Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.


negative natter

Ok, so I’m going to stick my neck out here. The real truth is that I know virtually nothing about football, but I have been making a huge effort, and I have been mostly loving the Mafifa 2010 World Cup here in South Africa. I have watched a lot of the games on TV, and while I acknowledge that anything I say about the game has absolutely no basis in experience or expertise, there is an area that I do think I know something about, and that’s the commentary.

I have done a bit of a google to try and put names to the commentators that I have heard on both DSTV and SABC (it sounds like the same guy every time, although I’m pretty certain that that would be impossible), and I’ve just heard one of the studio anchors say Gareth Bloom or Blum, but I googled those and nothing came up, so I really don’t know who they are. They sound British. Anyway, regardless of who they are, I want to complain about what they are; which is almost unnaturally negative.

If there is a bad thing to say about a player, team, ref, coach or attempt at a goal, it is said. Even the ‘colourful and noisy’ descriptions of the crowd and the fans sound negative or critical or condescending. Mistakes are highlighted and blame is dished out at every opportunity. Teams are brutally criticised. Previous failures are enumerated and dwelt on. The chances of anyone impressing are slim. It’s just so dreary! It’s like they are waiting to be disappointed. I have to say, that for me, a believer in the enormous power of positive, the constant talking down of everyone, and everything, including the damn weather, is totally off putting. This guy has just tried to pay the Dutch a compliment by calling them neat and methodical in their previous game, which they won by two goals! Hau!

I would love to do a study which could measure the effects of all the negative speak on the game and players themselves, not to mention us viewers. I guess that is one of the advantages of going to watch the game live. I am just going to sit here, with my vuvuzela ready, to drown out those words; difficult, unfortunate, frustrated, too late, weak attempt, bad move, lackluster, unhappy, cynical, hardly ideal, would have been, blah blah negative blah!

100 days to go!

It’s a hundred days to go to the soccer world cup! I am sure that all of you want to know why I am even mentioning this, and why I even care, and you would ask if you could see me why I am wearing my ‘I heart SA’ T-shirt with the SA flag on it today.

Well, I have to say, I have been turned around on this SWC thing. In the beginning I was omigod! WTF? I’m going to a desert island. At the time I could think of nothing worse than Cape Town, and South Africa being swamped by a bunch of rowdy foreign soccer thugs, who would be overcharged, under entertained, over liquified, under transported and in my face. In the beginning I was the stereotype of a DWP (depressed white pessimist) that believed nothing would be ready, nobody would come and the SABC would screw it up royally (that part might still come true).

But my involvement with the Engen Phambili road show has changed all that. I have been working with Engen for the past six years, creating industrial theatre plays as part of the road shows that go all over the country and are aimed at Engen petrol pump attendants  and cashiers. It is work that I am so proud of and committed to. It is also the most effective work I make. But while my cast of brilliant actors and I have been working at delivering a message of giving great service, pride, loyalty, energy, enthusiasm and enjoyment, I have been learning about the world cup, the way soccer brings people together, the love of the game, the excitement ordinary people feel, and they way that Engen feels about this once in a life time opportunity for South Africa to shine! It’s rubbed off. I am feeling it. Marks Maponyane and Clive Barker do a Q & A around the SWC and they are absolutely inspirational. The audience of petrol pump attendants and cashiers know their soccer, their players, the participating countries, their favourites to win. World cup tickets are cherished and fought over prizes! The South African national anthem is sung with enthusiasm, passion and commitment. I’m in! Boots and all! Woza 2010 soccer world cup! A hundred days to go!

a wet blanket

Is exactly what I don’t want to be, but.

I am still gloating over the Proteas‘ awesome win and hoping for a series whitewash. I am reading articles and opinions and comments from all over. This morning I read some beautiful things on Sport 24 and I was particularly moved by this comment by an Anonymous User

In the early hours of this morning, I sat alone in front of the television, the ground outside covered in a hard English frost, so far from my old home in South Africa, and as the winning runs were scored, I wept. You all made me SO proud! It is not just the winning, but the manner of the winning. After Perth I was too afraid to imagine that you could do it again. But I should not have worried. With your magnificent captain leading the way, you showed not just great skill and determination, but all those other great sporting attributes – calmness, concentration, a well-grounded self-belief, and, above all, COURAGE. And in winning so convincingly, though it must have been tempting, I saw no gloating, no mocking, no arrogance; just pure joy. Well done boys. I hope you carry on playing this great game with such passion and pride.

Really beautiful hey? and this got me thinking. A guy in England can sit and watch the game on TV, but here in SA, unless you have DSTV you are out for the count. This is totally hectic. Especially for supporters who wanted to watch this last game which started at 1h30 in the morning. You couldn’t like, hang out in a sports bar exactly. There is nothing more deliberately divisive than lack of access. So, I just hope nobody is too surprised when cricket’s support base is analysed and criticised for lack of transformation. SABC, you are moegoes!

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