Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Now everyone is a soccer expert

The World Cup has been amazing for South Africa. The camaraderie between everyone is so inspiring.

Jumping into my car and going anywhere these days is much more fun when one sees all the flags flying from homes and car windows. I have the obligatory SA flag flying on one window and the German flag flying on the other with South Africa mirror socks attached to my side mirrors. It’s no wonder that all the tourists to our beautiful country are raving about the friendliness and “ubuntu” of South Africans.

There is something that has been fascinating me since the World Cup started though. Just how many people have suddenly become football experts overnight!

Sure, get behind a team a two and show your support by wearing their jerseys, colours, facepaint, flags, wigs…but does that support really transcend into knowledge? I have to stop myself from laughing when I hear people, who clearly never watched a soccer match before the WC, start sprouting their opinions and analysing the players, the teams and the referee.

Don’t get me wrong. I think it is marvellous that the so-called “beautiful game” suddenly has so many experts but what happened to all those people who never supported soccer in the past? Have they gone into hibernation? Left the country? Or are they too embarrassed to admit that watching 90 minutes of blokes running around a field kicking a ball backwards and forwards bores them to tears?

Okay – so I will admit it!

I have never watched the full 90 minutes of a soccer game. When I make a serious attempt to do so I still think that the game is over at 80 minutes (I watch rugby, you see) Those extra 10 minutes are just superfluous in my opinion.

What is with these blokes falling down all the time? Grimacing and clutching parts of their anatomy in complete agony when I swear no-one touched them. Acting skills must be a prerequisite for being a soccer star.

And off-sides? I haven’t a clue what the rules are but surely the players know? So why is the whistle constantly being blown for off-sides? Stay on your on-side, dudes!

It is a very loving game, I must admit. All that kissing and hugging that goes on….very sweet.

So, shoot me down in flames for being honest. I have made a momentous effort to watch the games where the result interests me but I still cannot profess to know what on earth is going on in the beautiful game. I love seeing photos on Facebook of friends attending the games. That is Ayoba enough for me.

I’ll stick to watching the highlights packages and the post match analysis on Super Sport which is always entertaining.

The drone of the vuvuzela’s + 8:30pm kick off time = #1 sleeping tablet.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wrinklies Are Doing IT Too.

I had to smile when reading an article by Laura Spencer (see my Outsourced Communications page) where she writes about senior citizens getting active on blogs, Facebook etc. My 72 year old father Paul Chalupsky may have just learnt how to switch a computer on, but he has joined Facebook! I nearly fell off my chair when he made some reference to my blog the other day. I did not think he knew what a blog was let alone how to find my one.

Sure, he responds to about 1 in 20 e-mails that he receives (if you are lucky) because it takes him an hour to write a 1 line response but who cares? He is trying. He is getting involved. He has taken on the challenge.

My Dad is no stranger to challenges. He immigrated to Australia at the age of 65 as his wife wanted to be near her family. Moving to the other side of the world to a strange country at any age is a scary prospect. I can just imagine what it must have been like at 65, leaving ones comfort zone, all ones friends and of course, the majority of ones family.

Obviously when his wife Betty died, life became very lonely for him. During his visit to South Africa last December I encouraged him to sign up on an over 55’s dating site. Sure, I had to do all the writing and uploading of pictures but he was extremely enthusiastic about the idea. He had more faith in the idea of online dating than I did…

Well, to cut the possible Mills and Boon future novel short, he met the most wonderful lady. She has given him a renewed zest for life and will hopefully be the catalyst to inspire him where all his children and grandchildren have failed – by making him return to South Africa to enjoy his twilight years surrounded by friends, family and loved ones, both old and new.

So Dad, if you are reading this blog, I am proud of you. You have always been a hero to me but your embracing of modern technology has been the cherry on the top.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Do Good Things

I recently read a quote from a friend’s Facebook wall which ties in beautifully to what I wish to share with you today.
The quote reads:
Remember that people will judge you by your actions, not your intentions. You may have a heart of gold - but so does a hard-boiled egg."

How true is that? What I find so inspiring is the number of people that one meets that are doing good things. Doing things that we often do not give a moments thought to, but which effects so many lives.

Top of mind is organisations like TAFTA (The Association for the Aged). Unless one investigates what they do or require their services when you have an aged relative – you don’t give them a second thought. I have needed their services and they ensured that a potentially traumatic and difficult experience turned into a smooth and pleasurable process (I know what you are thinking… No, it was not for me. How rude!)

I met with Jenny Thompson who works for a WESSA organisation called Stop the Spread. I was fascinated by the facts that she shared with me regarding alien invasive species. Global warming; water wise; threats to biodiversity; the future of our planet – all catch phrases that we hear so often and yet we are unknowingly promulgating the problem in our own back gardens.

I got a book from Jenny called “Invasive Alien Plants in KZN.” I immediately did a reccie around my garden and was astounded to find at least 5 invasive plants. I can hear you thinking - so what? It is just a few plants in your garden, who cares? How is that going to affect the world? But that is just the point. If everyone does their little bit and eradicates these nasties from their little patch of land, together we can ultimately make a difference. (Think how effective mass strike action is in SA!)

I had a giggle when I saw the Syringa tree had a Category 3 invasive status. Some of you may recall that my Syringa decided to get up close and personal with me and came knocking on my door during a storm last year. Although the tree was cut down to a stump – you cannot believe how quickly it started to grow again. Yikes, it is actually quite creepy seeing the speed in which it grows. No wonder they have the title “invaders”

If any of you wish to borrow this extremely well illustrated book from me and see what is lurking in your garden – you are more than welcome to.

Let’s not end up with egg on our faces because we have ignored our hearts of gold and failed to turn good intentions into real action.