Do you glue your football boots?

It was about six or seven years ago and it was one of those days where the sun shines so brightly that you think it might just last forever.

I was in my 2nd year at University and, along with a rag-tag team of friends, was participating in a charity 6-aside football tournament.

Somewhere towards the start of the event I noticed that an acquaintance of mine (playing for another team) was doing something a bit weird between the games.

Every time there was a stoppage in play, I looked over and – if he wasn’t playing – he’d be doing it.

He had a small tube of something that looked like either glue or paint. He’d then pour a small amount of it onto a piece of cloth and wipe it on the front of his boots.

What the hell was he doing?

As it turned out, when I asked him later on, he was applying glue to his boots.

A ‘special type of glue’ that he’d created.

One that was supposed to allow him to keep control of the football easier.

Of course, he’d overlooked the fact that it would be really hard to kick a ball that was stuck to his boot.

It didn’t work at all. As you probably expected.

And this was from a guy who ended up graduating with a first degree in Architecture.

He’d just got himself so wrapped up in his theory that he’d failed to see how ridiculous it was.

And, that’s easy to do. It’s great to think in a very ‘blue skies’ manner – but the most successful creatives should always keep in touch with their inner realist.

Unless you’re an abstract painter, I suppose.

Sports, marketing & moolah: is everyone a winner?

 

At around 9PM yesterday evening the eyes of the world were fixed on the glitzy smorgasbord of sin that is Las Vegas.

In perhaps the most hyped up boxing match of our lives Floyd Mayweather took on Conor McGregor.

The media had been building it up for weeks and weeks. Both fighters were very high profile and very outspoken – meaning that there was constant content to be harvested. A sports editor’s dream.

Boxing has always been full of big characters and drama – it relies on promotion, so mountains are made out of molehills as much as possible.

But there was something unique about the fight.

Floyd Mayweather has been called the best boxer of his generation, and as he has now retired with 50 wins and no losses, you could argue that that’s fair comment.

However his opponent, Conor McGregor, wasn’t an actual boxer. He’d never competitively fought in a boxing ring – yet he’d called out Mayweather, and Mayweather had answered.

Crazy isn’t it? Most people would go out of their way to avoid clashing with an unbeaten professional boxer.

But, not McGregor.

He was a professional MMA fighter, which is very different to boxing.

But, there he was!

Calling Mayweather out and telling anyone who would listen that he’d beat him.

The media lapped it up. Crazy headlines all round. Some even told us that medical experts had warned McGregor, telling him not to compete for the sake of his health.

None of it stopped him.

He managed to last ten rounds but eventually Mayweather clinched it. Much to the relief of the bookies.

Both men survived and then went their separate ways. McGregor back to his native Ireland, and Mayweather to enjoy his retirement.

McGregor lost. Technically. But he also pocketed $30 million for the fight (with Mayweather taking away $100).

cash

Previously the most McGregor had ever won was $3 million. Now he can times that by ten. So, really, neither man lost. Or at least not in a coventional sense.

I mean, would you feel defeated if you received 30 million dollars after a really bad day at the office?

Is money in sport (and other big industries) changing the meaning of the word loss?

Sure, McGregor maybe disappointed that he didn’t win (that is if he ACTUALLY believed he would), but just imagine what he can do with that 30 million.

Mayweather said after the fight: “If I see an opportunity to make $300m in 36 minutes, why not? I had to do it.”

That says it all, it was a fight made from marketing more than anything else. Yet people bought into it, they paid to see it and they betted on it. All of them clinging on to the slight hope that this underdog might just prevail.

Back in the day I used to captain a six-a-side football team in a Sunday league. Each week we paid a few quid to play. On many of those weeks we lost.

It built character and comradeship between us, and each week we’d come back with a new determination.

I wonder if we’d have been quite so bothered by a loss if we received a big cash injection afterwards. As we were students back then, I highly doubt it…

Take professional footballers for example, imagine if they were only paid for the games they won – how different do you think things would be?

 

What could you learn from Wayne Rooney?

As a football fan it’s taken me a long time to like Wayne Rooney.

And, truth be told, I’m still not quite there.

He played many a game Manchester United and, as an Arsenal fan, they’re not a team that I like.

However, at 31 years of age, he’s now gone back to his boyhood club, Everton. I feel I can like him more, at least until he next plays Arsenal – he always seems to score against us.

But this post isn’t really about football.

It’s about a decision Rooney made today (23/08/17).

He decided to step down from international football – which was a difficult decision for him, he’s England record goal scorer with 53 strikes to his name!

But, what I admire about this decision, is that he decided to quit while he was on top and focus his attention on his main job – playing for his club.

england_1500127c

(photo: the telegraph)

Sure he could have played for a few more years. But, he’s getting old and there’s only a certain amount of time within which you can stretch yourself over different platforms before you start getting injured or tired.

Now he can do what he loves for the club he loves with no other distractions and no other pressures.

His career will likely last longer as a result.

It’s something we can all bear in mind – an example we can learn from, sometimes it’s worth taking away some of our side jobs to work towards your most important goal.

A case of essentialising.

Now of course representing your country at a sport is a great honour, and one that not many of us have.

But what a lot of us do have are other distractions and side jobs that take up our time and, most importantly, our focus.

How often have you stopped to think to yourself something like – ‘I’ve got enough on today and yet I still need to do….’ or how often have you found yourself agreeing to something, and then realising (somewhat too late) just how much of your valuable work or leisure time it’ll suck up?

Sometimes it’s better to quit these things while you’re ahead, before they just get in the way and do you more harm than good.

After all, the further you stretch yourself, the thinner you spread yourself.

Check out Essentialism by Greg McKeown – it’ll change your life.

Pele & Enthusiasm

“Enthusiasm is everything. It must be taut and vibrating like a guitar string”.

– Pele.

How’s that for a nice simple quote? And so true, as well. I’ve met very few inspiring or successful people who weren’t enthusiastic – how many have you met?

It reminds me of a phone call I had with my uncle in the USA not too long ago. We were talking about the course I was studying at the time – Journalism – and he said something really simple that left an impact.

Sometimes, when you reflect on things, the quotes that stick with you the longest are the simplest.

We were basically talking about the people on my course and who would do well. And he told me that those who tried the hardest, those who were the most enthusiastic, would do the best. And that it was like that with many things in life.

He was right.

I  mean – it’s obvious isn’t it, really?

If you try hard and if you’re enthusiastic about something you’re good at you’ll do well…

It’s really obvious.

But then my question is, to so many creatives out there, you know you’re good…why aren’t you maximising that to do well at what you love? Life is a game and you have to milk the gifts you get.

I know and have met too many talented people who don’t give themselves the shot they deserve. I know this whole post seems obvious, but sometimes in their day-to-day people forget the obvious and they need reminding!

Oh…and here’s Pele being good at stuff…

Learn about your idols.

A different type of creativity to what I usually talk to you about. But, creativity all the same.

Growing up as an Arsenal fan in the late 1990s there was no player who I admired more than Dennis Bergkamp.

Whether it was dribbling the ball past players, scoring incredible goals or pulling out match-winning bits of skill, Bergkamp had it all.

By that age I was sure I’d never be a professional footballer (I was right), but I remember remarking to myself that I hoped to be as good at whatever I do as he was at football.

I’m still trying.

But it pays to have heroes, and it’s worth reminding yourself that you can spread those who inspire you far and wide.

They don’t all have to be writers or artists, or whatever field it is that you do.

Inspiration is a rare thing to find – learn about your idols when you can. I recently ordered the most relevant book on Bergkamp to find out more about what made the legend.

Unless you can get Beyonce to sing halfway through your story…

In yesterday’s post I touched on the subject of sport, and I kept on thinking about it afterwards.

If the statistics that a quick Google search have given me are to be believed…and, let’s face it, in this world of ‘alternative facts’ you never know…association football is the most popular sport in the world. With a whopping 3.5 billion fans spread across the globe!

I’m happy to admit that I’m in that number. 

One of the things that I’ve noticed about football, which sets it apart from many other sports, is that it’s a fast-paced, free-flowing game. Asides from a fifteen minute break between halves the action is nearly continuous – only ever broken up by the occasional free-kick, throw-in or injury.

That makes it fairly easy to watch and it means that, unless it’s an incredibly boring game, it’s harder for the average viewer to get distracted. I’ve tried to watch sports such as cricket or American football before and I’ve never found myself as involved. The pace of cricket can be slow and a match can often last a very, very long time – I’m stumped as to why anyone can actually like it! When it comes to American football, my lasting impression is that a game seems to have more stoppages than national rail!

I find that this is something that I can attribute to my writing. I won’t lie to you, as an up and coming writer I’m looking to write for a wide target audience right now and will continue to do so until I make my name.

Any marketer worth their salt will tell you that the average Joe (or Jane) has a short attention span, so when they’re reading a story the action and the dialogue needs to have a zip and a zing to it or else their readership will soon decide to put the book down and go back to their busy lives…or at least update their Facebook statuses and find the right Instagram filter for their next meal.

So, the lesson for you and I today, is to find a flow to the action of the story and once we find it – we need to make sure that we keep it going. We should only break for long, drawn-out paragraphs of self introspection when we really have to.

Although having said that, if anyone can make their novel like the Superbowl and have Beyonce singing halfway through, that will probably work too…so don’t fully rule other sports out!

Congrats to anyone who can correctly recognise the guy in this blog’s featured image.