I’m Not Crying Wolf

I can’t believe it’s been nearly 3 weeks since my last post. I joked in a previous post that this blog and I were in a relationship, and if that were the case, I couldn’t argue if it tried to break up with me right here and now. Luckily, however, I think I have enough good things to tell my blog that it might just forgive me.

I also just want to note that I have tried to put together a few posts recently, but they didn’t really flow for me, so they are still in draft form and may show their faces eventually. So far, most of my stories have really come to me out of the blue and the inspiration comes in a moment. When I write at times like that, I am always happier with the outcome. For instance, my last story, on the Missing Ball, came to me the day I had lost the last ball and I went and wrote it that night. The idea to add the story within that post about Mo-vember, came after I started writing. I guess what I am saying is that I don’t want to write, just to write. I need an inspiration.

For the record, I'm not advocating anything going on in this image...

For the record, I’m not advocating anything going on in this image…

Ok, I don’t have an inspiration here, so who knows how this post is going to turn out?

Believe it or not, it may actually be a good thing that I haven’t been writing on my blog! Why? Because it means that I have less time on my hands. Why do I have less time on my hands? Because I have been doing more. If I’ve been doing more, why haven’t I been telling you about it? I don’t know. What have I been doing? Well, I will briefly tell you some of it here and will elaborate on it all in future posts.

To be honest, part of the reason I haven’t told you about my recent happenings is because I didn’t want to get you too excited about things that I couldn’t confirm or that I would have to go back on – come on, you can at least pretend that you get excited by my posts. It would be like calling you to dinner, while it was still cooking, or asking you to marry me…maybe. Essentially, I don’t like causing unrealistic hope. It’s like the boy who cried “Candy”.

Crying Wolf

So, he doesn’t cry “Candy”, but you get the point…don’t be that guy

On that note, I have to tell you a story about a coach who did this to a player. We were having a practice the day before a game and overall it was shambolic. Our coach was not happy. He proceeded to chew us all out, except for one player who seemed to have magic boots on that day and was doing whatever he wanted with the ball. The coach said/shouted something along the lines of “No one has played today like they deserve a spot on the field tomorrow, no one except Bruno (made up name)! The only player who I know will be playing tomorrow is Bruno!” “Bruno” was a fringe player at the time and would get into the odd game, but wasn’t a starter. So needless to say, he was happy to hear he would be getting significant minutes the next day. FALSE…he didn’t play a minute! Absolutely shattered. As a matter of fact, the entire team was shattered along with him.

Unlike other reputable news services, I like to have valid and complete information to back my claims.

I’ve done my research on this and I can confirm that I am fantastic. Thank you and Goodnight.

Back to reality! I do have some news for you mainly in two parts.

The main bit of news is that I have signed with Guiseley AFC who are a semi-professional team in the 6th division, which is called the Blue Square Conference North. I wasn’t going to tell you until I actually played, but they announced it on their website and on their twitter account, and….wait for it…on FACEBOOK!

Here is the brief article that confirms that I Sean O’Reilly, signed with Guiseley. Thankfully for everyone there is no picture of me in the article. The said article has made its way around enough that I figured it was pretty well confirmed.

I have been training with them for the better part of a month and it may have been official sooner had some paperwork issues gone smoothly through the system…which we all know never really happens. I have done well in training and have been enjoying it considerably, but it is only another step in the right direction. The manager has not had the chance to see me play in a full game and thus I still have plenty to prove and far more work to do. I will be sure to let you know when I make my debut!

Guiseley are currently sitting in 2nd place in the 6th division and are considered one of the favorites for promotion into the 5th division. Last year, they lost out on promotion in a final playoff and are very focused on righting that failure. I hope to play a significant part in helping them achieve it. The other added bonus is that they are the closest team to me, which is a big positive!

In other news, I have recently got a part-time job at a local school where I will primarily be helping out with the PE department. It is a Catholic Jr. High/High School called St. Mary’s and is only a few miles down the road. Two of the cousins I am living with, Jenny and Will, attend the school and that is how I got connected with it. Yes, it is another of the many things I am thankful to them for.

PE Teacher

I initially just asked if I could do some volunteer work with any of the football/sports to give myself more things to do and also improve my coaching. After a few meetings, with the relevant and important people in charge, they offered me work as a Teacher’s Assistant. So, come next term, I will be working a few days a week as a St. Mary’s employee. I will be doing most of my work in the PE department, but will also help out as needed in other classroom situations.

It is going to be a challenging and exciting experience for me and I expect to learn a significant amount. I also hope I can do my part in helping the kids who I will be working with improve not only as athletes and students, but as good people with good Catholic values.

Overall, I am very blessed to have both of these opportunities in front of me. Unfortunately, though, it means I did not make it home for Christmas and will miss all my crazy family and friends back home very much. However, I am lucky to have loving relatives here as well, with whom I can celebrate the joy of Christmas.

Do just go, go head first!



Ground and Grounds

Ground – the word of the week

According to Webster dictionary.com these are some of the definitions for the word “Ground”.

“a : the surface of the earth
b : an area used for a particular purpose <the parade ground> <fishing grounds><football ground>
c plural : the area around and belonging to a house or other building
d : an area to be won or defended in or as if in battle”

Each one is fitting for today’s post (Essentially a review of the week).

Definition A: the surface of the earth

I usually have some interaction with the surface of the earth everyday and to be honest, I rarely think about it – unless it’s face first or something. The ground seems to become more and more significant the further I get from it. If I’m in a plane, I think about getting safely to ground. The further I go out into the ocean, the more I feel called back to land (I’m clearly a land-lubber). However, I would be willing to bet that I could name the person who thought about the “surface of the earth” most of all yesterday.

It was his worst enemy and his best friend, it could have ended him, but he couldn’t wait for it. I’d imagine that there would be a few mixed feelings speeding toward the earth at nearly 730 miles per hour. Yes, he must have been thinking all about the ground yesterday. Yes, it must have been the sweetest thing to set foot on it again, safe and sound. I wonder who felt better about having the ground under their feet again, Columbus and his men hundreds of years ago, or Felix Baumgartner yesterday? Either way, it must have felt great! Both inspiring stories of human determination and courage in the face of the unknown.

Definition C (pl): the area around and belonging to a house

I was resisting all urges to do anything at all on Sunday. However, I forced myself to go out and do something active on what was actually quite a nice day. So, I ended up taking a bike ride to the nearby Bolton Abbey and its surrounding “Grounds”. It turned out to be an excellent decision. It was about a 18 mile ride round trip along the Wharfe river, which runs through Wharfedale in Yorkshire. Not only was it a beautiful ride in and a beautiful location, I also got my lazy bum out and got some good exercise! It was also great to get out of the neighborhoods and into some good old fashioned Yorkshire countryside.

Bolton Abbey sits on a massive estate (30,000 acres) that was owned by the Duke of Devonshire. The land is now part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The Priory, which was founded by the Augustinians, is mostly ruined. However, the front (nave) of the church was preserved and is still used today by the Church of England. (I love writing a blog because I can use Wikipedia and not get in trouble with my teacher…but don’t blame me if I’m wrong!)

Here are some pictures of the lovely grounds and the surrounding area:

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By the way, bike rides are a great way to get exercise in when your body and mind are making it difficult. It’s a less harsh workout on your body than running and you feel great doing it because you make so much progress! Thanks to my cousin (1st cousin once removed if we’re going to get picky) Chris for lending me the bike.

Definition B: an area used for a particular purpose <parade ground> <fishing grounds><football ground>

I admit I added <football ground> myself, it wasn’t in the definition, but it works all the same! This is a suitable definition for me because I’ve been going to so many football grounds. This week, I attended two more games.

On Tuesday, I went to see local 6th tier team Guiseley AFC take on a Welsh side, Colwyn Bay FC (same division), in an FA Cup qualifying round replay game (The FA CUP is played by all English teams, so it’s a big chance for small teams to gain notoriety and play some bigger clubs if they do well). It was a replay because the teams tied in the first leg of the round. However, if this game ended in a tie there would be overtime and then penalties if needed. It was a good game overall and a decent level of play. Guiseley is sitting 3rd in the division and has just missed promotion the last few seasons (I’ve been trying to get into training with them). Colwyn Bay is in the lower half of the table.

Nethermoor Park – Home (Ground) of Guiseley AFC

The first half was a well fought contest and while Guiseley probably saw more of the ball, Colwyn Bay had the better opportunities and went into the half leading 1-0. The 2nd half, however, was dominated by the home side and when they eventually scored the final outcome was inevitable. Guiseley scored a 2nd soon after and added a 3rd after a Colwyn Bay player was red-carded in a tussle off the ball. The level of play is similar to the PDL in the states, although most of the players in the Conference North would probably have more overall experience, which might give them an edge.

There was a good crowd (probably around 500+) and it was a good atmosphere for a chilly Tuesday night. This is something that we are lacking considerably in US sports. Lower level teams with a decent local following. There are a few teams in the PDL who provide this kind of environment, but its few and far between. There are surely many factors that play into this, but that’s a chat for another day.

On Saturday, I went to another Bradford City game at Valley Parade (Ground). The Bradford City ground is large by league 2 standards, holding just over 25,000. This is because they were in the top tier of English Football not too long ago, before mismanagement and poor form led to a decline.  Though it is rarely filled (nearly 12,000 for this game) they still draw more fans than most other teams in this league.

Valley Parade (I think it’s officially called Coral Windows stadium) from the opposite side of the City.

It was their first Yorkshire Derby in over a decade. York City was just promoted to League 2, for the first time in years, from the Blue Square Conference Premier League and have been doing relatively well. Bradford City, sitting higher than York in the standings, is having a steady season and is surely hoping to get into playoff contention.

Yorkshire Derby kickoff: Bradford City vs. York City

It was a high-tempo game that both teams wanted to win. Both teams worked hard and played similar, straightforward football. In the end, they were both rewarded for their effort and the game ended in a 1-1 tie. It wasn’t the prettiest game to watch (aside from both the goals, which were both very good), both teams played very direct and neither team had long periods of possession; although I would say Bradford City had more of the ball overall. In this way, it was a very stereotypical “English” styled game. The ref didn’t help at all, stopping the game often and not allowing the teams to restart quickly from stoppages. I would go as far as to say the Guiseley v Colwyn Bay game was more pleasing to watch.

Definition D: an area to be won or defended in or as if in battle

If you have read this far I’m impressed, I’m sure it has been a battle! This definition is relevant for me because in my battle to find a team and play soccer, I need to make sure I am not losing any ground! On top of that, I have to continue fighting to gain more and more ground.

In anything you do, if you keep gaining ground, you will eventually win the battle and so the war.

In summary, I’ve been to nice grounds, old grounds, historical grounds, big grounds, little grounds, natural grounds and man made grounds; I’ve been fighting to gain ground and finally, no matter how high you fly, its always best to have two feet firmly on the ground.

Don’t be afraid to dive head first – even if its 730 mph like Felix!



PS: I would also like to give an honorable mention to another type of ground: coffee grounds – always a top lad!