Second and Ash

I had a late game last night and, as usual after a late game – especially when my goal was so spectacular – I didn’t get to sleep until very very late.

Before I went to sleep though, I googled for Portland English Premiership soccer tv. Among the hits was a forum post entitled “Where can I watch English Premier League football in Portland?” and the most popular answer was Kells Irish Pub at Second and Ash right next to the Burnside Bridge.

I set my alarm for 6:30 AM, went to sleep, woke up four hours later, put on my Red Devils shirt and set off to watch the thrilling climax to ManU’s season.

Central Portland has this neat feature where all the East/West streets are numbered from 1 to N (1 is next to the river) and all the North/South streets are in alphabetical order. I was headed for some Irish pub at 2nd and something beginning with A which, in my blurry mind, was just over the bridge.

I arrived at 2nd/Ash at 7:03 just after the kick off in a very inhospitable looking area. Not at all the kind of place where I would put a pub. In fact, not at all where anyone would put a pub. I had already missed the kick off so drove around frantically looking for an Irish pub and eventually got out of the car to search frantically on foot.

I found two very, very drunk guys getting out of a pickup and heading for a bar. I asked them if there was an Irish Pub in the area and the put their arms around me and said no but, although they liked Irish music, I should join them in this pub because the beer was better. I thanked them for the offer and got back in my car and drove around frantically some more.

I gave up and headed for The Pearl in search of any pub that might be showing it. No luck there either so I went home. By now, I was incredibly sleepy and planned to just get back in bed but my laptop was still open and I took one last look at the map that I had left open the night before. It was the other Second and Ash and I could still catch the second half of the game!

And what a second half it was!

The Kells is an excellent pub for watching sports and was absolutely packed. One half was a sea of red watching the ManU v Wigan game, the other half a sea of blue watching the Chelsea v Bolton game with everyone drinking Guinness (including me).

Giggs’s goal was sublime – what a way to celebrate equaling Bobby Charlton’s record of 758 appearances for ManU – and the whole red end of the pub was up on its feet.

I am sooooo glad, I didn’t get back in bed.

Evil Typo

Story so far…

In a thrilling climax to the English football season, Manchester United and Chelsea were level on points with two games to go. They also happen to be the last remaining teams in the Champions League.

ManU won their game on Saturday and were thus 3 points clear. Chelsea had a tough game vs Newcastle tonight that they had to win to draw level.

Imagine my delight when I saw the headline.

Imagine my confusion when I saw the picture. Imagine my disappointment when I read the read the caption.

[Hint for the non-savvy. Chelsea are the team in blue. Ballack scored and he plays for Chelsea.]

EE! AYE! ADIO! We’re gonna win the league!

Don’t be expecting these every week now – unless we stay on top 🙂

Pos Team Pld W D L F A Diff Pts
1 Man. Utd. 2 2 0 0 8 1 7 6
2 Portsmouth 2 1 1 0 3 0 3 4
3 West Ham 2 1 1 0 4 2 2 4
7 Chelsea 2 1 0 1 4 2 2 3

I tried to put twenty quid on a ManU/Saha double at 66-1 but the mean old betting sites wouldn’t take my american money. I would be already counting my winnings about now!

We’re gonna win the league! We’re gonna win the league!

Ronaldo was back home safely, Rooney was in devastating form, Scholes was back to his old self. What more could you ask for on the first day of the new season?

Pos Team Pld W D L F A Diff Pts
1 Man. Utd. 1 1 0 0 5 1 4 3
2 Chelsea 1 1 0 0 3 0 3 3
3 Portsmouth 1 1 0 0 3 0 3 3

Enjoy it while it lasts!

Too old to go in goal

I don’t need to go in goal to appreciate how hard it is to be a goalie. I already know it’s hard. Playing on the wing is hard too but nobody tells goalies that they should try playing on the wing so they can appreciate how hard it is.

You are never to old to rock and roll but I am definitely too old to play in goal. I hurt. I’ll never play in goal again.

We Didn’t Qualify !! Yippee !!

We got there at 8:30 and it was already over 95°. There were just a few trees on a neighboring property and everyone was crammed under that tiny scrap of shade as we waited for the first game to start. By the second game there was no shade at all.

During that second game, our goalie was sent off with a red card performance that would have made Zidane’s mother proud and we struggled on with 10 men. After the game, I bought two of those large bottles of Gatorade and quaffed them straight down leaving me looking like a pot-bellied Biafran refugee.

The temperature had passed 110° as the third game got underway but luckily a hot wind that stank of horseshit had blown up. Someone announced that, because of the eccentric scoring system they were using (points for clean sheets, points for goals, points deducted for cards), if we won with a clean sheet and some other team lost, we would qualify for the knockout round on Sunday. The last game was a bad tempered affair with players falling down with cramp and we won with a clean sheet.

We trudged sadly up to the results desk to confirm the bad news and the lady there told us with a smile that the other team had in fact lost and that we were tied on points. Fortunately, that red card meant that we would not we playing tomorrow. A tiny cheer went up among our team and we resolved to buy a crate of beer for our fiery Italian goalie. We had dodged the bullet.

I am sorry to say that I have no great pee stories from Saturday. I have no pee stories at all for I did not pee on Saturday.

Epilogue

I went for a swim later that evening. Remember when your mum used to tell you not to go swimming after eating cos you’d get cramp. I have some advice to add. Never go swimming after playing football for 3 hours under the hot desert sun in record temperatures. You’ll get cramp. I did anyway. Cramp in both calfs and both thighs simultaneously. I sank.

Football Tournament

I am playing in a football tournament tomorrow in Morgan Hill. We have three 60 minute games. In the middle of the day. In the middle of the desert.

Hope it’s not hot! Forecast says “partly cloudy” so it should be fine.

Saturday

102° F | 67° F
39° C | 19° C

Sunday

103° F | 67° F
39° C | 19° C

Monday

100° F | 66° F
38° C | 19° C

Tuesday

93° F | 66° F
34° C | 19° C

Wednesday

92° F | 65° F
33° C | 18° C

If we do well tomorrow we get to play two more games on Saturday.

Almanac more Average (KSJC) Record (KSJC)
High Temperature 82 °F / 27 °C 96 °F / 35 °C (1954)
Low Temperature 56 °F / 13 °C 52 °F / 11 °C (1968)
Average Temperature

Play Beautiful !

A couple of years of ago, Beckham left ManU for Real Madrid and, a few days later someone new showed up wearing the No7 shirt. “Who is that?”, I wondered.

Within about 3 minutes, I said “I think we got the better end of the deal here. This guy is much better than Beckham”. This guy was Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo is one of those rare geniuses that appears every now and again and, like most of his predecessors (Best, Bowles, Hoddle, Marsh, Cantona, Maradonna), he is flawed.

I love watching players like Ronaldo. If there is a single category of player that is my very favourite kind it is Flawed Flamboyant Genius. You can go a whole lifetime without having a Flawed Flamboyant Genius on your team. It seems that most fans – and many managers – don’t like Flamboyant Geniuses so I am rather fortunate that my team – ManU – rather likes having them around. Right now I am in the incredibly lucky position of watching two of them every week – for Rooney is a Flawed Flamboyant Genius too – and I love them both. Rooney is slightly ahead in the Genius department but Ronaldo has Flamboyance streaming from every pore and is therefore my favourite player of the two.

Julio blogged yesterday about how all the England fans boo’d him during the Germany and France games – he was extremely unpopular in England even before the world cup. What Ronaldo did during the England/Portugal game was no different to what Rooney would have done had the roles been reversed. It is terrible and sad that Ronaldo will be forever blamed for knocking England out of the world cup and ridiculous too. Ronaldo bears no responsibility for the red card. Rooney got sent off all on his own.

I hope beyond hope that Ferguson is able to work his magic and keep Ronaldo at ManU but, even if he does, this year will be extremely difficult for him.

Eric Cantona – my second favourite flawed flamboyant genius (and bearer of a red No7) of all time – had a series of commercials during this world cup entitled “Joga Bonito” and he ended each one saying

Play Beautiful!

If Ronaldo is forced out of England because of petty spite, the beautiful game will have lost a little of its beauty and that will be a great shame.