God is my Director

Youth ministry, movies, no drugs and a variable amount of Rock ‘n Roll

Archive for the ‘Sport’ Category

I saw the fight!

Posted by Martin on June 28, 2007

Ok, so if you’re following my out of date travelog this is slightly out of sequence but I just can’t sit on this any longer – I went to my first ever baseball game in Chicago last week – the Chicago Cubs against the San Diego Padres at the world famous Wrigley Field. It was all pretty dull to be honest – but then my new favourite American Sports Star, Derrick Lee, got hit deliberately by the nasty bowler man. This is what happened next – Lee’s the one in the middle of the picture in the white shirt. And don’t talk to me about morals and pacifism, people – I WAS THERE!!!

Posted in Sport | 6 Comments »

Seriously, what is this?

Posted by Martin on June 28, 2007

This is my beloved nation’s best effort at an Olympic logo.

This proves that we are now totally rubbish at anything which even contains the word ‘Olympic’. 100 metres – fine, that’s to be expected. But logo designing? You can’t blame that performance on the wrong weather conditions.

It seems bizarre to me that so much money and so many people could have led to this. How did no-one ever step in and say, ‘it looks like vomit’? How did it come to this?

I know, I know – it’s easy to criticise – except I am one of about 65 million people who genuinely believes he could have done better. In fact, I’d wager my two year old son, Mini-GimD, would have done no worse. Even my unborn child… in fact… wait… is that our baby scan photo…?

Posted in Sport | 3 Comments »

England v West Indies – Starts today

Posted by Martin on May 17, 2007

A special message for the legions of Gimd readers who have emailed me to confirm that they’re becoming cricket fans through this site:

England take on the West Indies here in London today, at Lords. Follow the action live at Cricinfo, or BBC Sport.

Updates as they happen…

Posted in Sport | 1 Comment »

Red Socks

Posted by Martin on May 2, 2007

Len has begged me to put this on the site, and promises to push the cricket agenda in the United States and convert all his friends to West Ham United supporters if I do…

So here goes: Go the Red Socks. Whatever that means.

[cricket/soccer] Ball’s in your court Len.

Posted in Blogroll, Sport | 3 Comments »

Good on you Duncan

Posted by Martin on April 20, 2007

Despite vocalising my support for the removal of England’s cricket coach yesterday, I would also like to add my voice to those who thank Duncan Fletcher for his great work lifting English cricket off the scrapheap in the last eight years. Winning the Ashes in 2005 was one of the great British sporting achievements of the last 30 years, and he should leave the job now with his head held high. As expected, Fletcher parts company with the team after the final game of the World Cup tomorrow.

The question now is over who will replace him. Tom Moody has been mentioned, and would be an excellent choice. I am quite keen on an Englishman though – and perhaps a younger man, with more creative ideas. Perhaps Academy Director Peter Moores, the expected caretaker manager, will grow naturally into the role. To early to say though – for now, so long Duncan, and thanks for the memories…

Posted in Sport | 1 Comment »

The death and future of English cricket

Posted by Martin on April 19, 2007

As a Christian, I believe in the power of Resurrection. And although it was over the Easter period that England’s cricket team basically waved the white flag of surrender, I do believe they’ll be back. To achieve this though, change is needed. Their coach, Duncan Fletcher, has done a great job, but he’s clearly taken the team as far as he can. He needs to go, and hopefully he’ll go today – a press conference has been called by the team management this afternoon at 16.30GMT.

My hope is that he’ll be replaced by one of the last generation of England players who really knew how to be winners – those from the early 1980s who genuinely competed with great teams like Australia and the West Indies. I’m not brave enough to suggest who though.

Having a child has made me significantly less passionate about football – after all, who really wants to take their child to sit in a football crowd? And so this season, I’ve decided to get serious about county cricket. Cucumber sandwiches, hot sunny afternoons – it’s all much nicer. However, I shall not just be sitting back and enjoying the sandwiches – instead GimD will be acting as a scout for the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). I shall be picking out the best young talent, and making a case for the new look England team.

First up, may I present Adil Rashid, a 19-year old leg-spinner and useful lower order batsman. He made 86 for Yorkshire yesterday when they were in trouble against my team Surrey yesterday. His bowling has been getting people excited recently too – why don’t we throw him into the England team now and let him grow with the side – it’s what the Australians do.

More scouting reports as they come to me. I do hope the ECB are reading this. 

Posted in Sport | 2 Comments »

Welcome to Collingwood

Posted by Martin on February 12, 2007

There he is, bless 'imIf you’re not yet a cricket fan (and I do hope that readers of this blog are at least drifting in that direction), then allow me to introduce you to the David Beckham of cricket. Arise Sir Paul Collingwood – the batsman/bowler/fielder/lovable Geordie/acrobat who has resurrected the flatlining English cricket team.

Colly (as I – and I hope you will now – call him) single-handedly masterminded three straight victories in the Australian One Day series – two of them in the finals against the Australians themselves. And somehow, after being utterly slaughtered by that same team in the recent five-day test series, England today return from ‘down under’ clutching some silverware.

My faith is restored, and all is well again. The World Cup starts next month, and England have hit form at just the right time. There has never been a better time to get into cricket, to get behind England, or to be called Paul. Hurrah.

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Over-prayed footballers

Posted by Martin on December 22, 2006

I’ve already confessed my love of this kind of story – now possibly my favourite TV show in the whole wide world is devoting this Saturday’s programme to it. The BBC Sport website today reports that England footballer Jermaine Defoe is a Christian who says that prayer helps him to get over the disappointments in his career. He says:

‘I pray every day. In the mornings and, before I go to bed. I think it’s important to pray not just when things are going bad.

‘When things are going bad, it’s easy to pray and ask God to help you out, but it’s also important to pray when things are going well and show your appreciation.’

Good on Jermaine for saying that in public when he knows he could get stick from the fans, and good on the BBC for airing his story of faith, and those of other players, in the ‘Faith in football’ special of Football Focus, on BBC ONE this Saturday at 12.10pm GMT.

Posted in Spiritual is everything, Sport | Leave a Comment »

Five for Monty!

Posted by Martin on December 14, 2006

Just enjoyed this quite lovely piece of text commentary on the marvellous Cricinfo:

>>Panesar to Lee, OUT, and he’s got him! Monty has five! Lands this on middle, it turns just enough and Lee is rapped on the pad. Dar raises his finger and Panesar is the first Englishman to take five wickets at the WACA. This is Monty’s day!

I love Monty Panesar, and I want to have his babies.

Posted in Sport | 1 Comment »

Four!

Posted by Martin on December 14, 2006

Now he’s got Shane Warne out! Sweet Jesus how I love thee!

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The Montster strikes!

Posted by Martin on December 14, 2006

Alright, alright – I know I said I was giving up on cricket, but that was before they recalled the mighty Monty the Montster Panesar for the Third Ashes Test. The turbaned genius has just taken his third Aussie wicket, and at last, the Ashes have started. Shame we’re two down with three to play…

What has really impressed everyone today about Monty is his temperament. He was hit for 17 runs in a single over by the same batsman – then returned in the very next over to dismiss him. Then he got another wicket just a few balls later! What character! The Australian game plan is clearly to bully him out of the match, but what they didn’t realise is this: Monty Panesar is the new king of spin.

For non-cricket fans, normal service will resume shortly.

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Utterly cast down

Posted by Martin on December 5, 2006

To quote Anton Chekhov.

England’s cricket team manage to snatch utter humiliation from the jaws of respectability, and I… just… can’t… believe it. No team has ever sunk to the depths that we’ve just reached. The Australians will be hopping around with joy, and quite rightly, but there now need to be some serious changes, starting with a new manager.

And suddenly, English sport looks desperately depressing. Our rugby team are now so poor that if they were a movie, they’d be directed by Uwe Boll. Our football team look like eleven men who’ve never been introduced to each other, and our cricket team just curled up and collectively died Down Under.

I think it’s time to explore my Scottish heritage… 

Posted in Sport | 2 Comments »

England – Phoenix from the flames?

Posted by Martin on November 30, 2006

As I write, there are about four hours to go before the Second Ashes Test between Australia and England.

So I go to bed tonight with a simple prayer – please don’t let the Australian cricket team be as mean and nasty and generally superior this week as they were last. Please God.

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crAshes

Posted by Martin on November 25, 2006

General CusterOh dear. With apologies to my American friends, it’s time to talk about cricket. And if you are American, and always wanted to know what a really terrible cricket team looks like, this is definitely the time to watch.

It’s hard to find a word which adequately describes what Australia are currently doing to my beloved England in the First Ashes Test. ‘Putting to the sword’ doesn’t cover it; ‘crushing’ and ‘pulverising’ don’t go far enough. I’m struggling for an appropriate metaphor. It’s not even men against boys – more men vs. foetuses.

The foetuses are putting up the barest of resistances. Ian Bell (pictured) is the only guy who can hold his head up today, after scoring a dogged 50 (although none of the Australian batsmen seemed to have any trouble getting one of those). 18 months ago, we won the Ashes – now almost the same team are being made to look like the world’s worst. They bat and score 600, we bat and struggle to make a quarter of that score. Then they go out again, and beat our score with only a single wicket lost. It’s the most demoralising thing.

Australia could and should under normal circumstances have enforced the follow-on (US readers switch off here) – but that wasn’t enough for them. They had to underline their dominance in triplicate with a big black marker pen. Just so we know. So they’re batting again, in what appears to be an attempt to achieve the biggest winning margin in cricketing history (US readers come back).

We’re only one game in to five. But what Australia’s captain Ricky Ponting is trying to do is win the entire Ashes series in a single match. If he can achieve a winning marging of 6-700 runs, he knows that the fragile English confidence will be shredded like tissue paper. Sadly, I wouldn’t back against him.

If, somehow, England dig deep and manage to save the game, which will surely mean batting out five sessions, then Ponting’s bullying tactic will have backfired, and England have a shred of hope that the series will stay alive. If it goes to plan however, we might as well get on the plane home right now.

And I’m a sporting optimist.

Posted in Sport | 1 Comment »

White is the new rubbish

Posted by Martin on November 6, 2006

Well, it turns out that I know more about rugby than I thought. England were indeed trounced by New Zealand, by the fairly resounding margin of 20-41. It was a strange match though – we scored very early on and the referee (French, draw your own conclusions) disallowed the try for no apparent reason – and after that our players’ heads went down and we kept making mistakes – every time the All Blacks scored, it was probably more due to our ineptitude than their brilliance.So should we have won? Well, probably not – to me it looked like the All Blacks were always only operating in third gear, and could have stepped up if needed. As it was, they cruised to victory without losing too much sweat.

Not usually being a big rugby man, I was unaware of some of the attached conventions. The stunned silence around me when I screamed ‘SHOOT!’ at our kicker was testament to that. I also didn’t realise that, unlike the football crowds in which I’m more at home, there is no segregation – they just put both sets of fans in together. This is excellent news if, like me, you enjoy winding up opposition supporters. In this game, it was easy – you just start voicing your disgust at ‘The Cheating Aussies’. They really don’t like that, it turns out.

A good day out, slightly improved by the comical miming of Girls Aloud in the end-of-game entertainments, and with for me, one interesting spiritual moment. 82,000 fans, with their hands on their hearts, singing the great English hymn Jerusalem, so passionately that it would make most choirs blush. I’ve pasted the words of the hymn below – pretty incredible stuff for a crowd of mainly non-churchgoers to be belting out on a Sunday afternoon.

JERUSALEM 

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountain green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?
And did the countenance divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among those dark satanic mills?

Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!
I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land.

William Blake ca.1804

Posted in Spiritual is everything, Sport | Leave a Comment »

Black is the new white

Posted by Martin on November 5, 2006

Sounds like it’s going to be a controversial post, but it probably won’t be…

Off now to watch England take on the mighty All Blacks (for the uninitiated, the Brazil of Rugby) at Twickenham with my best mate in the world. We’re allowing 4 and a half hours travel time each way, despite the fact that it’s only about ten miles away.

I’m fully expecting England to be pulverised, as I’m sure most people are – but it’s not going to hurt if they are. First, this isn’t football, and so it doesn’t really matter, and second, sometimes you just have to look on and admire a great side, even if it’s your own team that they’re destroying. Plus, I’ve always kind of liked Kiwis, and their country. Anyone who counts Australia as their sworn sporting enemy is ok in my book.

Whether I’ll feel the same way at 5.15pm tonight, at the end of the game, remains to be seen. I shall be sure to let you know…

Posted in Sport | 1 Comment »

Kanu believes it!

Posted by Martin on October 30, 2006

Here he is, bless himI should so be writing headlines for The Sun.  On which subject, saw an awesome article today on their hallowed pages about Portsmouth FC, the football (or if you must, soccer) team which is currently upsetting the form book in the English Premier League.

Apparently rejuvenated star striker Kanu (left) and SEVEN of his colleagues have been getting down on their knees together before each match to pray. And then coincidentally… they’ve been beating everyone, and he’s been scoring like his life depended on it.

Kanu told The Sun “When we pray I keep scoring. I am a Christian and I love praying. A few of us say a prayer in the dressing room. There’s Linvoy Primus, Sol Campbell, LuaLua . . . about eight of us all together. And it is good because it keeps the team together and gives us that bit extra. The spirit and unity shows out on the pitch where we work for each other.”

I love it. Everything is spiritual, baby.

Posted in Spiritual is everything, Sport | 2 Comments »