Month: August 2012

Stoke preview + Nadal carrier in doubt?

Arsenal travel to Stroke today. Trips to Stoke have historically been unpleasant with their long balls and physical game and being cunts in general. We have won 1 and lost 2 of 4 matches at Stoke in recent past. Scezney seems to be a doubt for this clash but Alex Ox is back in the team and Koscielny will be back for Liverpool.

Elsewhere in the premier league, Chelsea seems to have got onto a good start to the season winning their first three games. On the other end of the spectrum, Liverpool is in for a difficult time as they are sitting at the bottom of the table may continue to be there as they are due to play Man City today. Van Persie scored on his full Man U debut yesterday. Asshole.

So we sit at 12th position on the table currently. If we win, we go up to 6th although a Man City victory will see us drop to seventh. A glance at the table tells me that after 2 games, the top 5 includes Swansea, Fulham , West Brom and Everton. With Tottenham and Liverpool having slow starts to the season, we should be in the top 4 in coming weeks.

Yesterday I read an article which went into an in depth analysis of Rafa’s injury. It seems he had a career threatening injury when he was 19 and was forced to wear modified shoes to further his career. But that meant increased stress on his knees and back which meant his career was always going to be a short lived one. Tony Nadal expected to get 2 years out of Rafa at the end of 2005. He got 7. So in that sense, we are lucky to have seen Rafa play for as long as he has. But the injuries have caught up with him and he is facing a difficult time getting fit for the tour again.

There have been no indications that Rafa’s career is over. Even if it got over today, I won’t gave any regrets. He has played some memorable matches and been at the top of perhaps Tennis’s greatest era. He has nothing left to prove now. But I still pray that he gets fit and comes back to play again. The guy has been a real inspiration for people.

There are a lot of things one can learn from watching Rafa. When you watch him, you know that nothing comes easy in life. When you come up against genius in life, like he did against Federer, you need to grind your teeth, endure the pain and keep pushing until your opponent breaks. If you want to be great, if you want to be at the top then you have to be dedicated to your task. Don’t slack off. Don’t fumble. Concentrate on your task. Try to be on your best everyday.

No human can ever outdo himself. You can only do your best. So try to do your best everyday. And be humble. One of Rafa’s most endearing attributes is his behavior off the court. It is terribly easy for a beggar to be humble. He has nothing to be proud about. But as you move up the social ladder, as you get bigger in public life, it becomes harder to be humble about yourself. It also becomes more significant because as you get bigger in public life, more people are affected by your behavior. Positively and negatively. It doesn’t matter what you do privately, you have to be at your best when you are in the public.

The best thing that I have learned form Nadal however is that one should always know himself. Having a perspective of your inner self helps you tackle the shit that gets thrown at you outside. Be aware of your strengths and you limits. Try to push your limits but be aware of the threshold beyond which you will fall. Try to use what you have to your advantage. Adapt as situations and demands change. And don’t complain. Never ever complain.

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Set small goals.. the way forward

I have been experiencing feelings of frustration and desperation for a while now. I get the feeling that my life has become stagnant and all avenues of change are shying away from me. For a guy who likes to be on the move constantly, this period has been difficult. When was the last time I felt this way? At Arunachalam? Arunachalam was worse until I managed to find a way to do something useful with my time. What is my way out now?

I think an effective way to tackle frustration is to divide the problem into small parts and tackle one part at a time. We may not be able to find the solutions for all the small problems, but there will be a few that we will conquer and that should give us some satisfaction and the drive to keep going. But isn’t than the case for any problem. Divide and rule is a great approach to problem solving be it in professional life or personal life.

So how do I tackle this particular problem and can I form a general set of steps or guidelines that can be used in any situation. What do you do when you feel that you’re stuck in life?

The trick is to isolate that aspect of life in which you are stuck. For example I am right now stuck in my professional life with no project and nothing useful to do with my time. I am still getting paid but that salary is not giving me any satisfaction. So now I know where I am stuck. What about other aspects of my life? I think I am doing pretty good everywhere else.

Now that I have isolated my problem area, the trick to fighting it is to put an extra effort in all other aspects of my life. For example, I like to keep myself fit. So I put in extra effort into training so I get fitter and better at it. The increased effort should show results and should give you an increased amount of satisfaction and a sense of achievement. Another example? Spend more time on your hobbies and interests. Do the things you enjoy doing. Indulging in your hobbies will give you pleasure and will also pass some time so that’s 2 benefits there.

Another thing I can do in my scenario is to think of things that I won’t be able to do once I get a project and get busy again. Like catching up with old friends or getting some work done for your parents or things like that. Another way to derive some satisfaction and pass some time.

If I could quantize satisfaction and add up discreet quantities of it, the pleasure I get from doing the activities above should overshadow or overcome the negative feelings of frustration and anger. One needs to channel his thoughts and think this way for this to work. So what if I don’t have a project and have nothing to do, I have these other things to do and they are helping me a lot. So I will be a positive person, think more about the good things and less about the bad things. The bad thing might be more important or significant than the good thing, but in order to tackle hard times, one should ignore what is important and concentrate on the things that keep you going.

For someone who has just entered adult life of profession and responsibilities, I am new to facing hard times and situations where I can’t just turn to someone else for help. I need to make this into a learning experience. Life will get harder from now on. Responsibilities will grow. You will stop being the one who depends upon others and be the one on whom others depend. You will have to satisfy an increasing number of people and will have a decreasing amount of time to think about yourself.

Buck up my boy, your life’s just getting started.

Adeos Laxman

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V.V.S Laxman announced his decision to retire from test cricket 2 days ago. He had been training hard to be ready for the season ahead but for reasons known only to him, he decided to quit international cricket. His reasoning for the decision was that the Indian team needs to prepare youngsters for the future and the series against an inexperienced  New Zealand side was a good platform for it.

This is my tribute to a great athlete and the face of Hyderabad’s cricket. A truly inspirational guy who carried himself splendidly and was never in the news for the wrong reasons. He had tough times but he fought through them and helped our team record some memorable victories home and abroad. Under-rated and often over-shadowed by Dravid and Sachin, he was a part of a golden generation of Indian cricketers and I will cherish the memories he provided us with.

Thank you Laxman for your contribution to Indian cricket, your hard work that helped us to the No. 1 position back then and the inspiration you have provided to the next generation. I will always look up to you as an example of a disciplined and hard working guy. Best of luck in your future endeavors and I hope I get the opportunity to meet you some day.

 

 

Arsenal start with a draw + Nadal out of U.S Open + S.A are No. 1

Arsenal started their 2012-13 Premier league season with a draw on Saturday. I thought we played well. Cazorla was lively although he had a defender on his tail throughout the game. Diaby played well enough on his return from injury, but he was guilty of getting dispossessed too many times. Arteta played the defensive midfielder role and did very well. Never had a loose pass and was great in tackles.

Sunderland sat back defended throughout the game and they made it hard for us to find space in the final third. Gervinho tried to dribble his way into the box lots of times and although his final pass was lacking in quality, he did a better job than Theo Walcott did (who’s contract issue hasn’t been settled yet). We saw Podolski substituted for Giroud in the second half and he missed a good chance to grab 3 points.

So a little frustrating start to the season but on the whole, the game was played at a good tempo and the quality was good. Hopefully we will improve over the next few matches. In other news, we sold Alex Song to Barcelona yesterday. I’m not sad to see him go. He was a little over-rated and at 15 mil, its good business for Arsenal. Among other fixtures, Man U lost to Everton (haha), so did Liverpool and Tottenham. Chelsea and Man City won though so we sit at 11th position after Week 1, below Stoke to where we travel this weekend. Should be an interesting game.

 

Nadal pulled out of the U.S Open starting this month end. That’s bad news and the injury must be really bad for him to be out of the tour for 2 months. He was runner up last year so he’ll lose a load of points and will definitely end up below Murray in rankings after the end of U.S open. I hope he recovers before the end of the season. Federer won the Cincinnati Open to extend his lead at the top of the rankings by a thousand points. He is now tied at 21 masters titles along with Nadal.

 

South Africa beat England in the last and final Lords test to take the number 1 ranking in tests. They have shown consistent performance over the last few seasons and deserve the position. England couldn’t hang on to the numero uno position for even an year and with the tour of India to come, they will struggle to come back on top. I get the feeling S.A will be number one for a while. India’s 2 match test series with New Zealand starts on the 23rd and should be an interesting contest.

Gone Persie Gone

Robin Van Persie signed for Manchester United yesterday. He was our captain last season and giving him to Man U is extremely disappointing.  I must say this is a new feeling for me. Never had any players switch over and play for rival teams. Sachin or Dhoni would never play for Australia. I guess this feeling comes as a part of the football package.

The new season is starting in two days. I think Thomas Vermaelen will be our captain this season. He is a senior member of the team and an experienced center half. I think compared to the start of last season, this season we are better prepared . I don’t know if our current squad would bring us the premier league title but I am sure with the likes of Santi Cazorla and Podolski in our team, we can compete. If we try our best, its enough for me.

This is my second full start of season as an Arsenal fan and first season where I am completely hooked and have nowhere else to go. I am excited for the match on Saturday. Barcelona are interested in Alex Song and he might leave but that should bring about at least on more signing. I think we still are short of a striker. Our central striking options include Giroud, Chamakh and Podolski maybe. One injury will put us in a fix and we’ll depend on Giroud the same way we depended on van Persie last season. Not the best situation to be in. So one more striker and defensive midfielder and we are set to go.

Welcome Cazorla!!

Arsenal Football Club signed Santi Cazorla yesterday from Malaga. He is said to be a fantastic midfielder and will bring creativity to our mid-field that has been lacking since the departure of Cesc Fabregas. We have been really aggressive this summer and have made fantastic acquisitions in the form of Podolski, Giroud and Cazorla.

I am really looking forward to seeing Cazorla and Giroud in action. This is the most excited I have been about the Arsenal team since the lows of the 8-2 defeat in the hands of Man U. The team has left for Germany where they will train and play a practice match against FC Koln. Van Persie boarded that flight so I really don’t know where we stand with his situation. I hope he will play for us next season but he cannot continue being our captain after the way he publicly questioned the manager.

The Sunderland game is exactly 10 days away and I cannot wait for that game. The lineup for our first match might look ike this:

Czsz in Goal

Carl Jenkinson(Right), Koscielny – Vermaelen (Central), Andre Santos (Left)

Arteta , Diaby, Song in midfield

Alex Ox, Van Persie(?), Walcott in front.

This will leave Cazorla , Ramsey, Gervinho, and Arshavin on bench which is pretty strong.

Looks like a pretty strong team on paper and I can’t wait to see how they perform on the ground. I wonder how different the actual line up will be to my prediction here..

India – Sri Lanka Round-up

The Indian tour of Sri Lanka finished yesterday with India winning the only t20 by 30 odd runs. On the whole, it could be called a successful tour for India, winning the ODI series 4-1. This victory will give the us some confidence heading into a long season ahead.

Highlights of the tour were Virat Kohli, Gambhir and Irfan Pathan. Kohli was fantastic in the OOI’s, scoring the 2 hundreds to take his tally to 13 centuries in total. His form and confidence showed in the t20 match were he made the carrier best 68 and bagged the man of the match award along with the man of the series award. His hunger for runs is really inspiring and is developing into a very dependable number 3 batsmen for India. We may not miss Rahul Dravid after all.

Gambhir played well too scoring 1 century and 2 fifties. Raina chipped in with 3 fifties and Dhoni with 2 so on the whole, it was a good batting performance for the team.. except for Rohit Sharma. His highest score in the entire series was 5 runs and he did not bat in the t20. This series was a big disappointment for him and he will now surely be relegated to play in the Ranji’s. Irfan Pathan bowled and batted well in his comeback series and earned himself some playing time which is good for him and Indian bowling line up.

So India is now sitting in second position in ODI rankings, 0.02 points behind Australia. One slip by the Aussies and we will be on top. And then we will have to consolidate our position, the way we did in tests for a couple of years. The test series against New Zealand starts on august 23rd and a 2-0 win in this series will earn us 2 rating points in the rankings taking us nowhere.  But it will do our confidence a world of good so I am hoping we win the series 2-0, specially with Vettori not playing because of injury.