you may be interested in. Here is my first one. I will keep you posted on them in the future. They will be more soccer related.

We have also won 5-2 away at Bishop Stortford since my last post

Here are the links to a few local news stories for Guiseley:

Ruthless Streak all that’s needed

Keeping the pressure on

Cutting the Gap on Leaders

Lastly, next time you are waiting on one of my posts…be patient 😉

Till next time,

Seano!

PS: knocking with your head is not advised

New Year

I would never have thought I would be happy to say that  I started the New Year with a kickin debut(t)! Sorry, I know that is a stretch 😉

In the last week of 2012, it appeared that the rain gods still weren’t sure if the Mayan’s apocalyptic predictions had actually been called off. Yet, after all the efforts of mother nature to flood the whole of the UK, they rain finally ceased on New Years eve and the ground dried up enough (arguably) for us to play our New Years Day game. “Play mud football in England” has now been added to and checked off my bucket-list.

What we hoped it would be like...

What we hoped it would be like…

What it was actually like

What it was actually like

In reality, the field was playable, albeit quite soft and, in the end, muddy. As the season goes on it is important to get as many games played as possible since the schedule is already very packed, so it was just as well that the game was played (especially considering our Dec 29th game had just been cancelled).

So, on January 1st, 2013 Guiseley AFC made the trip across Bradford to play local rivals Bradford Park Avenue (BPA) for the 2nd time in the space of 6 days. As we had seen on Boxing Day, BPA were a good side who posed a significant challenge, particularly at their home ground: Horsfall Stadium.  Add to the mix the poor field and windy conditions and it was clear that earning 3 points to bring in the New Year was no easy task.

If football really is “a game of two halves”, you could call each half in this game “against wind” and “with wind”.

Against Wind

Dramatization - in case you were wondering

Dramatization – in case you were wondering

We were against the wind in the first half and it definitely presented a difficult problem for us. However, we held our own for most of the half and actually went up 1-0 after about 25 minutes. Our forward, Josh Wilson, got the ball on the left side of the box before cutting inside and finishing neatly into the bottom right corner. One of the biggest setbacks of the wind was that our goalkeeper’s clearances and delivery, which are normally very good, were below par. This turned out to be our undoing for the tying goal, as a poor clearance led to a BPA corner, which ultimately led to the opposition’s goal just before half-time.

Half-Time 1-1

With Wind

No, we didn't have umbrellas

No, we didn’t have umbrellas

Despite a few scares from the home side, we dominated most of the second half proceedings and were looking more potent than in the first half. It was BPA’s turn to fight the wind, as well as the opposition. In messy games, in poor conditions, it is often free-kicks that decide games (another cliche, I’m sorry). This proved as true in 2013 as it did in 2012, and we pulled ahead in the 74th minute when our captain, midfielder Andy Holdsworth, beat the goalkeeper with a low drive off a free kick from a few yards outside the box. Within 5 minutes he was at it again with a similar free kick from a slightly more difficult angle. All we had left to do was see out the game…and we did.

Full-time 1-3 to Guiseley AFC

Debut

On a personal note, I was happy to kick off the year with my Guiseley debut! After our 3rd goal, I was put on for the final minutes and essentially needed to make sure I didn’t undo all the hard work my teammates had done in the previous 80 minutes. I thankfully managed that. Overall it was a relatively nondescript debut, I misplaced a few passes and I made a few passes. Now that I have gotten the debut out of the way, I can focus on continuing to work hard so as to benefit the team.

In regards to my debut, it is a bit ironic that I played my first game for Guiseley at Horsfall stadium, since it was the first place that I trained here in England. It was just a few weeks after I got here and after contacting loads of teams I finally got a session with Bradford Park Avenue. It went relatively well on the day as we scrimmaged a lower division side called Albion Sports. I had an assist and we managed to come from behind after I came on. I trained with them one other time after that, but was never asked to come out again.

Of course, at the time, I was a bit disappointed as things weren’t going so well. My continued search for a team was relatively unproductive and I was only playing a few games here and there with some lower division sides. Having come to play football, it was demoralizing not to have the opportunity to be playing or training with a team. It is hard to stay focused and push yourself when you train alone. However, thanks to the wonderful clarity of hindsight, things seem to have worked out for the best. If things had worked out at BPA, I would have been on the end of two losses this past week – and a few angry dressing room rant to be sure – but instead I was celebrating two wins with a side that is pushing hard for promotion.

I thought this was appropriate for the New Year’s theme of resolutions. The tough part is not making the resolution, it’s sticking with it consistently over a long period of time. It’s not trying to meet a goal and then quitting when faced with adversity. It is not meeting a goal and then stopping; it is hitting a plateau and then searching for a new summit. You also need to take all the opportunities you are given and while realizing that not all of them will lead you on, you can learn from each one. In doing so, you will be better equipped when the right chances do arrive.

Along these lines, I found it very timely to read about Demba Ba, just before his big move to Chelsea. Apparently, he was rejected by a number of clubs both in England and France before he made it to where he is today – that is with the Champions of Europe. Not all paths are straight, and none of them are the same so your gonna have to make your own.

Demba Ba at Newcastle

Demba Ba at Newcastle

As they say – yes, another cliche – “if it was easy, everyone would do it”

Have a wonderful 2013!

Peace

Seano