Saturday, May 31, 2014

It's only love and that is all (The Beatles)

Our passions can define us. 

"It's only every four years", says I to SWMBO every time the FIFA World Cup rolls around and her exasperation grows as I continue my quest to watch every game live and fill in my mega wall chart of results.

It's sad but true - my life has been partly defined by the culmination of joy that is the World Cup every four years.

1967: Representing Auckland aged 10.
The Olympics? Euros? Yeah - they're nice but nothing comes close to the feelings I get from the World Cup.

In rugby the mighty All Blacks will smash England over the next few weeks, the French Open tennis will reach its conclusion, the NBA playoffs will be done and dusted, and I'm pretty sure the NHL's Stanley Cup will play out soon as well.

Yeah they'll be fun but the World Cup is the ultimate sporting endeavour on Planet Earth!!

As I write this post (the first day of winter in New Zealand) I'm watching The Netherlands play Ghana, two weeks out from the start of the World Cup. It's a meaningless friendly but I'm hooked! 

1969: Eden F.C.  'A' Grade Championship winners
(top right with the bowl cut - cheers mum)
I generally love the way the Dutch play football and I'm keen to access their form (if you're interested - Robin missed a sitter and the Dutch flattered to deceive. On that form they won't be troubling anyone!)

It's only love.

My love affair with football started when I was four years old. That's a 52 year old affair and counting.

My parents took me down to our local football club when I was four. I had nagged them hard enough to get my way.

1986: League Champions (played 13, won 13)
(Second from left, middle row with trendy eighties cut
- cheers SWMBO)
Seymour Park was the place and Eden A.F.C. the club. We lived a couple of streets away at the time and I distinctly remember making those early Saturday morning walks to the fields on my own, dressed in my Eden colours - my grandmother had knitted me a black and gold jersey and I loved it! 

I was highly motivated to play the beautiful game. Even if it was in Royal Oak, Auckland rather than the favelas of Brazil.

My mum had bought me the smallest pair of soccer boots she could and a couple of pairs of socks to fill them out and I was off.

I was pretty good too, for a four year old. 

I remember very clearly playing games at Seymour Park as a midget. I was a defender from the start. I guess we did that midget follow-the-ball-at-all-costs tactical manoeuvre but I quickly gravitated to the left back position and made it my own.

At age group levels I was the best left back in Auckland up to the age of 19.

When I left Mt Albert Grammar after three years in the first XI (the last as captain) I drifted away from football during my five years at University, until starting life as a teacher at New Plymouth Boys' High School.

There I was able to be a player coach as the first XI played in a men's grade. When we moved back to Auckland in 1986 I rejoined Eden F.C. and played senior football. SWMBO, Keegan, Adam and I lived in Windmill Road, Mt Eden - one street away from the training ground at Disraeli Street. Perfect!

My competitive playing days ended when we moved to Nelson in 1990, but I continued to play socially, coached girls' and boys' teams and watched Keegan, Adam and later Samantha play football.

The knees have taken a pounding over the last 52 years so these days I am content to just run around like an idiot with my Woodford House Senior XI on training days.

Two weeks to go. Oh baby!!

This weblog began seven years ago - on June 30, 2008, so I've only had one previous World Cup to report on. I can't wait!

Love and peace - Wozza

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