#cardiffhalf

10am this morning I can hear cheering, the runners from the Cardiff Half Marathon are making their way up my road.  These are the first of 18,000 to make their way round the 13 mile course laid out for them on the streets of Cardiff.   It was like the Olympics had come again – Just this time I had a front seat.

I was tired just watching them, its lucky my house was just there, I was able to cook my breakfast and brew a trusty cup of tea to keep me going!  We tried desperately to cheer on everyone, but people just kept on coming.  After a while we had to make the executive decision to start cheering for those in costumes, I can’t remember how many gorrillas, Batmen, Robins, Spidermen, Bannanas, Kermit the Frogs etc etc I’ve seen this morning. Just so many, but for so many good causes. Well done to  all who ran! Amazing achievement!

#cardiffhalf

Race entries for 2013 have opened http://www.cardiffhalfmarathon.co.uk/

Follow me on twitter: @LucyBarclay1

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Disabled or just differently abled?

Apologies for the long gap between this and my last post, life suddenly took over!  A bit out of date but I think still relevant.  An article I wrote for newspaper on whether the Paralympics will have any lasting impact on people’s perception of the disabled.  As always, feel free to comment!

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“I do not deny that Paralympians have shown us all what can be achievable in the face of extreme adversity.

I do not deny that they have the potential to become heroes and an inspiration to us all.  But as the glamour of the games quickly fades away, the long entrenched prejudices and perceptions of the disabled remain.  This cannot be altered in just eleven days – fact.

One could argue perhaps callously that by holding the games at all only serves to widen the gap between the abled and the disabled.  Why?  We do not see the accomplishments of these Paralympians in terms of just achievement.  A fact of course which does not hold true for the Olympic games.  We see these athletes as amazing because of their disability – ‘oh look what he did even though he’s in a wheelchair’.  In my mind this does not alter perceptions, it merely reinforces the idea that these athletes are disabled. In order to make true leaps towards altering perceptions we must see people in terms of ability not disability.  The Paralympics while of course emphasising achievement in the face of adversity inadvertently emphasises achievement because of adversity.

An unfortunate irony of the London 2012 Paralympics is that London itself is not truly accessible to the disabled.  Try being a wheelchair user and attempting to use the tube for example.  This of course is one of many more pressing concerns for disabled people.  To broadcast eleven days of Paralympic sporting achievement, whilst I hope proves to be an inspiration to many, puts the interest of an elite minority above the concerns of the majority.  11 days of sporting achievement does not change the reality for many disabled people.  The Paralympics does not articulate the emotional effects of disability in its more negative forms, nor does it articulate the real concerns of many disabled people facing day to day tasks.

Disabled people are facing the terrifying prospect of 20% government cuts, should the coalition push ahead with plans to abolish the Independent Living Fund in 2015.  With this in mind I find it hard to believe becoming a Paralympian is top of the agenda for many. And in that respect, no the Paralympics will not, in my opinion having any lasting impact on people’s perception and approach to the disabled.”

Follow me on twitter: @LucyBarclay1

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Olympics Hype, You’ve Got Me (Unconventionally)

Me, a non-sports fan, have suddenly found myself swept up in the London 2012 hype.  Why?  Well my feelings towards it prior to yesterday were fairly nonchalant: I didn’t really see why people were excited but equally didn’t understand the people moaning.  But yesterday I travelled to London for the launch party of the online TV channel I’ve been working on, it just so happened that the launch was at Marble Arch.  As I approached said location the torch was apparently going to be ‘travelling’ through there.  And for me it was not so much the seeing of the torch that got me thinking.  In fact I didn’t manage to catch a glimpse!  It was more the atmosphere, everyone around me was excited and talking about the games.  You couldn’t move for the people around you and I realised that this was something bringing everyone together.

London 2012 Tower Bridge

As I said I’m not in it for the sport. I’m not particularly riveted by the fact that Usain Bolt may run the 100 metres in 9 seconds (if I blink I might miss it), nor am excited by the thought of watching people on bikes cycle round really fast in circular dome.  But that aside while I don’t enjoy the sport itself, I do enjoy watching an athlete’s reaction upon winning and achieving their goal.  It’s not the physical feat that I get excited about, I’m not interested in the world records or medals themselves, but watching someone achieving what they have worked so hard for.  (And I don’t like to admit it) That is one of the things I do find inspiring about sport.

Some things will be unmissable.  I’m excited to see Oscar Pistorius run for the South African team.  He of course has been nicknamed the fastest man on no legs.  This is a man that has overcome massive adversity to fulfil his dreams.  I for one hope he wins!

And of course the other thing I’m excited about is the opening ceremony.  I felt the atmosphere in London yesterday and know that it will continue to be incredible.  I just want to see what London can do!

Oscar Pistorious aka Fastest Man on No Legs

Maybe this time Boris Johnson will succeed in waving the British flag properly: well we can always hope …

 Follow me on twitter: @LucyBarclay1 

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Arm Chair Football Punditry – ‘If they’d have followed our advice, they’d be winning 8 nil by now!’

I will start this post with an explanation as why I have been away for so long.  My university exam season took hold, the time of year when I lock myself away, see no one and become an obsessed maniacal revision fiend.  However I am now finished, out of hiding and ready to pass my opinions.

Now for my return post – my victim is Euro 2012 – a four yearly footballing championship.  A championship that the fans among us will become convinced England have a chance at the title.  The media – television, radio, newspapers, special Euro 2012 features etc etc will all fuel this dream.  Why? Because England won the world cup in 1966!  In the commentary from Ukraine vs England, England qualify for the quarter finals and are ‘unbeaten and unbreakable.’  A fairly OTT assessment of a 1-1 draw with France, a fairly sketchy 3-2 win against Sweden and a slightly improved 1-0 against Ukraine.  But perhaps I’m just being negative.

The armchair football expert

Now I will not lie, I will enjoy Euro 2012 as much as I can.  I will hope England will do well.  I might even get excited (to an extent).  But I will not climb on the ‘rampant optimism’ band wagon.  Rather than get overly excited and eventually sinking into a state of depression when England manage to clutch defeat from the jaws of victory, I prefer to watch and observe the behaviour of menfolk.  Now this may be a sweeping generalisation but my male counterparts seem to, now that Euro 2012 is upon us, have become footballing experts – all believing themselves to be the next England manager.  In fact, they appear to believe themselves to be better than the current manager himself.  Although don’t get your hopes up boys, you won’t see ‘England manager’ pop up on the guardian jobs website any time soon.

Exhibit A – the brother.  Normally a minor football follower, supporter of Liverpool FC but only to support someone, prefers cricket.  However now Euro 2012 has come round, this minor football fan has become something of a football pundit – in his mind at least.  Comments during England vs. Ukraine have included ‘if we are to persist with route one football, we need someone who is good in the air – bring on Andy Carroll’ and ‘he’s never going to beat Hart from that range’.  What?  Now when I last checked my younger brother was NOT a football pundit, commentator, expert etc.  However he seems to have assumed this role since the beginning of this tournament.   I can only conclude he will get worse if England are to progress past the group stage.

Euro 2012

This does however lead me onto my next rant!  Why do football fans (or any other sports fans for that matter) insist on using the term ‘we’ – ‘we’re going to score’, ‘Looks like we’re going to cash in here’,  ‘we are looking poor up front’ etc.   May I point out that just because one chooses to wear an England shirt, does NOT mean you are on the team.  WE ARE English but WE ARE NOT England!  But that rant over, I shall move on to exhibit B.

The father.  Now this man becoming an expert is even more ridiculous than the brother.  This is a man who, as rule despises club football, claiming it to be boring.  This is also a man who has been known on several occasions to fall asleep, chin on chest, during England internationals.  Therefore for this man to suddenly don the crown of ‘football extraordinaire’ during big championships is absurd.  Yet without knowledge, or much genuine interest in the sport, the commentary emanating from his prime seat on the sofa is interesting to say the least.  Remarks have included ‘all of my comments have been erudite and well informed’, ‘terrible goalkeeping’ and ‘even I would have headed in Rooney’s first chance’.  A true football pundit?  The new England manager perhaps?  Well if you can be an expert after watching one match, sitting on the sofa, I suppose anything is possible.

Rooney euro 2012

And finally the worst culprit – the boyfriend.  I will give him credit though where credit is due, he does know a lot about football and sport in general.  An avid follower of Newcastle United, with knowledge of every football player, championship and result – however even with his knowledge, he still is not England manager.  I think he forgets that playing football manager on his laptop and FIFA on playstation does not constitute work experience.  This armchair England manager is worst of all, with the constant spouting of statistics.

I hope England win, I really do, but if not, at least I’ve been entertained not necessarily by the football, but by my armchair football pundits!

 Follow me on twitter: @LucyBarclay1

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100 days to go …

I woke up this morning only to be greeted by an email on my phone that told me there are a mere one hundred days until the London Olympics.  Now I’m not exactly a sports fan, so god only knows why I receive such emails.  I can’t think of anything less fun than sitting watching someone run round and round a track or even worse throw a pole with point on the end as far as they can.

London 2012, only 100 days to go!

But don’t get me wrong, I have no complaint about the Olympics being in London … apart from maybe that god awful kit designed by Stella McCartney.  I’m not sure a ‘sharp and contemporary’ kit is going to help the medal situation.  Especially when Usain Bolt said today he wants to run 100 metres in 9.4 seconds!!

Not sure about the crotch patches Stella!

Now that is just insane Usain!!

When I read that I started to fantasize about being able to move that fast myself.  A gym session might pass quicker – maximum calories burned, in minimum time.  What if I could get everything done that fast? If I could read a book in just 9.4 seconds, I’d never be behind on uni work again!  Oh the possibilities …

But back to the Olympics.  Despite not being a sports fan, I think the games could be great.  I know there are people that say ‘what a waste of money!’ etc etc.  Maybe that’s true, but how many events can create universal interest and excitement? How many events can bring so many people together? And how many events do you know of that have their own countdown timer in Trafalgar Square for god’s sake?

Only 100 days to go …

So even as a complete non-sports fan: I have say I might be a tiny bit excited about the Olympics.  Not for the sports, I can think of nothing worse, but just the sheer scale of the event.  Just the atmosphere it will create.

But shhh, don’t tell anyone!

 Follow me on twitter: @LucyBarclay1

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