dimanche, février 25, 2007

07.02.25: Home Field Advantage

Rugby action for the week-end:

- France defeats Wales at Stade de France.

- Ireland defeats England at Croke Park, a stadium with emotionally charged history contre les anglaise. To wit:

o It's the first time a British team will play at the cathedral of Irish nationalism and scene of "Bloody Sunday," the darkest day of Ireland's war of independence. On November 21, 1920, Dublin police and British troops - infuriated by the Irish Republican Army assassination that morning of 14 British spies and associates - retaliated by firing wildly into the Croke Park crowd during a Gaelic football match. They killed 11 spectators and a player, Michael Hogan, while two other people were trampled to death. [http://www.rugbyheaven.smh.com.au]

Home field advantage -- get it when you can.

Last week-end I was in the mid-west, slogging thru the winter ice and snow. Loving every minute of having a fourth season again, and knowing, for me, it would only last 6 days, until the next non-stop back to Europe. In between snow plows, spent some time with Dad.

The locations to find some home field advantage are diminishing for him. He was having some difficulty with his cell phone, not sure which button is hang-up, which button is call. The few angstroms that differentiate between the colors red and green are not obvious to the color-blind, and to remember left vs. right is not so obvious to the early Alzheimer's crowd.

The cell phone ... a great tool for the elderly has become too sophisticated for it's own good.

We went to the Phone Store, you know, run by the local current Ma Bell to look for a simpler phone. Talked to the salesperson, explained we wanted a phone that was just a phone ... you know, no internet surfing, no text messaging, no extra features, just 10 digits, a call and a hang-up button, easily read, easily understood, no significant human memory or sophisticated thought processing required.

She looked at my Dad, my Dad of tall stature, with his long grey hair, his military straight spine, the handsomest man in his neighborhood, not the least bit physically tired, even though he had already swum two miles earlier that day, with his grey-blue eyes that look at you uncomprehendingly if you say a sentence too long. And so she looked at my Dad and she said, in a not overly pleasant nor kind tone of voice, "I'm sorry, sir, but we just don't make phones like that. I guess everything has just gotten too complicated for you." That's what she said. And then she looked at me and said, as though my Dad were no longer there, and she said: "Is there anything else, today?" I don't think I answered.

Dad has lost home-field advantage. Wherever he goes, he doesn't get to hear the home-town crowd, he doesn't stand firm, knowing the turf, knowing which direction the sun will come from, which direction the wind blows in the afternoon, which pub is next door after the game. Every day is an away game. Every away game, the odds are on losing. Every loss, just extends the streak. And he is not very happy about it. This is my take-away.

I live in France. I don't speak no good, very well, you know, that french language. I got no home-field advantage, either. I smile a lot. A lot. Either they think I am an idiot, or that I am happy for no obviously good reason. But I smile and always say please and thank-you. I get a lot of help, because of that.

When you don't have home field, do your homework, play smart.