Thursday, 20 September 2012

Wednesday, bloody Wednesday

Apologies to regular readers for finally succumbing to writing about football.  In my defence, we had a good year before it got to this.  Apologies too for invoking Partridge with the title.

I guess the audience for this blog is a bit niche in that I'll end up writing whilst assuming you know something about football and/or Sheffield Wednesday.  (Disclaimer - going to Hillsborough does not automatically qualify you to know something about football as we shall see below).

I contemplated whether I should write this whilst trudging back up the hill to the car after last night's game against Huddersfield which we comfortably managed to lose 3-1.   We weren't our best last night and despite making a few chances and missing them) up front, our defence made them look like Barcelona.

As a football fan, I think I'm quite lucky in that my entire existence doesn't revolve around Sheffield Wednesday Football Club.  I live and die with each kick during the game, but the result washes over me an hour or so after the match.  It's only a game right?

Some people are a lot more fanatical than I am and whilst I respect their choice to be that way, I will make a point of not being tarred with the mad brush to a certain extent.  Most of my football related conversations take place on Twitter, where a certain proportion of our fanbase believe that being a Wednesday fan means we're all mates.  This is definitely not the case.

After last night's game (our 6th of 46 this season) the same old tired tribe took to their phones to start bashing the team and the manager, floating all manner of hysterical observations.  On the surface, it's easy to see why.  Football is an emotive thing.  There's a tribalism in supporting your team and wanting to beat whoever's in front of you.

It's easy to lambast the manager for "changing a winning team" (Wednesday had lost two on the trot before last night) or to blame the keeper (for conceding one penalty and the rebound from another that he'd saved).  It's easy to be critical and suggest that our right back last night looked horribly out of his depth and that our centre midfield looked uneasy every time they might have to pass the ball forward.  It's easy to bemoan players for not being able to take a corner without kicking it straight to the opposition (I'll hold my hand up as being guilty of that one).

And in the heat of the moment, you can forgive it to a degree.  But an hour or so afterwards it's surely time to be objective and reasonable.  Wednesday got promoted last season and are now adapting to a new level of the game where things are done faster and more mistakes are punished than they were last season.  Three of the starting XI last night were fairly new to the club and looked a little short of fitness.  Given their recent signings, they also haven't had much opportunity to play together as a team.

I realised last night that what makes my blood boil about football is other fans.  The people on Twitter who make ridiculous statements based on nothing factual.  The same people that can dish out abuse to players with one tweet and then send them a message praising them with the next.  The old guy 4 rows behind me who dished out a non-stop expletive tirade at the referee after 80 minutes despite there being kids nearby.  The idiot who threw something onto the pitch last night.  The bloke at the side of me that got up and left his seat 5 times to smuggle a beer into his seat (North Stand, row 26, seat 31, you know who you are).  Those people need to experience the real world.  Watch the news or read a book.  You're entitled to your opinion the same as me and every one else.  But to do it in such an ignorant manner is appalling.

Calling for the manager who presided over (almost all of) our joint longest unbeaten run in history after 6 games is mind numbingly stupid.  Blaming the keeper because you personally like the other goalie more is insane.  Booing your own players is ridiculous.  Maybe I should just stay off Twitter after the match.

I don't believe for a second that Wednesday have any right to go out and win a single game of football - you have to earn your points and accept the defeats when you weren't good enough.  Sadly, last night was the latter.  Finishing 4th bottom this season will be an achievement.  I quietly predicted we'd finish 14th in May and I'll stick to that.  Last night's game is over and all anyone can do is look forward to Saturday against Bolton.

I don't to rant.  Last night was just a bad day in the office.  It's a long time until May and I have no doubt the same lunatics who were ready to explode with rage last night will be eating their words in a few months (and will have conveniently forgotten all their hysterics by then).  This is my 27th year visiting Hillsborough and stepping out of the concourse never gets tiring, regardless of how we play.

But I'm glad the club isn't my only reason for being.

Up the Owls.

P.S. Credit due to all 25,000 there last night for impeccably observing a moment's silence (and applause) for the Hillsborough Families and the 2 lads from the Yorkshire Regiment who died in Afghanistan

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Birthday post - but no cake


Apologies I've not posted for a while - September seems to have flown by.

Having officially said goodbye to running for the year, I've turned my attention to trying to shift some weight.

As my exercise post-marathon has been sporadic at best, I've put on a fair bit of weight in the last 4 months.  I've spent a bit of time trying to ignore it but predictably that hasn't worked very well so now I'm actively trying to do something about it.

Obviously there are a number of benefits to this.  Being able to fit more comfortably in the clothes I own is one.  Not feeling knackered every time I have to exert any kind of energy is another.  And keeping my diabetes under control is probably the biggest benefit I'll get.  I've got my annual(ish) review at the hospital in October (I rescheduled from September because I knew I'd get a kicking) and so being in a bit better shape when I go will be good news.

My plan is fairly simple - try and lose 2lbs a week between now and Christmas.  The means I should lose about 2 stone by December 25th which would be pretty good.  I know the reality of that will be a bit different but it's worth a shot.  Weight is generally easier to lose when you're carrying a lot extra (as I am at the moment) and I know that come mid-December, I'll be into Christmas mode, but it's worth a go.

I'm using MyFitnessPal to track my calories and exercise on a daily basis.  If you're unfamiliar with it, you give it some information about yourself (height, weight, age, gender) and then tell it how much you want to lose and at what rate (between 0.5lbs and 2lbs per week) and it calculates a daily calorie allowance for you.  There's the option to add exercise into the mix as well.

Based on my current and target weights, I have a daily calorie allowance of 1440 per day (though I earn a few extra each day from exercise).  While that sounds like a fairly low number, it's essentially what I eat most days as long as I cut out the snacking that I'm incredibly prone to.

As I mentioned in my last post, I've invested in an exercise bike and I'm trying for 2 sessions per day on that to aid weight loss and boost fitness.  At the moment I'm doing 20 minutes 6 mornings a week and between 30 to 40 minutes each evening. On average that burns off about 550 calories per day.

After one full week of calorie counting I didn't lose any weight, but I'm attributing that to a general 1 week lag in diet/exercise showing in my actual weight.  Hopefully Saturday morning will show a reduction when I step on the scales.

What I have noticed is that my blood sugar levels have come under control very quickly and that my reliance on insulin has reduced significantly.  I'll talk more about that next time.

I've made my daily diary available for public viewing if you're so inclined.  As with the running, making this a bit more public gives a bit of added motivation so I hope you'll forgive the slight dullness of this post.  I've got some more interesting ideas kicking about for future blogs - don't worry.

Finally, the title refers to the fact that this blog is one year old now.  Thanks to every that's read some or all of the posts.  Hopefully you'll keep coming back.

Take care