Sunday, November 10, 2013

Different worlds

I suppose I live in two places. I spend much more time in Greece since my retirement. After a brief trip for some warm autumn weather and wrestling with Greek bureaucracy, I got back to the chill of Manchester. Living these lives is rather like having two coats. One is sumptuous, warm and attractive. It fits well, even if it rubs in places. The other is old, shabby and lets in the cold. But it has these useful little pockets and is so familiar that I can't quite bring myself to throw it away. This week I have been dressed scruffily. Never more so than in enjoying the Rugby League World Cup.

The success of the tournament has been ensured by a surprising outbreak of sanity by the organisers. The matches have been played at the right venues at the right times and at the right price. It has been marketed well and there has been much community involvement with amateur choirs singing at all events and local schools participating in pre-match events. Big crowds have resulted. I was at a full house in Leigh to watch terrifying South Sea Island tackling as Tonga took on the Cook Islands. The Cook Islands may even have won their first ever World Cup game if it had not been for two strange mistakes - playing the ball facing the wrong way and throwing the ball away over the line.

Then to Salford's new, poorly situated stadium, wearing my Swinton shirt of course, to watch the USA lose to Scotland. What a lovely unpretentious sport it is. And that was brought home by the sad death of Steve Prescott. He would have been remembered simply as a good player if it had not been for cancer. The diagnosis spurred him on to defying his prognosis and plunging into formidable acts of fundraising, setting up his own Steve Prescott Foundation. There will be tributes at every game and all of them will be wholehearted.

Urban Northern England seems a long way from Pelion in rural Greece, but it has its own charms. I suppose two coats suit me at the moment until one finally wears out.


Will said...

would like to be watching this over here but Murdoch the crime gang leader owns all of the meedia and telly 'rights' so no can do.

The Plump said...

Illegal streaming is your friend. Most matches are being shown on a small pay-per-view site, Premier Sports, so I am missing loads. The BBC are carrying England games and the semi-finals and finals. At least I get to go to the matches.