Goalies, Opportunities and Catch Ups

I was up early on Sunday. The Champions League final sounded promising. Liverpool has had a wonderful season (much to my chagrin…) and Real Madrid had a wonderful ride into the final, beating the odds against the likes of Pep Guardiola’s might Manchester City (again, much to my chagrin…).

The match started late as there were, apparently, thousands of fans who had bought fake tickets that didnt work on the turnstiles. That clogged up the fans’ entry into the stadium. So instead of the 5am start I had prepared for, the match started at 5.36am (weird timing for sure).

Real Madrid won it, by a single goal. What a game soccer is. 90 minutes and only 1 goal. I have become more accustomed to footy scores, where you’d get either side kicking 2-3 goals per quarter at the very least.

Liverpool has been unlucky. They have now lost two Champions League final against Real Madrid within a few years. I remembered watching Gareth Bale scoring twice against them to win it for Real, back in 2017 or 2018. It was a goalie’s horror show in that game. This time around, the Real goalie was the hero to deny Klopp’s men. A tale of two goalies – a Charlie in 2018 and a mighty hero in 2022, both responsible for thwarting Liverpool.


Later that morning at St Alf’s I was approached by a couple of people. One is to resume doing corporate prayers and the other was an invitation to be part of Sparklit, a Christian NFP that promotes Christian literature, and gives out the Australian Christian Book of the Year Awards. I had been praying for guidance on “what next” in terms of serving etc., for a while now and out of the blue, these invitations popped up. “I’ll pray about it” can sound cliched but it is what I need to do I guess. I have about a week to respond, I think.

Later that evening, I rang my mum. David and Jean had been to Penang so I thought she might want a quick chat on the phone for company. She sounded much more cheerful than the last time I spoke to her a couple of weeks earlier. She commented on Kiddo’s pics on her and Mic’s holidays in the Northern Territory so Tress said to me she must have been following Kiddo’s facebook posts. I guess mum is sort of keeping up with technology and social media, which I tink in this case, is a good thing.

It was really good to see pics of David and Jean in Penang, catching up with Daniel, Nicole and Isaac. One of those pics also had Nicole’s partner, which is a bonus. Seeing pics of people catching up is always heart warming. There will be a couple of catching up’s soon – Kiddo and Mic coming down here and Tress going up to Klang, both in the next month or so. That will be really nice, although for me here alone in Melbourne when Tress will be in Klang, I’m not so sure… It will be terrific for her and her parents so that’s all good.


Little happy days?

A little while ago, Tress said our weekends have been taken up with chores. Our lives feel like they’re just flattening out, with nary a lift to provide anything near an adrenaline rush to take us out of this wheel we run on every day.

To be sure, there’re always little things to lift us, and make those routine days and weeks just a touch more colourful. Small happy things. They come from different sources. Our weekend meals, fun TV shows, dinner parties at friends’ homes, church small group meetings in the Longs’ home, and of course, our two little furry men and their time at the oval and parklands right here in our neighbourhood. Tress makes her regular phone calls with her parents, and I do my cooking. Tress doing her ethereal games and me with youtube tricks and tips. Small things. Small happy things.

Sometimes, they’re a little bigger. When we’re at the MCG for a Hawks’ game, things get a little bigger. The 40,000+ crowds sound smaller than those pre-covid 80,000 ones but they feel big none the less. Even when Hawks didn’t get up. A 4-6 record after Round 10 sounds very ordinary but this is a very young side with a first year senior coach. Sam Mitchell was a superstar player and even with his footy smarts, it is still only a rookie year for him. My favourite Hawks hat was his 300th game with Mitchell #5 embroidered. He’s the one for the rebuild and that makes the 4-6 record more palatable. Especially after a game like yesterday, when they played out a 117-112 win against the Brisbane Lions, which is a top 2 team and a real finals favourite. Games like that make you look forward to 1,2 years from now, when finals should be a real chance again. That’s a bigger lift for our ordinary lives.

Other than the Hawks’ wonderful win, the other thing that happened over the weekend was the younger furry man getting his jabs. His annual vaccs that included kennel cough, were done on Sat. He was quite the trooper and it has been a little over a year since he came to live with us. He’s still a bit of a ratbag but in the nicest possible way.

Oh yeah, there was the election too. We got a new PM now. Albo, aka Anthony Albanese. The ruling coalition got a real shiner and key players lost their seats, including the very likeable, decent and competent Josh Frydenberg. That is a real shame. Labor got up (sort of) and personally, I think this change will be refreshing. Timing risks nothwithstanding – inflation challenges that include deficit funding, China, world supply/economic challenges, etc etc – are all real risks and it feels like Labor will meet these with more heart than head. Still, who am I to fret. Que sera sera. I have my small sources of happiness to sugar coat my days. And the occasional big ones, I guess.

PS: United embarassed itself but stumbled, undeservedly, into the “Europa League”. It did so only because West Ham, managed by Moyes, whom United discarded after less than a year of replacing Ferguson, didn’t manage to win its last game either. So 6th on the table is the final score, and with a gap of some 35 points from Man City, the 2022 winners. They pipped Liverpool by a point, and doing so only in the last 15 mins of the game. Down 0-2 to Gerrard’s Aston Villa until the 75min, they kicked 3 goals before the final whistle to win 3-2 and be crowned champions again, the fourth under Guardiola. United hasn’t had a look-in since Fergie retired in 2013, and it feels like we plumbed it in 2022. Hopefully Ten Hag – the new manager to replace the totally underwhelming Ranick – can do with United what Sam Mitchell is doing with the Hawks.

PPS: I”ve started to dread politics and elections in recent years. Why does Australia make its people go through this unpleasant phase so often? 3 years is far too short a term for governments. When we came here in 2004, John Howard was the PM. Here are the elections I’ve been dragged to the polling booths since:

2007 – Kevin Rudd (“Kevin O’Seven”)

2010 – Julia Gillard (“There will be no carbon tax under a government I lead”)

2013 – Tony Abbott (“Stop the boats”)

2016 – Malcolm Turnbull (Miserable ghost)

2019 – Scott Morrison (I believe in miracles)

2022 – Anthony Albanese (Cash rate? Hang on…)

And these were only the federal elections. Throw in the State and local council ones and one gets the idea…