Loser

A loser. That’s me. The footballer, Sean O’Reilly, is a loser.

Yea, come on, at least be relaxed!

Yea, come on, at least be relaxed!

This is not me wallowing in self-pity. This is not me trying to create a metaphor for my current status in life. This is me telling you a fact; a truth. When you lose, you are a loser.

My point exactly

My point exactly

This is good, after all, the first step is admitting that you have a problem.

The second reason that this is good is that you have to be playing to lose. So, yes, I’ve played quite a few games in the last month. Since I last touched base, I have played in 6 games with Fleet Town, the team I am currently playing with. 4 of these were regular league games and 2 were cup games.

To make a long story short; we have lost all of them.

To make that short story long; I’ll drag you through the mud, sweat and tears and give you the rundown on each game as honestly as I can manage. The Manager at Fleet Town, Craig, usually writes a few notes on the game, which I will include links to as well.

Fleet vs Bishop’s Cleeve 0-2 Loss

After the first match I played with Fleet, where we tied 0-0, things were looking up. We had stopped the bleeding from the run of losses and things seemed to be looking up. Bishop’s Cleeve is near us at the bottom of the table, so it was a realistic chance for us to get a win, especially since we were playing at home.

This was not to be the case. Things just didn’t click for us and we didn’t play well at all. They scored on either side of half-time to take all of the spoils.

Fleet vs AFC Totton: Cup Game – 3-3 at end of extra time (lost 5-3 on penalty kicks)

This game was in one of the many local cups that we compete in. If I’m honest, I don’t know much about this one, except that we aren’t in it any more. AFC Totton occupies a similar position to us in the league higher above us. This turned out to be quite an exciting game, but we were once again left wanting. I would argue that throughout we were even the better team on the day.

Testwood Stadium - Home of AFC Totton

Testwood Stadium – Home of AFC Totton

We ended up finally scoring midway through the second half with a lovely headed goal. We kept this lead until the dwindling minutes of the game, at which point Totton got a late corner kick and scored from it. The 90 minutes ended 1-1, and this sent the game into extra time, two 15 minute periods.

Totton was the first to score in the first period of extra time. We kept fighting; however, and managed to claw one back to score early in the second period. The game was at 2-2. With minutes left we then received a penalty, from a foul on the edge of box. We duly disposed this and it looked like we were set to win. But when you are down in the dumps, things just don’t go your way. They went straight down and got another corner kick. Yes, they scored it, with essentially the last kick of extra time.

They eventually went on to win 5-3 on the penalty kicks as we missed our 4th (no, thankfully it wasn’t me). A devastating loss, which we threw away twice in the final minutes.

Fleet vs Wimborne Town 1-2 Loss 

The Cuthbury - Home of Wimborne Town

The Cuthbury – Home of Wimborne Town

Despite the long, hard fought loss at Totton a few days before, we were off to a good start away to Wimborne in the league. We had chances in the first half, but came in to the break 0-0. Unfortunately, we started off the 2nd half about as poorly as possible, giving up 2 goals in the first ten minutes. Both their goals were well taken, but could have been avoided with better defending. We fought hard and managed to pull one back, but it was too little too late. We were left to rue our missed chances.

This particular pitch was incredibly slanted from one side to the other. This pic was taken with the camera horizontal.

This particular pitch was incredibly slanted. This pic was taken with the camera horizontal.

Fleet vs Clevedon Town 2-3 Loss

The Hand Stadium - Home of Clevedon Town

The Hand Stadium – Home of Clevedon Town

Once again we were on the road – on a rare Monday night game – for a winnable game against a bottom half side: Clevedon Town. We were very good in the opening minutes but lost the edge and gave up 3 first half goals. All the goals came from our own mistakes and/or lack of focus, which was all the more frustrating.  We did manage to pull one back in the first half and thus came in to the break 3-1. In the second half, we were probably the better side and proved that with another goal. Yet again, we weren’t able to dig ourselves out of the hole we had dug for ourselves.

Fleet vs Tiverton Town 0-3 Loss

I won’t say much about this game except that we were beaten soundly. They were a good side for this level and dominated most of proceedings from the get go. Their second goal, in particular, was very well created. We fought and toiled, but lost this one fair and square. These games happen from time to time, but when you are already in a slump, it’s all the more humiliating and discouraging.

Fleet vs Reading Town 0-1 Loss

After the game against Tiverton, this one was a proper slap in the face. It was in another small tournament and this time we were playing a team in the league below us. We dominated nearly the entire game, but gave up a goal in the first half which we couldn’t overturn. I’ll come right out and take the blame for this goal. I managed to completely miss-time a header, which landed at the feet of an opponent who was then free to send his teammate through on goal for the finish.

On this muddy, dreary, and wet Tuesday evening, we managed to hit the post 3 times and miss a penalty kick. We were, once again, the losers.

I don’t even have a cheeky joke or clever metaphor to help explain the situation I, and the team, are in at the moment. We are loser’s.

We’ve all heard about the “winning mentality” in sports. It’s hard to put a finger on what causes this. There is no certain set of ingredients that you can write out and put into practice that will make it magically develop. In a similar way – and it’s hard to admit – losing can also become a mentality. Not in the sense that a team or a person wants to lose, or enjoys it. It just creeps up on you and before you know it you are in a hole and at a disadvantage to all of your opponents. Again, there is no simple ingredient to fix this dilemma; you can work harder, think longer, or get angrier, but it won’t guarantee a turn around. Getting out of this hole is one of the most difficult things to do in sport and in life.

Christmas gift ideas...

Christmas gift ideas…

What I will say is that you start to learn quite a bit about yourself in such times. What you learn is not always pleasant, but it’s always worth knowing.

To put a positive spin on all this, it has been nice to play consistently. I have played every minute of every game in midfield. I finally feel like I am fully game fit and my decision making and effectiveness is getting better every game. This is, surprisingly, the longest run of games that I have played since I came over to England. It would be much better to be winning, but it’s much better to be playing than not.

After all, action begets action.

I am confident the winning will come.

On another positive note, it’s almost Christmas, which is full of joy and excitement! I will be heading up to Yorkshire for a few days to enjoy the holiday with the Inglehearn cousins, before I get right back to playing and winning – God willing!

Peace and love to you all this Christmas season!

Celebrate head first.

Until next time,

Peace,

Seano

PS: Hope to get a Christmas post out next week so stay posted.

Advertisements

Blank Page

When the author is writing a story, he must constantly go back to the blank page and fill it in. One of my most entertaining teachers I had at St. Francis University, who referred to himself as The D-Man, had written a few books in his time – including the textbook for his class. As a fully tenured professor on the brink of retirement, he had a story or two to tell and class typically went off on a tangent or two.

One of my favorite stories that he told was about meeting President Ronald Reagan. I may get some of the little details wrong here, but it was when he was a young professor at an Ivy League school and Reagan was coming to give a speech. My teacher knew he would be meeting the president, so he began building up the moment in his mind and trying to think of what to say to show his appreciation and admiration. What came out was “Hey Ron, I’m the D-Man!”

And then he did this...

And then he did this…

Students were always trying to pick his brain for interesting stories or advice from him…or sometimes they were just trying to waste time in class. Students interested in stroking his ego and getting some brownie points (me) would ask him about his books. This was a topic he was always happy to talk about. It’s nothing he said about his books specifically that stuck with me, but rather what he said about writing a book. He said something to the effect of “you come to the page and you write one word, and then another, and then another…and then you do that again”.

I am doing what you might call a creativity program with my sister, Clare, called “The Artist’s Way”. Similar to what the D-Man said, the Artist’s Way stresses “showing up at the page”. Whether you are a writer, a poet, a painter, a screenwriter, designer, musician, etc… you have to be willing to show up at the page or the canvas and let yourself fill it.

I have the chance to “show up at the virtual page” every time that I write a new blog. What I find in the process is that I show up with a general idea of what I’ll write, but then the post takes on a life of it’s own. Then, when it’s finished, I sometimes sit back and say “Wow, where did all those ideas come from?”

For instance, I remember one of my posts from last year called “The Missing Ball“. I came to the page planning on writing little update about how I had lost a ball while training and ended up writing quite a bit about No-Shave November…and the humility I suffer from my lack of ability to participate in it. Like untended facial hair, a blog can often take on a life of it’s own as well.

Not acceptable

Not acceptable

Getting out on the field and playing soccer is an incredibly similar process. The pitch is the blank canvas, the empty page. You have to take the chance to show up. Then the game takes on a form of its own and you get to impress your unique talents upon the outcome. The more pages you fill, the more comfortable you get with the process and the more you can develop and improve. It’s when you don’t get the chance show up on the page when things get frustrating.

So, after being back at Hungerford Town for the last few weeks, I did get the chance to play in two games. In the first game, in a single elimination tournament, we played a team a league below called Bishop’s Cleeve. I played for about the last 25 minutes and did quite well, although we had already essentially won the game when I entered the match at 3-0. I played on the right wing and nearly got a goal. We won the game 4-0 in the end in a comfortable performance. It was nice to get a run out since I hadn’t played for a few weeks since my return from the Thatcham Town loan which I mentioned.

The next game, we played in another local Cup/Tournament against a team in a lower division called Whitchurch United FC. I got to play 90 minutes in central midfield and did well. We ended up dominating and winning the game, but we only managed to score 1 on the night. It felt good to get a full game. I was able to successfully fill the canvas, but not having played a complete game in a while, it wasn’t my most fluent and impressive display.

Having only had these two opportunities to play and signs of more chances on the horizon, despite solid performances, I requested to go back out on loan. I really need to get a significant stretch of games to find some consistent form and rhythm in my game. I need more chances to show up at the page and improve my confidence and my ability to influence and dictate the pages that I play a part in. At this point, If I’m not getting the chance to even show up, then I won’t get anywhere.

Therefore, I’m back out on loan at a club in the division below called Fleet Town FC. So far they have really been struggling this season. They are second to last in their league and haven’t won in about two months, so my work was cut out for me. It was an exciting and yet difficult challenge to try to help them get their season back on track. My first game with them was last Saturday. We ended up tying 0-0 against a mid-table side called Evesham United. I played full 90 minutes and if the game was a piece of music, it would have resembled a heavy metal rave, rather than a classical concerto. In other words, it was a bit of a battle and far from the prettiest, most technical game I’ve played in.

Calthorpe Park - Home of Fleet Town FC. The slope on this pitch from end to end is so drastic that it effects tactics considerably.

Calthorpe Park – Home of Fleet Town FC. The slope on this pitch from end to end is so drastic that it effects tactics considerably.

While it was a good start, seeing as we didn’t lose, I know that personally I have much more to offer and I’m looking forward to the next game! I’ve recently come to enjoy, and even crave, coming back to the blank page and impressing myself upon whatever unfolds. So, now I have an itch to walk out onto the pitch again as soon as possible and to take one stride at a time, just as the artist takes one stroke at a time. In this way, I will consistently create new work and eventually, I will have my masterpiece.

Until next time, don’t be afraid to face the blank page. Write a word and you are on your way.

Peace,

Seano

Squeaky Bum Time

Sometimes it can be hard to remember how time zones relate to one another. Is it 5 or 6 hours ahead, or behind? What part of the country are you in…East? West? Then, of course, there are other things to remember, like the fact that daylight savings is at different times in different countries, so sometimes the zones are less or more hours apart? Sigh.

So, if you are wondering what time it is over here, the answer is squeaky bum time!

If that doesn’t help, let me give you a little background. You can not tell squeaky bum time on a watch, it defies the traditional use of timekeeping.

The phrase was coined by the esteemed Sir Alex Ferguson; 27 year manager of Manchester United – I know, let the bias creep in. According to Collin’s Dictionary online, it means  “the tense final matches (or minutes) in the race to a league championship (or any championship/achievement)”.

Squeaky Bum book

Another definition that I found elaborated even further, describing “Squeaky Bum Time” as the sound your bum makes shifting around on the edge of your seat during the most tense periods of a competition.

Frankly, I don’t care what you think about Manchester United, or Sir Alex Ferguson, the phrase is not only incredibly apt – not to mention, fun to say –  it is also something that most people can say they have experienced in some part of their life. I think it is safe to say that it is “squeaky bum” moments that really make the sporting world go round.

While the climax of “squeaky bum time” usually only lasts a few moments, the build-up can sometimes take weeks. The longer the build-up the squeakier the bums.

I am currently in the middle of a squeaky bum extravaganza. No, that is not my way of saying that I have really bad gas.

AT THE SOURCE:

To begin with, a few weeks ago, I was lucky to experience Squeaky Bum Time with Fergie himself, at the place that he calls home (well at least in footballing terms). I was offered the opportunity from a relative to go to another game at Old Trafford to see Manchester United take on Aston Villa. It was only after I jumped on the opportunity, that I realized that this game was a chance for Manchester United to mathematically claim their 20th Premier League title.

This time around; however, the tension was to a minimum. First of all, United was running away with the title and only needed to get a result in 1 of their next 5 games in order to win the title. Also, any concern that struggling Aston Villa was going to cause an upset was nipped in the bud when Robin Van Persie scored in the first 2 minutes of the game. He then put the game to bed with a hat-trick before the conclusion of the first half.

Compared to the epic conclusion of the Premier League last year, where United’s cross town rivals, Manchester City, won the title with mere minutes to go in the last game, this was, admittedly, less squeaky.

The consistency that United showed this year meant they won the title with emphatic confidence, rather than squeaky excitement. I am not saying that one way of winning is any less fulfilling than the other. I am sure the Euphoria is the same either way. However, on that Monday night against Aston Villa, the only squeaky bums in the last few minutes of the game, were those of the last few fans to jump up and join  in the celebrations.

To be at Old Trafford on the night United won a record setting 20th title is something that I will always remember. The highlight of the game was definitely the 2nd goal. I won’t explain it, I will just show you the video below. It was sublime!

One of my favorite memories of the celebrations was singing the Man United version of John Denver’s “Country Roads”: “United Road”. I could have stayed in the stands all night singing along with the players down on the pitch.

Van Persie’s 2nd Goal:

Here is the Song:

Also a few shots of my night at Old Trafford:

SQUEAKY BUMS AT GUISELEY:

Back at Guiseley, the Squeaky Bums have been so loud recently there have been reports of anxiety attacks and insomnia.

In personal news, I started my first league game so far this year. While the game meant little for the team in terms of final league positions, it was really only squeaky bum time for me; a chance to finally play significant minutes in a league game. In a way, it was like a 2nd job interview or audition.

I was excited for the opportunity to play. Unfortunately, squeaky bum time only ends one of two ways no matter how well you play. You win or you lose. In this case, we lost…to the team in very last place; Hinckley United. The only thing that could have probably made it worse, is if I had scored an own goal and then got sent off. It was a strange game. I, and no one on the team, played particularly poorly, but something was amiss. Also, credit to Hinckley who was up for it and played as though they had nothing to lose (which they didn’t). Sometimes life just gives you those days and the best thing to do is move on.

While I had my pout, as a club, we had bigger things on the horizon: Playoffs.

A playoff is the quintessential Squeaky Bum scenario. In this case, four teams from the league (Blue Square Conference North) make playoffs; 2nd place through 5th place. As 2nd seed, we drew the 5th place team; Halifax Town FC our Yorkshire rivals.

In the semi-final, you play two games; one home and one away. The team with the better record after two games will go through to the 1-game final. That is essentially 270 + minutes of Squeaky Bum football. The winner of the final earns the right to be promoted into the next division of football (Blue Square Conference Premier).

The 1st leg of our semi-final was away to Halifax Town and went relatively well. It ended in a 1-1 draw. We were under pressure for most of the game as they used the momentum of the home crowd to keep us pinned back in our half. They scored from a penalty kick early in the first half and gave us a few serious scares throughout, including one or two off of the woodwork. Fortunately, we weathered the storm and managed to score our own late in the 2nd half through a towering header from the ever trusty central defender Danny Ellis.

The remaining time was tense for both sides and but for a great reaction save from their goalkeeper from a Josh Wilson effort in the last minutes, we could have left town with all the spoils. In the end, we return home with all to play for at Nethermoor Park: home of the Lions.

Tomorrow (Sat the 6th of May) is the 2nd semi-final game, which is really just a final before the final because we have to win or there will be no final.

I know there are plenty of Guiseley fans who recommend me getting my head checked for supporting Manchester United. However, they would be happy to know that as I was singing and shouting after the game at Old Trafford, I couldn’t help but think to myself that the real celebrations will begin when Guiseley earn promotion.

As I said, the longer the build-up, the squeakier the bums. Guiseley has been to playoffs three years running, the bums don’t get much squeakier than that.

It doesn’t get much better.

WE ARE GUISELEY!!!!

Peace,

Seano

To note:

I would encourage you to follow the game tomorrow. Promotion is an equally cruel and exciting event and thus vastly entertaining! There will be a radio feed that I will try to get out to you before the game, but you can also follow Guiseley’s twitter, which will keep you up to date.

I would also like to thank all of you who helped me with the fundraising for my mission trip. You’re generosity is incredible. If you didn’t get a chance last time, I haven’t quite met my goals and it’s getting to be Squeaky Bum Time in that regard. So if you are so inclined, I could still use a few pennies here and there. Please visit Mission Trip Fund Page to help out 🙂 Thanks again!

Lastly, if you didn’t see it. I wrote a piece for the team website called A Mental Victory. I wrote it right after we beat the league Champions, Chester City, who have already earned promotion for finishing at the top of the league.

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