12 May 2008

Be cool, be hot

I don't like really hot weather and I don't like really cold weather, but give me the choice and I'll take a scorcher over a cold snap any day. The sunshine over the weekend was most conducive to the things I needed to do - walk dogs, cut grass and watch Hull City in the play-offs at Watford.

It must be hellish to play football in this weather though. I remember back in the mid-1980s when Colombia were awarded the 1986 World Cup, only for FIFA to then swipe it back and hand responsibility to Mexico owing to Colombian economic and political struggles.

Anyway, the expected conditions at altitude that summer in Mexico prompted calls from medical types to urge FIFA into another re-think. The temperatures were vast and the air so thin that the players, especially those who rarely experienced such temperatures in any circumstances, were felt to be at risk. As it turned out, they were regularly chucked bags of salt water to suck on during ten-second intervals for throw-ins (or longer, especially every time Uruguay played as the number of fouls they committed meant the games stopped for longer than they started). In 1986 - as with the Mexico competition of 1970 too, the one where England lost their grip on the World Cup - players would come off the pitch more than a stone lighter than when they set foot on it.

Now, temperatures in Watford yesterday were not exactly of the level associated with Central American heatwaves, but nonetheless the players must have felt dreadful at periods of the match, hence the relentless hurling of water bottles from technical area to pitch during interludes for treatment or discipline. Normally, players come across for water as a way of getting surreptitious tactical instructions from the coaching team. Yesterday they came across for water because they were somewhat thirsty.

In the crowd, men were in shorts, women were in tight tops and some fellows went the whole hog and removed their tops, showing off their tattooed pectorals (lots of bulldogs, Hull City badges and devotional motifs to 'TRACEY'). As a man of the world, I can assess whether a torso is in handy condition or not (hence why I kept my shirt firmly on) but it always seems to be the case that the blokes who do this have the fewest aesthetic attributes - and the most conclusive evidence of years of half-time pie consumption - to show off. It's not pleasant.

Frankly, if it is a criminal offence for a woman to expose her breasts in public, then it should be for men too, especially those men whose breasts are actually of a similar size to even the most reasonably-endowed woman. And more nauseating to clap eyes on, for male or female.

Anyway, the players not only coped with the temperatures, but they won the match 2-0 and we're one colossal step closer to the Wembley dream we've been sitting on for 104 years. The hot weather held up all the way back home.

The hottest temperatures I've ever experienced were 40 degrees celsius and more when the Natural Blonde and I were on our honeymoon in Egypt. With a hat, a parasol, a vat of sun cream and a nearby pool to stagger into every so often, such temperatures are more than bearable. But when you're walking around Luxor looking at tombs and Egyptian monuments and ruins, and your tour guide says you're going too slowly (because he wants to get you to the souvenir shop he co-owns while claiming it's an essential part of the tour), that's more of a problem.

The NB was taken ill in the afternoon after one sight-to-see too many. She was sick at the scene, sick at the hotel from which we were travelling back to our resort, sick on the short flight, sick in the taxi and sick in our room upon arrival. Sunstroke is something she gets easily unless she is well protected; sadly, her hat was one of those basket types, therefore full of tiny holes for the rays to get her. She won't make that mistake again.

It's warm again today, and the shorts are on, the shades are out. Maybe I'll go and find a cricket match to watch. Maybe I'll take a stroll along Mappleton beach with my thoughts. Maybe I'll sit in the garden with a sandwich and an iced drink, listening to the radio and idly dreaming of the future. Or maybe I'll stay indoors and, erm, watch yesterday's match again on tv thanks to Sky Plus. Hmmm, it's a tough old choice, that one...

1 comment:

Louis Barfe said...

Yes, yes, yes. The only time I go shirtless is when swimming. There's no excuse, quite frankly.