Thursday, 24 June 2010

World Cup Predictions!

As I sit at my computer wondering whether to purchase shares in the vuvuzela, I am trying to create a blog that doesn’t mention anything bout the World Cup. It seems impossible not to mention it…so I will.

I had originally hoped to write this blog before England’s last game, however I had a feeling the result of the match would affect the direction and tone somewhat! Looking back on the games that have already been played, it’s been such an unpredictable tournament. The French were knocked out very early on, and who’s to say the players would have participated any further anyway? The favourites, Spain, took a risky route losing their first game but managed to get through.

So, due to the unpredictability of the tournament, I thought I would try and make some solid predictions.

If you would kindly join me in my Little Kickers time machine, please turn your phones off and keep your hands in at all times; as I take you forward to Sunday 11th July moments after the World Cup Final…

After the Argentineans were disqualified for fielding too many players on the pitch at one time, the Irish have been flown over to replace them. Unfortunately the Irish manager Giovanni Trapattoni couldn’t make the tournament due to the short notice, so our very own Niamh O’Connor from Little Kickers took charge. The Irish made their way to the semi finals where they took on the Brazilians, in the closing minutes of the game – Robbie Keane handled the ball and blasted it in the net; the French referee unfortunately didn’t see the violation.

And there it was - the perfect World Cup final, England Vs Ireland. The vuvuzelas covered in the green and gold of Ireland, and the red and white of England. The revelation that Lionel Messi was adopted and that he was actually English meant that he was eligible to play for Fabio Capello’s team.

My loyalties were split. My Mum being Irish and my Dad being incredibly English, I had a decision to make. I went with my heart and proudly wore my crisp white England shirt (I was wearing green and gold underwear). After the World Cup committee had said that the tournament had lost its sparkle, they proceeded to invite Terry Wogan to be the guest referee (best they could get on a budget). 0-0 with ten minutes to go, Beckham whips off his suit and starts putting his boots on, in his vest and pants (he forgot his kit) he was put on in place of the tired Wayne Rooney. Beckham was fouled just outside the box, he placed the ball down, took three steps back and one to the side, began his run up to the ball, and then having ran the length of the pitch, Robert Green, England’s blundering goalkeeper, pushed Beckham out of the way and belted the ball that flew into the top corner of the Irish net. England - World Cup champions 2010!

Little Kickers don’t create miracles…but if we did, they’d probably be the best miracles in the world.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Magic

Last night I had the pleasure of going to see Derren Brown’s new show - “Enigma”. It was truly amazing, and even the biggest sceptics amongst the audience left utterly spellbound. We were asked as an audience not to reveal anything that goes on within the show, so as to not ruin it for others, so I will stand by my promise. If you get the chance to see it though, please do!

I have always been somewhat of a sceptic, and I have an annoying habit of digging for logical explanations. However I was amazed by the cynicism of some attendees who I overheard discussing the show on the way out of the theatre, and saying “they must have been actors” and “they’re all drama students”. Their basis for this utterance stemmed from the method of selection of audience participants, who were seemingly randomly chosen by means of a Frisbee being thrown into the crowd.

It irritated me slightly that people were so quick to pull the show apart. Even if they were all actors (and I am not suggesting this by any means), could we not just enjoy the spectacle, sit there and absorb brilliant showmanship and not dampen the experience by forming our own rationales? As a human race we have an innate urge to form an unequivocal reasoning for everything.

As a child I never doubted things I saw. When my Granddad told me that he had my nose – I wanted it back! When my Grandma told me that there was a coin behind my ear, I spent hours in the mirror looking for it, but, as if by magic, when she looked she managed to find it!

As we grow up we “grow out of” the ability to accept things for what they appear to be. We have a constant yearning to know the ins and outs of everything. Now, I realise that this has helped us develop science and technology to today’s advanced levels, and the evolution of the human race from Neanderthals to the sophisticated beings we are today would not have happened had this thirst for knowledge not been inbred (although if the Big Brother contestants are anything to go by, that is somewhat questionable!) However I can’t help but think that sometimes we take it too far.

At Little Kickers we love that our kids are just kids. And I also think our classes provide many parents with an element of escapism from their own ‘grown up’ world. For an hour a week, our kids can believe that they are stood on a pirate ship, or that they are in the jungle amongst tigers and lions. Our excellent coaches are taught to utilise the imagination of the children, and use games and techniques that develop sound basic football skills, but the children learn without realising they are doing so. So when they are running away from the sleeping bear, they are practicing turning, balance, awareness of space and other elements of football. Isn’t this the most fun way of learning?

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Kick It Out

Racism

In spite of valiant attempts by a number of bodies, and an overall sentiment that it is unacceptable, racism within Football has unfortunately never been fully eradicated. Fortunately instances of racism are becoming less common nowadays, but there are still murmurs in the terraces and whispers on the pitch.

At Little Kickers, we promote equality. Our sessions are inclusive of everyone, no matter what their race, background or gender. Unfortunately, due to the age of the children who attend our classes, there is sometimes a lack of awareness around racial differences because their everyday experiences are still limited, and also it has become such a controversial subject which many people find difficult to address. As a result of their limited exposure to the world, some of our children may have never spoken to a black man or woman, the same as some children may have never seen an Asian or Chinese man or woman. And because of this, there is a lack of understanding about differences in appearance.

At Little Kickers, we understand the importance of educating children in safe and fun surroundings. We also encourage children from different walks of life to get involved in our sessions, and our coaches come from a broad range of races and nationalities. Not only does this result in our sessions being inclusive, but it also encourages children to develop and understanding of cultural and social and physical differences in people. Football is a great tool in breaking down racial and social barriers, as Eusebio once said “Black or white, we all have football under our skin.”

In the same breath, we do not view the primary aim of our classes as breaking down racial barriers – our main objective is to provide kids with a fun introduction to sport. We realise the people we deal with at Little Kickers are more often than not like-minded, and we realise that it is only a small minority within the footballing community that still hold racist views. However, that small minority of people can still have an incredibly damaging effect on the lives of others and, for this reason, Little Kickers has decided to support the Kick It Out campaign (www.kickitout.org). Further details about this campaign can be found on the Little Kickers website.

We hope that through this campaign we can encourage everyone who attends our classes to view each other as individuals with a shared love of football, rather than differentiating people by their physical appearance.
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