Draft night

Being a football manager is easy money, right?

Pick your best 11 players each week, spout a cliché to the cameras in the tunnel after the match, carefully grumble about the standard of refereeing in the press conference, and then head home to your massive mansion and relax on a pile of large denomination banknotes.

I’m about to prove this theory by managing my fantasy football team – the Regal Beagles – to glory in our (now) regular draft league, starting tonight.

At least, we get to pick the players this evening. It’s a social event, with participants amassing at a secret Sea Point venue and others dialling in from the USA and Indonesia. There will be beer and pizza (in Sea Point, at least).

The actual league only begins on Friday, and I think I have a pretty formidable first XI (+ five subs) lined up. Sadly, there are 13 other players in the league, and I’m guessing that they will be after some (or more) of my team.

The way to sort this out amicably is the draft system, whereby everyone takes turns to choose a player. The draft system works by randomly assigning a draft number to each participant and then running through 1-14, and then 14-1. And repeat.
So essentially, manager 1 (who happens to be The Mexican) gets to choose the best player, but then only gets to choose the 28th best player as well. Manager 14 (The Ginger Ninja), might only get the 14th best player on offer, but then he also gets to choose the 15th best as well.

Last year, I got the first draft pick and I chose brilliantly: Mo Salah, no less. Sadly, by the time the 28th and 29th picks came around, the bottom of the fantasy barrel was already clearly on show and things went badly from there on in. I thought I was terrible at being a football manager, but some of the stats nerds on the team actually did some calculations and worked out that I was just very, very unlucky.

And lightning surely can’t strike twice, right?

This year, I got pick number 7, and I think I’ve already worked out who will be choosing whom in front of me. Obviously, I can’t reveal just who my first choices will be, for reasons of tactical security. But I think we can probably say that Mo Salah will be plying his trade somewhere away from Los Beaglez this year.

Of course, it’s not serious (but it is); it’s just for fun (but it matters); it’s all about the banter (and the points… always the points).

More news on the state of play once the teams have been picked and once the season has started.

Screenshots

It’s amazing news and just plain old regular news here Chez 6000.

Herewith depicted in screenshot form.

Amazing news in that I woke to the latest Superbru standings and they were these:

Best in the Country. Best in the World, nogal!
[cracks open the Moët]

Of course, it’ll never last. But I have this screenshot to show that it did at least happen.

Briefly.

But then there was this plain old regular news as well:

I’d been looking forward to enjoying Sheffield United’s game against Swansea City this evening. I’ve been gifted the (rather expensive) HD streaming package for the whole season as an early birthday present.

But HD ain’t going to stream much at 0.07Mbps, now is it?

I’m actually done with Afrihost now. Their support line closed at 5pm on Friday and only opens again at 8am on Monday, as if the rest of the modern world also stops for 63 hours over the weekend.

What they’re offering has been slowly decreasing, while the prices stay right where they are. And I’m still waiting for the FTTH they promised me back in April.

Twenty Seventeen.

They used to be a beacon of customer service. Now they’re utterly terrible.

Understandably, I’m looking elsewhere.
Your suggestions are most welcome.

Finals Day

This is another prewritten post, so I don’t know who is challenging for the 2018 World Cup. In fact, at this stage (the tournament kicks off in about 3 hours), even Google is unaware:

And you know that if Google doesn’t know, then neither does anyone else.

8 years ago, it was the final of the World Cup in South Africa. And, while it wasn’t held in Cape Town, I still think a quota photo of the stadium is somehow appropriate. After all, one of the semi-finals (I believe there’s one of them happening today?) was held here:

I actually took this in December 2009 – on the night of the draw for the World Cup in South Africa, after a busy night on Long Street.

Memories…

World Cup pundits

If you’re overseas (as in not in SA) and are watching the World Cup, how good are your TV pundits?

Supersport have gone big with our hard-earned Randelas and brought in Gianfranco Zola and Andy Townsend, but the only effect of this input of foreign talent has been to make the local guys look distinctly average.

Andre Arendse’s comment that Peru would struggle in the Denmark game “because they hadn’t been at the World Cup for 56 years” came about 20 minutes after Iceland – who have never been the the World Cup before – got a draw with one of the big tournament favourites, Argentina.

And what does it matter if “the game’s moved on” since 1962? None of the Peru players were even alive then, were they? I was half expecting them to turn out in baggy shorts and with a hugely heavy leather football with huge stitching for the warm up.

Oh, and in black and white, obviously.

But that sort of comment is sadly par for the course.

I’m not saying that the guys in the studio don’t know about football: not at all. All I’m saying is that they’re not very good at talking on TV about what they know about football.

Still, what you can’t see, can’t hurt you:

Sometimes I’m glad that the internet here is as bad as the pundits.

Repost: Braaiwood and Boogie’ing

One from 2007. I know, right?

The weekend has come and gone and this week brings the terrible realisation that with the start of the new school year comes the return of the traffic from hell. This trebles my journey time to and from work and serves as a reminder that I really need to win the lottery and buy that helicopter.

The abject depression that sitting in traffic can produce must be countered in some way. And that’s why we used this weekend to chill out and relax before reality kicked in. Saturday afternoon was spent next to the pool, braai’ing with friends. (Braai’ing, to the uninitiated, is what the rest of the world calls barbequing). The South African braai is a national institution – we even have National Braai Day here – and that’s why it is important for me to learn and follow the strict (yet unwritten) SA Braai Code if I am to fully integrate into this society.
No matter where you are in the world, braai’ing is a man’s job. Trying to get your average Saffa bloke to cook in the kitchen is like trying to get him to wear one of your daintiest dresses, pink fluffy slippers and lipstick, but there’s no separating him from his braai. And while other nations pile on the charcoal briquettes from their local petrol station, South African men stand for hours around braais and discuss which wood should be used on the fire. The traditional option is Rooikrans – alien to SA and therefore fair game for anyone to chop down and burn under some bits of sheep. But one of my visitors on the weekend was very excited to note that I was using dried vine wood.
“That stuff is great, hey – exceptional burning and great coals!”, he enthusiastically told me.
I nodded knowingly, despite the fact that I had bought it from the local petrol station in the sort of blind panic which only comes with finding that you have no braaiwood 10 minutes before your guests are arriving for a braai. I am the king of bluff.
“Have you tried Namibian Camelthorn?”, he asked.
I smiled and took a sip of my beer to give me thinking time.
“I haven’t, but I believe it burns forever?”, I ventured.
It was a good guess – this was more braaiwood talk – Camelthorn was not the latest beer to hit the market or some new designer drug. My guest was impressed. I am the king of bluff and the king of knowledge. It’s why I’m so successful at betway online sports betting.

The other thing I have to get used to is the fact that braai talk here is restricted to very few topics: rugby, cricket, kids (where applicable) and braaiwood.
Thou shalt not talk of music or women or football or beer. And that’s just a little bit bizarre as far as I’m concerned. Barbeques in the UK won’t even light without some mention of Kelly Brook and “that goal” from Thierry Henry on Wednesday night. That said, often they just don’t light because it’s raining.

Finally – meat. Australia has it’s prawns, England has its burgers and pork sausages, but here in SA you can braai anything. And basically, the bigger the chunks of flesh or the longer the boerewors that you stick over your Namibian Camelthorn, the better. Extra marks are awarded for the range of different meats you can braai simultaneously (without mixing surf and turf – a big faux pas). My record stands at chicken, lamb, pork, beef, ostrich, boerewors (4 different varieties) and a token frozen burger (I was feeling homesick that day).
If you have bought your wors from Checkers, never admit to it. Guests will wonder if they are eating donkey or dog and will be repulsed. However, if you bought donkey or dog wors at Woolies, that’s just fine.

I mentioned boogie’ing in the title of this post. That’s because we went to see The Parlotones at Kirstenbosch on Sunday evening to round off our weekend. They were really rather good. UK readers, you might not have heard of The Parlotones yet, but they’re going to be big, so why not impress your friends around the braai by slipping their name into the conversation?

Try that awkward silence while everyone’s thinking about their favourite bit of Kelly Brook.