scribbles tagged ‘game’

pre-game provisions

Saturday, August 8th, 2009 | tags:  |

Pre-game essentialsBefore an evening of fun and games we gather our provisions together to make sure the evening of Gloom wont be interrupted by the need to gather nibbles.

pre-game provisions
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secret garden (conkers)

Thursday, March 1st, 2007 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

twenty-first post in a  Thursday series of snoops into experiences of taking tiffin with  (black) tea  in the NW USA.

Thursday Tiffin #21: secret garden  (conkers)

recommended venue for an atmospheric, private,  conversation with special friends or family over a good cup of tea and to stock up some sizable conkers.

1890’s Historically registered building.   For the US West coast that is REALLY OLD!   There are several huge old conker trees in the garden.   The ground is littered with conkers.    I rarely see conker trees in the puget sound region.   A habit left over from childhood, I placed a few big, heavy,  symmetrical conkers in my pocket, just incase…    

Inside,    high quality retro décor, not kitsch or overdone.   White table-clothes and napkins.   Antique furniture that is not ‘distressed’.   The establishment blends beautifully American and English tea taking ceremonies with excellent food in a tasteful, timeless ambiance.   Let me say ‘excellent food’ once again.   Prices are neither cheap  nor  exorbitant.   I had a large bowl of Coconut Chicken Lemon grass soup with a scone and a small pot of Darjeeling that came to about $10 including tax.


  • clientele included men as well as women
  • a jug of milk was offered before it was requested
  • sugar-cubes in a bowl with tongs
  • matching china crockery and pseudo-silver flatware
  • soup served with an actual soup spoon


  • The en-suite shop that sells quaint things, pink things and sparkly jewellery things
  • A glass of iced water, regularly topped-up
  • The scones (more like English rock cakes)
  • wide choice of sugar substitutes in sachets on the table
  • over 70 types of tea on a laminated plastic menu
  • staff attentive and clearly amenable to customer requests not currently on the menu.   I overhead a customer asking for, and receiving,   iced tea.   In January.  

Those tiny imperfections that even an excellent establishment can have…they are trivial….

secret garden (conkers)
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commenting on US commentators

Sunday, July 2nd, 2006 | tags: ,  |

US commenter’s fictional statement on a football match:  

previously  an umotivated  not pretty deadleg would streak into the box  and step on an airborne bench, that’s a no-no, giving the opposition a P.K.   History is against the bench”  

The below commentary on American Broadcasting Company (ABC, US) Portugal vs England World Cup match commentator’s comments will help you translate the above fictional  sentence.

go airborne. Another new euphamism!   ‘we’ve seen a lot of players go airborne in these 21 minutes with some nasty landings’   go airborne = jump?  

streaking. “Here’s Rooney streaking up the right side”   In the context of soccer the word streaking is normally reserved for the nude people who dash across the pitch.  

playing benches. The benches might come into play”   Can you picture it.   Benches playing football.   He must mean the players sat on the benches.   The substitutes.   Why not say substitutes?

not pretty. English soccer is not pretty but its effective”   Bollocks.   Joe Cole’s footwork is as cute as a freshly baked cherry pie.    That’s so cute it’s pretty.   England’s playing may  be sloppy at times, for international level play.    These commentators crossed my offense-line when they called the English team’s playing ‘not pretty’ = UGLY.   I suspect US sensitivities make it more polite to say ‘not pretty’ than ‘ugly’.  

Dead legs. There are a lot of dead-legs in that box”   ‘The box’ refers to a marked area on the pitch immediately surrounding the goal.   The ‘penalty box’ is generally considered the space from where goals can most easily be scored.   A foul commited  by the defending team in the box gives the attacking side a penalty kick,   hence the name penalty box.   The commentators used the  verbal shorthand “P K” to refer to penalty kicks.  I thought ‘Dead leg’ was a euphamism for someone useless.   I like to believe the commentator was suggesting these people were tired rather than useless.

stepped. Wayne Rooney just steps on him,   the referee did a good thing he saw the step then he took him off”   actually Wayne Rooney kicked him in the bollocks.   “when Rooney stepped on him that was a big no-no”.     These Amercan’s and their ‘polite’ euphamisms.   ‘Stepped‘   “big no-no“,   Hahaha.    

motivating. The commentators suggested that England’s (ugly?) performance was attributable to Sven Goran Eriksson  and the coaches  style.  “I think the coach didn’t motivate the players” They suggested neither had adequate motivational discourses with the team.   I’m assuming they mean US style ‘motivational’ perhaps they think that Sven’s not sufficiently ‘super excited’.    

distraught. Beckham is in tears on the sideline” Taken off in the 53rd minute due to injury.   I cried at that point.   People do cry at football matches.   Audience and players,   after misfortune and GOALS.  I find it hard to think of the England team as lacking motivation when there are such clear physical displays of emotion and determination.     Sadness is quickly and effectively conveyed by subtle positioning of facial musccles.   Camera shots of England player’s faces after they lost the kick-off were strikingly different from earlier in the game.

UK based England fans.    “79% of people in the UK watched England Ecuador match that’s amazing that’s the difference between English and American Football”   I like it when commentators throw in some statistics.   I wonder how they could possibly know that – how was the information gathered?     79%  is especially  impressive because the UK includes Scotland,   Wales and Northern Ireland.   The commentator didn’t mention this.   British people appear  to support which ever regional team is left playing. Scotland, Wales and Ireland teams have already been knocked out of  the 2006 World Cup.   An even higher proportion of English people outside of the UK probably watched the match.   All my English friends in the US did.   The dedication of the fan base is only ONE difference between American and English football.   Not THE difference.      

England fans in Germany. The commentators rarely commented on the fans in the ground.   Exceptions included comments at the end of extra time like “Nobody in the stadium has sat down for an hour“.    The English fan’s vocal and musical  presence was a very strong part of the whole experience right from the beginning of the match.   The commentators often had to ‘shout’ to be heard over the background noise of the England fans.     The fans sang

  • God save our gracious Queen….”   (Chorus of the British National Anthem)    
  • Eng-GER-land Eng-GER-land…
  • O-lay, Olay-Olay-Olay”
  • clapping (and horns)  :      clap-clap        clap-clap-clap       clap-clap-clap-CLAP       CLAP-CLAP

After England lost the game the relative quiet was striking.   The Portugeuse winning cheers were quieter than the England supporters’ encouraging chanting.

history. History is against England” the commentators’ discourse implies that because England has never won a penalty kick-off in the World cup they are hampered in some way.   Huh?   Whether someone-else did or didn’t score a goal in a different competition will impact whether this player does or doesn’t score a goal?   That’s just silly, silly  silly.    Scoring is completely attributable to the ability of the players (shooter and goalie) at the time they take the shot.  

previously  an umotivated  not pretty deadleg would streak into the box  and step on an airborne bench, that’s a no-no, giving the opposition a P.K.   History is against the bench”  

translates, in Wendy-English,  to

“previously, tired players have  raced into  the penalty box  and kicked jumping substitutes in the bollocks,  that’s a  foul,  giving the opposition a penalty kick and prompting disapproving ‘booo’s from the fans.  It  could happen again.  

commenting on US commentators
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Portugal England (World Cup quarter final)

Saturday, July 1st, 2006 | tags: ,  |

Full time score:   Portugal 0 England 0

Overtime score:   Portugal 0 England 0

Penalty Kick-off

Portugal scored their first penalty.   England first penalty was saved.   That’s when I started crying.   Portugal’s second penalty saved.   England’s second  penalty scored,   and I stopped crying.   Portugal’s 3rd penalty saved,   England’s third penalty saved.   Portugal’s 4th penalty scored.    England’s forth penalty saved. Portugal’s 5th penalty scored….     game over.   Portugal  3 England 1       Much blubbing.     The Portugese goal keeper, Ricardo,  was named man of the match.   Clearly a good decision since the game was won on goal kicks and he saved 3/4 shots from England players.

The England squad was missing experienced, strong, forward players;    Playing most of the game with 10 rather than 11 players.    

  • Rooney off in the first half (red card).   We could do without bad tempered players taking the team one man down.    
  • Beckham off in the first half (injury),  
  • Owen so far off he never started the game because he’s back in the UK  (injury).    

The England players on the pitch  did an extremely good job,   just not outstanding enough to be worthy of a World Cup semi-final.  

Portugal England (World Cup quarter final)
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England vs Sweden. It’s personal

Wednesday, June 21st, 2006 | tags: ,  |

the day started with Nike’s  controversial double-page spread  in UK main newspapers, on poster-boards, and broadcast into my home by a Canadian news reporter based in London.    It’s published online in this article by  the Sun newspaper  featuring young  aggressive English Soccer star  Wayne Rooney.    I want a copy.    

Why is it personal?  

  • Mum is English
  • Dad is a Swedish speaking Finn (feel the loyalty tensions)
  • England have not beaten the Swedish soccer team since 1968 (England humiliation at lack of success in their national sport)
  • English Soccer team manager is “Sven Goran Ericson”,   you guessed it,   a Swede.   He gets my prize for  either ‘outstanding  platitude’ or ‘driest wit’  for this comment on England’s chances: “Sooner or later we have to beat them“.
  • match outcome determines who plays the home team, Germany.  

I wore my 2000 England soccer strip to work and  watched the game in a works canteen with three huge overhead screens in the company of people  from Sweden, Paraguy, Britian and some other countries judging by their complections and the languages I could partially over-hear.  

First half  

Within the first  2 minutes Michael Owen was taken off injured.   No foul play.   He’s a striking star  only not due to strike during  this match.  

England carried the half by persistently attacking.   They made  multiple,   poorly executed, strikes.   They kept  giving-away mutliple corner-kicks (set-plays) to Sweden.   I don’t know what planet Sweden were on at this time but they managed to fluff multiple goal opportunities provided by England.   Towards the end of the first half (34mins) Joe Cole scored an outstanding goal with a long,   curved shot that no-one was expecting.   Joe Cole’s footwork was consistently amazing throughout the match,   his feet  seemed to hover over and around the ball whenever it was near them,   teasing the Swedish players who appeared unable to place a foot near it when in his possession.   Defintiely my man of the match.   That kind of teasing,   humerous,   footwork qualifies him as a playful cutie in my books.   The England fans spontaneously sang the national anthem.   It sounds low and melodic in the predominantly male voices.   I miss singing at live matches.   Wendy-soppiness was beginning to set-in at this point.

Score at half time:  (England 1  Sweden 0)

Second half

Sweden came back clearly revived and  on the attack, scoring an exceptional goal within five minutes play.   They continued to look the better side throughout the second half.   After 70mins Sven substituted Nike posterman Rooney with Garrison.   Rooney stomped off to  the box,  where, like a petulant child he pulled his boots off and threw them down.   He was not a happy bunny and wanted everyone watching to know.   A poor exhibition from someone representing their country.   Five minutes before the end of the game Garrison scored for England.   The cheering could have raised the canteen roof!   The England crowd starting singing the National anthem again.   I was nearly moved to tears.  In the 90th, last, minute  Sweden scored a goal with a long shot that easily passed two poorly coordinated England defenders.   Ouch.   Sven’s ‘sooner or later’ didn’t include today’s game.

final score:     England  2   Sweden 2

What,   no mention of Beckham?   Was he on pitch?   Yes.    He took a couple of corners that failed to set-up any goals.   He was almost invisible which doesn’t seem a good way to play during a competitive  international match.   The USA ESPN sports commentator was more harsh in his comments on Beckham’s play.    It was painful, enlightening,  listening to a less partisan commentator on an English game. I missed  Gary Lineker’s commentary.   You can’t fault his insightful descriptive talent:  

Football is a simple game; 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win.”

The referee’s performance was also notably different from the referee in the USA-Italy game.    Th referee  of England-Sweden prioritised ‘play-on’ where the advantage was with the appropriate side over delivering yellow-cards.    Card’s weren’t even guarrantteed  after fouls that stopped the game. To my suprise the Swede’s were much more proliffic in their production of fouls than the English.   I was impressed by, and proud of, the  quality behaviour of the English team on pitch  focussing on legitimate means to win the game.  

Now Sweden play Germany (Saturday) and England play Equador (Sunday).  

England vs Sweden. It’s personal
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World Cup Soccer: USA 1 Italy 1

Sunday, June 18th, 2006 | tags: , , ,  |

‘Big Ben’ pub on ProvidenceOriginally uploaded by :: Wendy ::.
A good match, the USA were the more aggressive team if demonstrating less strategic skill. Holding the Italians to a draw is defintely a substantial achievement, even if both goals were scored by the Italian side…..

A good match, the USA were the more aggressive team if demonstrating less strategic skill. Holding the Italians to a draw is defintely a substantial achievement, even if both goals were scored by the Italian side…..I stumbled upon a ‘British Pub’ just before the match started and sat outside under a blue umbrella wathcing the match. During the Italian National anthem the team stood with their arms draped over each others shoulders and sang. During the USA national anthem the American team stood with about a foot between them, hands on heart, many didn’t even bother to mouth the words to the anthem.

A good match, the USA were the more aggressive team if demonstrating less strategic skill. Holding the Italians to a draw is defintely a substantial achievement, even if both goals were scored by the Italian side…..I stumbled upon a ‘British Pub’ just before the match started and sat outside under a blue umbrella wathcing the match. During the Italian National anthem the team stood with their arms draped over each others shoulders and sang. During the USA national anthem the stood with about a foot between them, hands on heart, many didn’t even bother to mouth the words to the anthem.The game was generally well referreed with some seemingly harsh decisions. The worst foul was when Daniele De Rossi (Italy) flagrantly threw an elbow right into the face of McBride (USA) in the 28th minute. He was sent off with a red card while McBride, with blood running down his face, left the field to change his shirt and try to stem the blood flow.

America weren’t one man up for long, just before the end of the first half Mastroeni was sent off for a late foul on Pirlo. It really wasn’t clear that this was actually a deliberately late tackle, looked reasonable to me.

Both goals were scored mid way through the first half.

Pope (USA) is sent of for a second yellow-card at the beginning of the second half. The USA managed to maintain the 1:1 score with only 9 men on the pitch. Nice job.

The cheering and chanting from the crowded pub really added to the ambience.

World Cup Soccer: USA 1 Italy 1
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Baseball opening ceremonies

Monday, September 12th, 2005 | tags: , , ,  |

We went to see Seattle Mariners vs Baltimore Orioles at the Seattle Mariner’s ‘Safeco” stadium on Saturday evening.

The massive roof rolls closed to enable the games to continue in Seattle rain. Below, you can see it open in the early evening sunlight as the field is prepared for the game. Baseball games are a fabulous American ceremony.

Preparation of the field is like a dance involving

  • Mascot: Seattle Mariners use a person dressed as a ‘Moose’?! in slapstick style interactive antics.
  • Autographs: team members sign autographs at the edge of the field.
  • Overhead screens: play media clips of ‘bloopers’, games, and provide statistics.
  • Colours: Before the game starts the colours (National, State and Utility – e.g. firemen) are marched onto the field
  • Field preparation: the sand is sprayed with water, this appears like a tightly choreographed dance. The ‘lines’ are placed on the ground. Again this appears very ritualised
  • National Anthem: a guest sings the National anthem while the crowd stands.
  • Food: people walk up and down the isles calling-out the food types they are vending (popcorn, candy-floss, beer, lemonade). You catch their attention and purchase directly from them without leaving your seat. Alternatively you can walk to a huge walkway that surrounds the back of the stands and is completely bordered by food/drinks vendors.

This game included one minute of silence prior to the National Anthem to remember the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Essentially a shared experience, news system and re-inforcement of morale values.


Baseball opening ceremonies
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