For those of you who read last week’s post, “Looking Forward to Sunday,” well, Sunday has come and gone. My two sons, Jake and Will and I went to the game between the Miami Dolphins and the Jacksonville Jaguars at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. The journeys to and from the game were the collective journeys from hell with the bus getting into London two hours late, so we got to the stadium just in time. After the game, if our bus back to Cardiff hadn’t been delayed for an hour, we would have missed it because of the sheer volume of pedestrians making their way to the London Under ground. However, we all did enjoy the game and that was in spite of Jake’s Dolphins being on the losing end of the final score. He put the loss down to a poor gambling decision by the coach and he had some consolation in the fact that his favourite player, wide receiver Mike Gesicki, turned in a great performance with eight receptions for 152 yards.
For the entire thirty-five years I have been living in the UK, I have heard many a British person say that American football is not popular in the UK. After this past Sunday, I can say that American football is definitely popular in the UK. I knew this from this and previous attempts to buy tickets for games. When I got online to buy my tickets, there were 29,748 people ahead of me. After waiting a half hour before ticket sales and then an additional forty minutes for my turn, I couldn’t buy three tickets together. Therefore, my sons and I watched the game from three different seating locations in the stadium.
This brings me to my next point, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was full to capacity with an attendance of 60,784 people. You don’t get nearly that many at a lot of English soccer games. In fact, I couldn’t see one empty seat in the entire stadium. Furthermore, the entire area around the stadium all the way to the underground stop which was a half hour’s walk away, there were people involved with the game. Stewards, merchandise sellers and others all contributing the spirit of American Football.
Now, I know that there will still be naysayers who will say that this post doesn’t prove anything and I’m sure they will try to rush out statistics of their own. In many cases, it will be from those small minority of Brits who hate everything about America. However, I know what I saw on Sunday and I can say that American football has found a true home in the United Kingdom. I am now going to show photos from the game and let me know if you find any empty seats.
Sunday I will be finally be doing something I’ve never done in the sixty years I’ve been on the planet, I’m going to a live NFL game between the Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars in London. My eldest son, Jake, is a big Dolphins fan. Many people assume because I grew up in the US, I had to have gone to at least one, I haven’t. I’ve been to other professional American football games, two USFL games back in the 1980s, a World League game and an NFL Europe game but never an NFL game. It was one of those things I was always meaning to do but never actually got around to it. So now, I’m finally getting my chance.
My getting the tickets wasn’t without some anxious moments. First, when I went online to purchase them, there were 29,748 people ahead of me. That was in spite of getting in line literally one minute after the sales were officially open. I had to wait nearly an hour and by the time my turn came, I could no longer get three tickets together. Therefore, my sons and I are sitting in three different sections. They aren’t bothered as they still get to see the game.
This evening tested my Asperger’s mind to the limit. I was emailed the tickets with instructions on how to download them to my cell phone. I followed the instructions but when I got to the final step, an error occurred each time. I had help from two of my step-daughters but the problem wasn’t solved. The anxiety levels rose and even though there is five days before the game, I went into panic mode that modern technology was going to prevent me from seeing the game. There was lots of swearing as a result. Fortunately, I emailed the other two tickets to my sons and I was able to phone Jake who came to my rescue. He found what was wrong and I was able to get the tickets to my phone, so I’m all set.
However, the anxiety hasn’t all gone away. We have to catch a bus in Cardiff at 7AM to get to London. I’ll be staying at my daughter Rowena’s place on the Saturday night and I worry that I won’t get up in time or that there will be something to delay me on the road or my car will break down even though I had it checked out last week. Yes, I probably need a slap.
Well, all I can do is say wish me luck and I will let you know how everything went as this has all inspired a post for next week.
I knew when I was writing my last post, “Clearing My Mind of Trash,” that there was another reason why I didn’t go to the union when certain militant colleagues said I should because the company was victimizing me. It just slipped my mind the other evening. A few months after I got the promotion, a contract dispute arose between the company and union. During one union meeting, a hotheaded militant stated that we should all clock out right then and go home. He had support among some of his cronies. However, I didn’t think going on strike at the time was the right strategy. Work was slow, we were in August and already filling Christmas orders. Therefore, I thought that the company would have loved for us to go on strike because they wouldn’t have to pay us. I thought the best course of action would have been a ‘work to rule.’ As a result, I voted against the motion as did so many others because it was defeated.
Here’s the thing, I think that if I had gone to the union about the promotion, it would have been used by the militants to cajole me into voting their way. In my mind, I could hear the main hothead saying to me, “If it wasn’t for the union, you’d still be sweeping the floor.” With my Asperger’s mind, I would have allowed that guilt trip to persuade me to vote against my conscience. So in the end, I am glad that I never went to the union in the first place.
Throughout my life and it seems even more so in recent years, I have had problems with intrusive thoughts. Most of these intrusive thoughts are a result of bullying I suffered when I was younger and in many of those thoughts, I change the outcome of the particular scenario but the thoughts can still make me angry. However, I’m not going to talk about that here.
What I am going to talk about happened over thirty years ago when I worked in a factory in London. I started there as a cleaner and on several occasions, I was knocked back when attempting to advance. I had this one friend who was a bit of a Trotskyite militant who kept trying to get me to appeal to the union. I didn’t do so for several reasons, one of which was directly to do with him. I once semi-joked that the union could go on strike for me, to which he responded, “I wouldn’t do that.” I thought, “What a hypocrite!” Here he is trying to get me to go to the union but wouldn’t do anything in support of that. If it were the other way around and I gave such advice and the union called everyone out on strike, I would have been the first to down tools and walk out. That is an issue with self-styled Marxists. They are quick to stir the pot as long as it doesn’t effect them.
Another reason was that it was the late 1980s and it was an American owned company. Thinking of American working practices and the busting of unions by the Reagan Administration, I believed that going to the union might have gotten me promoted but then when it all blew over six months later, they would have made me redundant saying they need to cut back on that position. Someone might have even chided that if I hadn’t gone to the union and bitched about promotion, I would still have a job. Believe me, that happened a lot in 80s Reagan America.
To make a long story short, I was eventually promoted. However, in the first week of my new job, while I was eating my lunch, the shop steward passed by, stopped and asked, “You’re a filler now, aren’t you?” It turned out, if I had appealed to the union, the company wouldn’t have had a leg to stand on and I would have been promoted sooner. This is what led to the intrusive thoughts about it over the years. That maybe I should have gone to the union and I found myself running scenarios through my mind as to what happened if I had. Therefore, to clear my mind, hopefully once and for all, of this, I will now list the not positive points of what might have happened if I had gone to the union.
I would have been known as ‘the guy who only got promoted on account of the union.’ There might have been resentment towards me from the top because I brought the union in and those in higher places might have looked down on me on account of it.
Anyone could have said, “It’s only because of the union he’s not a cleaner anymore.” Some might believe that I didn’t get the promotion on my own merit but only on a union directive and therefore, never deserved the promotion. That might have included people who were in full support of me moving up when I was a cleaner.
I was going to be made the next filler anyway. Yes, I probably was but it would have been twisted around that I never needed to go to the union. Some could say that my actions were unnecessary.
Three years later, I moved out of London and sought work in my new home. When checking for a reference, my old company could have said that I only got promoted because I went to the union. Some would be employers might see me as some sort of militant troublemaker.
The main reason I want to shed these thoughts is the fact that working at the factory thirty years ago no longer effects me. I am a teacher and I have a great job, so in the long run, it doesn’t matter. I know I shouldn’t spend once brain cell thinking about it but with my mind, that’s easier said than done. I hope that this post will clear that rubbish from my mind.
The title should be self explanatory and for the most part it is, but there is more to it. I know this from my own experiences and did cover it in my book, “He Was Weird.” It was especially the case during my three year bullying nightmare but there was an instance in later life too. Bullies will go after the easiest target, even when the target might have not had anything to do with whatever fired up the bully’s anger. If there is an easier alternative, the bully will go for that.
In “He Was Weird,” the target, Mark, had a so-called friend named Gene Lancaster. In the story, Gene would mouth off to people and then run away and leave Mark to catch the person’s wrath. Sometimes, Gene didn’t even have to run, those people would go after Mark anyway because he was the easier target. I actually had a friend like this and there were many instances where I would take the brunt of someone’s wrath who this so-called friend mouthed off to. There were even instances when I wasn’t present at the time, but the bully would eventually use me to take his wrath out on. Plus, they would ignore any reminders from me that I had nothing to do with whatever incurred his wrath. I was there so I became the target.
There were also cases where another person was involved and the same thing happened. One time, the person who influenced my creation of the Gene character took some kid’s hat and began throwing it around. He threw it to me once and I threw it back to Gene but it landed in a puddle. First, the kid told the teacher that I took his hat, I didn’t. Then the kid’s brother threatened me with violence over it, again impervious to the fact that I didn’t take the hat. Here’s where it gets interesting. The brother stated the he looked after his brother. I wish I was a quick thinker at the time because I could have pointed out that another boy was constantly picking on his brother and making his life a misery all through the school year. I could of asked, “How come you’re not going after him?” Today, I know the answer, it is because bullies will always go after the easiest target.
It didn’t happen in “He Was Weird,” but when I was in the service. It seemed that the African Americans in my unit targeted me but ignored the redneck mountain boy from West Virginia who openly stated he was in the Klu Klux Klan and it was said that at one clan meeting, did a rather horrible thing with a broom handle to a young black girl. Still, while they nicknamed this redneck, ‘The Grand Dragon,’ they never seemed to bother him. The reason why, it was because the redneck was able to stand up for himself and was quite good with his fists. This left my Asperger’s mind to conclude that as long as you can stand up for yourself and use your fists, you can belong to an organization that spouts race hate. As a result, I developed racist feelings on the grounds that African Americans go after the wrong white people.
Some people believe that the notion bullies are cowards is a myth but in this particular scenario, it is definite fact! Anyone who will take out their frustration at a perceived grievance on someone who may not have been involved in that grievance because it is easier to take it out on that person is a coward, plain and simple.
Before I quote the lyrics, I would like to genuinely offer my thoughts and prayers to the students at a university in Perm, Russia. Yesterday, a gunman entered the university and opened fire on students. At the moment, the casualty count is 6 dead and 28 wounded, although only 19 of these were reported to have been treated for gunshot wounds. The causes of the other injuries haven’t been stated.
Now, I’m going to have another rant at the fact that I had to stumble upon this news on my Google Alerts. There was little to no reporting of this shooting in any UK newspaper on news channel. You can bet if this had happened in the USA, the people of Britain would have been bombarded with the same old hype of gun wielding Yanks and the like. It does p*** me off a little. Therefore, I am asking everyone to spare their thoughts and prayers for the people of Perm, Russia in the wake of this tragedy.