Hard to Understand 

So I have always maintained that I would keep this blog non political and not voice to many opinions on stuff I am only learning to understand. I have been in the USA now 8 months and even though I knew of certain mass shootings from news coverage back home in Ireland it is a bit surreal when they happen in the country I now reside in. 

As always there are at least 2 sides to every discussion and I am not going to get involved here about the gun ownership laws of the country I am only new in. But as someone who lived in Ireland and worked on the railway doing the Dublin – Belfast route during the Troubles in Northern Ireland I do have a certain perspective of evil things that people can do. Add in my brief overseas service with the Defence Forces in war torn countries and you can get an idea of what bad things people can do to each other. 

In all of that I met numerous people who were closely affected by what went on around them and they steadfastly refused to be dragged down and it was over time that this thought process eventually won the day. Now how does America approach that? Well first is maybe to recognise that bad people do bad things, and add in unstablity in their mental state, the ability to get weapons and you have a bad cocktail. This does not mean the thousands of people who safely carry guns should be penalized. 

In Ireland were it’s nearly impossible to legally own a gun, criminals and bad people still manage to get them, in Northern Ireland explosives weren’t sold in corner shops but the terror organizations still managed to get them.

I don’t have a firm opinion on gun laws as I am still learning and still forming my opinion but I do firmly believe that guns.may be the vehicle to do bad, it’s in the hands of bad people that they do bad. I do get the constitutional right to bear arms and protect yourself and your property, and the mindset this gives people but government need to act to make it more difficult to allow guns into the hands of people who shouldnt have them. I have mentioned bad drivers before and how they shouldnt be allowed drive, or at least take an aptitude test to see are they capable of driving a car, maybe something the same can be done for guns. This will not stop bad people doing bad things or getting their hands on guns illegally but it may act as something that make it difficult. Just the thoughts of a bemused Irishman. 

Finally my thoughts are with the most recent victims in Dallas and Orlando, as well as San Bernardanio and Colorado Springs, all of which have happened in the 8 short months I have been in the USA. ALL LIVES MATTER. 

Feast of Football

Feast of Football

Before I start this post I just want everyone to know I am talking about Association Football, soccer, not American Football when I say football. The USA can try rename the most popular sport in the world, Heineken may even have an advert where they tell you it’s OK to call it soccer, but to me it’s FOOTBALL.

Anyway, June has started with a bit of a football feast. Normally the seasons around Europe are winding down but I still have the Airtricity League in Ireland and St Patrick’s Athletic to follow, but this summer not only do I have my normal football, but I have the European Championships in France and the Copa America in the USA. I have been enjoying the Copa America live on US tv but like at home I have to turn the commentators to mute. What is it with TV commentators talking absolute rubbish during games or not having a clue about teams or matches?

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Football

I went to watch the USA play on the big screen outdoors, which is an advantage living in Atlanta, last week but unfortunately for the championship hosts the first game ended in defeat to Columbia but the USA still have a great chance to progress but first up they need to defeat Costa Rica in their next match later tonight. The game of the competition so far has definitely been Argentina v Chile but it is very early days with only 8 matches played so far. It was end to end stuff throughout the full 90 mins, which was great to see.

This Friday sees the start of the Euro 2016 Championships in France and Ireland have qualified so there is an added interest. Ireland are joined by Northern Ireland, Wales and England so there will be a lot of interest among the British Isles nations. I will be cheering on 3 of those 4 nations and it doesn’t take me to spell it out who I won’t be cheering on 🙂

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Ireland will be hoping Robbie Keane can get fit and score at the Euros

Ireland are in a tough group and I will be delighted if they progress and it will really depend on how well they do in their very first game. A defeat in that match will make it extremely tough for Ireland to qualify for the next phase so a win or draw is vital. With the Airtricity League taking a break for a week I will be following the Euros and the Copa as much as I can, especially with kick offs in the Euros in the mornings and the Copa in the evenings, some days I will see some matches, others I won’t see any at all.

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Club and Country

St Patrick’s Athletic aren’t having a great season so far so maybe the small break will allow them to regroup and start the second part of the season in better form. Either way I look forward to following them online and via radio commentary. As a football fan, this summer is a dream summer with so much football on, and nearly all of it live on tv here in the USA. Of course nothing beats being at a live game so I look forward to Atlanta United starting next season in the MLS and I hope to get to a Atlanta Silverbacks game soon as well. Maybe I will even get back into photographing matches over here like I did back in Ireland.

These last 8 weeks or so have seen me make a bit of a come back to playing some football, purely for fun and a little bit of exercise. I joined a 7 a side team which playing in a supporters club league run by Sons of Pitches and even though we were a new team who only met the day of our first match we done well. We finished the league part of the season in 6th place put of 8 but 4 teams had near identical records of wins and loses.  So into the playoffs we went and in our quarter final we defeated the 3rd place team to qualify for the semi finals and to meet up with a team who had given us our biggest defeat and were the 2nd ranked team. This time though we had our full squad, knew each other a lot better and after a 2-2 draw we won on penalties and so qualified for the final. Alas, the final was one game to many and we lost 3-1 to the number 1 ranked team. We have already signed up to play again in the Summer league and will be hoping to go one better or at least have fun trying.