Poppies, football and perspectives: why I agree with FIFA

November 3, 2016 in Mark, Culture, Random, Sport

Next Friday the England football team will take on Scotland in an important World Cup qualifying game, and since the game happens on November 11th, Remembrance Day in the UK, both teams have proposed that they wear poppies (the traditional British symbol of war remembrance) to commemorate those who lost their lives in past wars.

PoppyIn the past 24 hours it has been revealed that FIFA, the governing body for world football, has denied the request of England and Scotland to wear poppies, as it violates their principle of not allowing political, religious or commercial messages on team shirts. Many in the UK have reacted strongly to this decision, with the Prime Minister Theresa May saying it is “outrageous”, claiming that the poppy is a neutral, non-political symbol to remember those who have died.

While it is undoubtedly true that many who wear a poppy do so purely to remember loved ones who have passed away in wars, I think it is naive to think that the poppy would be universally seen to be non-political. Read the rest of this entry →

Looking back: Kids’ Soccer Festival

December 27, 2011 in Life, Mark, Church, Mission, Sport

This week we are busy packing up our belongings deciding what to give away, what to leave with friends, and what to fit into the four suitcases that will come with us to the airport on Saturday morning as we head to England, and then on to Tanzania in a couple of weeks!

Much as we are looking forward to arriving in Tanzania, we will be sad to leave friends and family here in the US. One of my enduring memories of our time here over the past year or so is the 4-week “soccer festival” that our church hosted for kids from the local neighbourhood last summer. Here’s a great little video from the festival made by Stephen, which will help to bring back some great memories when we’re on the other side of the world… Read the rest of this entry →

Oregonian Summertime

July 29, 2011 in Life, Sport

As our four previous visits to Oregon had all been in the winter, it has been reassuring the past few weeks to discover that Oregon does actually have a summer too, and so is not identical in climate to the autumn-winter-spring-autumn cycle of southern England. The last few weeks we have been able to get out of the house a bit and to enjoy the summer with friends.

For four weeks I was helping to run our church’s “soccer festival” (I’m highly ashamed to say I’ve now become so used to saying “soccer” that the word football sounds strange to say…) This was a time when kids from the ages of 6-12 from the local neighbourhood came to the church to play soccer/football and to hear about Jesus. The days were packed and the festival was hard work, but we had a great time with the 120 or so kids who came each day, building good relationships with them, many of whom are wanting to continue to play at the church once a week.

Immediately after the soccer festival was finished we spent a weekend camping with various families from the church at River Bend County Park. The first day was wonderfully relaxing as we sat in the sun by the river reading our books. After that the weather turned slightly wetter, and we felt just like we were camping in England! Let’s just say we were very grateful for the covered shelters where we could build a fire and cook meals, and that we were rather soggy by the time we got home…

Building a boat

The teams compete to build a boat that will sail down the river...

Our good friend Likius, who organised the soccer festival (and likes to have his photo taken...)

Our good friend Likius from Namibia, who organised the soccer festival (and likes to have his photo taken...)

Last weekend we were very excited to be able to see our friends Brad and Stephanie get married! It was a great day with warm sunshine, and was the first summer wedding that I had been to in the US!

Us with Brad and Stephanie

Us with Brad and Stephanie

Stephanie and Jennifer

Stephanie and Jennifer

Over the past few weeks I’ve also been doing quite a bit of running, training for the Cascade Lakes Relay – a 216.6-mile run completed by teams of 12 people. My three legs (5.4, 7.1 and 7.2 miles) sound daunting as they’re at around 5,000 feet and hilly, but I’m looking forward to them nonetheless (or at least looking forward to having finished them…) The relay is next Friday and Saturday (5-6 August), so watch this space to see if I survive…

A Weekend of Sport

March 22, 2008 in Mark, Sport

We’re at my parents’ this weekend for Easter which is fun, especially as my brother and sister are visiting too. An added (unplanned) bonus is that it’s a bumper weekend of sport on TV…!

Cricket every night (although England started pretty badly last night), the mighty Spurs against Portsmouth this lunchtime, the top four playing each other tomorrow (Man Utd v Liverpool and Chelsea v Arsenal) and then if we’re not all sported out, the Malaysian Grand Prix in the early hours of tomorrow morning.

I’m trying to educate Laura about the joys of various sports, and to get her to understand how important it is… but it’s not always easy. She occasionally watches rugby, but every time we start watching a football match she gets distracted and does something like crochet. I don’t think she’s even attempted cricket yet… I’ll keep working on her!