I visited the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, South Africa, last week and had the strange experience of seeing lots of people walking around the city wearing Celtic strips. I stopped one guy in a shopping mall to ask him, and discovered that the local team is Bloemfontein Celtic, who wear exactly the same strip as the original Glasgow Celtic (who they were named after) apart from a different, though similar, badge.
Back in Jo’burg, I stepped into a taxi to discover the driver was also wearing a Celtic strip. I told him I was a Glasgow Celtic fan, and he turned around to show me that he was in fact wearing a Glasgow Celtic top, although he was a Bloemfontein Celtic fan.
Jackson, the driver, let me have a photo taken with him when he dropped me at the hotel. In a lovely gesture, he held my hand as the photo was taken, a common action denoting friendship and kinship amongst black men in many parts of South Africa
He also told me that the Bloem Celtic supporters regularly win the ‘fans of the year’ award in the South African league. Perhaps, given the appalling scenes of grown men behaving like the spoilt overpaid prats that they are during the recent Old Firm match, Bloemfontein should send some of their fans and their team to show their Scottish peers how to behave on the pitch, at the side of the pitch, and on the terraces!
If you’re a football fan, and you intend to watch some World Cup matches, and you don’t know what a vuvuzela, you soon will. The phrase ‘wall of sound’ is about to get a new meaning!
The sculpture in the photo above by Mark Wessels sits on Cape Town’s infamous ‘bridge to nowhere’, which my colleague Tim Ellis pointed out to me back in February when I visited the city. I don’t think the giant vuvuzela was there at that point — I’m sure I would have noticed it!
Go to the Boston Globe site to see a fantastic collection of photographs heralding the onslaught of a month of international football.
I have spent the past three days in Johannesburg, amongst colleagues and friends who all seem to have tickets for various mouth-watering matches in the month ahead. To make matters worse, I have to fly out on Thursday night, just sixteen hours before the opening match kicks off. Still, I will make it home in time (I hope) to sit back with a beer or two and watch South Africa take on Mexico in the opener to what, I believe, will be one of the best World Cups ever (and that despite Scotland’s absence — the Tartan Army would have had a ball out here!).
I sincerely hope that Bafana Bafana make it past the opening rounds: I have felt the optimism and hope of everyone I have met here that the South African team do their country proud. Whatever happens, I can see that an amazing amount of work has been done to ensure that the country is ready for the hordes of fans descending on them from all over the world (including, for instance, the large party of Mexican fans who were on the same flights as me from Amsterdam to Nairobi and onto Jo’burg on Sunday — they had flown from Mexico City to New York (5 hours?), New York to Amsterdam (8 hours), Amsterdam to Nairobi (8 hours) and Nairobi to Jo’burg (4 hours) — they were exhausted but still willing to talk and looking forward to that key opening match in particular). The progress in basic infrastructure around Johannesburg and Pretoria in the short time since I was last here in February is genuinely astounding.
So, whether you are lucky enough to be attending some of the matches for real or, like me, having to make do with the lesser joys of HDTV, you will find it hard to find a better online and interactive World Cup Calendar than the one you’ll find by clicking the image above. Thanks to my Cisco colleague, James Urquhart, for the link via Twitter. There are versions in English and Spanish.
If you’ve ever wondered how Brazil manages to produce so many brilliantly talented footballers, the answer is in the little piece of video above that I flipped last week!
Kids in Brazil don’t need a real football or a nice pitch — all they need is a convenient space and an object that will serve as a ball. Here, in the José Bonifácio School in the state of Rio, Brazil, I watched as some boys played the beautiful game with nothing more than a couple of plastic cups stuck one inside the other and a tiny section of their school playground as their pitch.
Scotland had great footballers too once, when kids had to play the game with whatever they could find or afford. The tanner ba’ and the street were enough to produce the likes of Jimmy Johnstone and Jim Baxter.
I’ll stop before I start to sound like the old man I’m fast becoming.…
.…the headline is a euphemistic translation, for those who do not like swearie words.…
I listened to the second half on the radio, and by the mid-point of the half, even I, a lifelong Celtic fan, was hoping that Ross County could stick it out. Of course, they did better than that, scoring their second before the end.
Well done, the Staggies! A great win for a deserving club, and a great win for a town that deserves the boost this will give to it.
Can two examples equal a trend? Probably not. But if you type ‘learning log blog’ into google.co.uk, the first two entries that appear are the respective blogs of my good friends, Don Ledingham and Laurie O’Donnell. Neither of them any longer writes just a simple blog. Don started the ‘trend’ by calling his blog, Don’s Learning Log. Now Laurie, persuaded by Don’s compelling argument on the subject, has changed his blog title to Laurie’s Learning Log. And good on them both. Both are immersed in education, and both, like many of us, are passionate about the power of learning to change lives — and their ‘learning logs’ reflect this.
However, I think I will just stick with the simple ‘blog’ nomenclature. On the one hand, I suppose I do use the blog for my own learning — I read, I discuss, I think, I argue and, occasionally, I write something of what I learn on these web pages. On the other hand, my blog is also simply a channel for the odd musing or comment that really does nothing to add to my store of learning, or to anyone else’s for that matter. I enjoy, certainly, feeling that I am part of a broad community of people who are willing to share their thoughts by this particular means, willing to open themselves up to comment and criticism and to hustle and tussle with the ebb and flow of ideas that swirls around in the blogosphere. But, taking one of Don’s arguments for using the ‘learning log’ title, I do not feel that I bring any particular sense of discipline to my blogging, nor, for that matter, do I consider my blog an educational blog (or ‘edublog’, to use that slightly ungainly, but much liked, term).
Indeed, I have been taken to task (kindly, I should say) on more than one occasion for not sticking to my ‘core competencies’ of education and ICT in my blogging — but frankly, my dear (as someone once said) I don’t give a damn I enjoy hugely having this simple outlet to write about pretty much anything that comes to mind, anything that strikes me as interesting and worth sharing. So I write about education and technology (still the staples, I guess), but I also like to write about the media, the Web, politics, philosophy, economics, business, globalization, science, logic, sport, humour, books, religion, and so on. And, of course, I have my little travel blog to store the occasional thoughts and images from my sojourns in various airts and pairts around the globe. My blogging, like me, I guess, is a little messy, a little unsophisticated and highly undisciplined!
So, I wish Don and Laurie well, and I am sure that Don’s term will be picked up and used by others as well to describe their efforts, but I will continue to be boring and stick to this lowly, cluttered, indisciplined, mongrel of a critter that I’m happy to continue to call a blog.