It’s easy to see why millions are hooked on soccer.
Some of the matches of the last 16 in the World Cup, let alone the finals, were superb entertainment. Gallic style and strength helped France to victory over Argentina. Sluggish Spain was downed by Russian resistance in the shoot-out. Brazil’s bulldog defence strangled Mexico and in the last seconds of their match, Belgium kicked an unexpected goal to devastate Japan.
For years I have neither watched, nor wanted to watch, soccer.
Why waste 90 minutes seeing 20 men and two goalies fooling and falling around to end with a score of 0.0? Give me rugby any day.
Yet in my teens I was a soccer fan and would turn out in all weathers to watch my tall “six foot four and a half inched” (1.942m) brother-in-law playing goalie for UCT.
When he was promoted to the first team and needed a new jersey in a hurry, we were all hauled in to help with the knitting.
I’d like to think that my mother, who was knitting the front of the jersey, hogged the pattern.
Then I’d have an excuse for the fact that my left sleeve turned out to be about six inches (150mm) longer than the right! But my brother-in-law gallantly wore the jersey and used the extra-long sleeve as a muff.
In his day, shoot-out penalties were not part of soccer. He would have freaked at facing five kicks from five different players when just one failure could mean the loss of a match. Even worse a World Cup.
In the finals of six major pre-2018 Fifa competitions, only two World Cups ended in shoot-outs. In 1994 when Brazil beat Italy 3 – 2 in California and in 2006 when Italy beat France 5–3 in Berlin.
Can the kickers guess which way the goalie will dive? According to a 2012 study in Psychological Science, 71% of goalies dived to the right when
their teams were losing but only 48% when ahead and 49% when tied, which doesn’t sound very scientific as shoot-outs only occur after extra time when both sides are scoreless, or equal.
The power of social media
A quiet Sunday evening in Newlands turned into a saga about one man and two dogs highlighting the effectiveness of social media in emergencies.
A pal, who lives near Newlands Forest, was startled to hear from her kitchen window someone moaning in pain.
She and her doctor daughter went to investigate and found an injured man “with a glazed expression” and a bleeding
cut on his forehead lying with two dogs among bushes in open ground.
When the telephone number on one collar brought no response, the quick-thinking daughter suggested she photograph the dogs and send the information to the WhatsApp group of Newlands Neighbourhood Crime Watch.
Within minutes her phone had rung. It was the dogs’ owner in Italy!
A local contact’s address was given, the dogs were subsequently rescued and the injured dog walker/ house sitter attended to, but I would not put my life’s savings on him retaining his job.
Some folk are good at writing, others are happier speaking, but Heather Parker Lewis is equally good at both. She is a self-published author of about 20 books – fiction, non-fiction on serious social issues and amusing
business books on a variety of topics.
She also enjoys giving talks based on her books, like “Olive Schreiner – The woman behind the words” and “Prison Gang Mythology” about her 10-year research in prisons across the Western Cape and a maximum security prison in Denmark.
On a lighter note is her talk, “Classical Indian Dance”, which deals with the controversial devadasis and comes with the bonus of a demo!
As well as being a social worker, who for 10 years ran a shelter for drug-addicted street youths,
Heather is also a qualified South Indian temple dancer and has written two books on Indian dancing, which she does every day even though she is pushing 72.
Her newest talk, based on her book, The Mean Mother-in-Law’s Manual, due out next month should interest life-story
writers. It includes a chapter on genealogical research and how to publish your own book and, she adds, it is a “thought-provoking read for daughters-in-law”.
Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Equal in every way
The sight of eight young women filing in to see Ocean’s 8 at the Blue Route was reassuring evidence that the movie would not be anything like the six noisy and violent formulaic trailers we had just watched.
Ocean’s 8 is part of the Ocean’s Eleven series with George Clooney and Co but this time the
women are in, and sometimes, out, of control.
Bullock and Cate Blanchett are
the ring leaders of a zesty all-women heist crew who plan to steal a
$150 million diamond necklace during the legendary Met
Costume Gala in Manhattan.
There’s also an element
of revenge in Bullock’s meticulous planning during her
seven-year stint in the slammer.
She wants to hit back
at the guy who let her take the fall for a previous heist.
It will take you a few minutes to recognise Helena Bonham Carter in some weird outfits as she joins Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna, Sarah Paulson, and Awkwafina in their
complex plan to join the filthy rich and stay out of jail.
I hate it when I can’t sort out my laptop and the resident expert is asleep. It’s because he’s 5 and it’s past his bedtime.