Indecisive Spring

Being a true Englishman I regularly feel the need to discuss the weather, moan about the weather and drop a weather related comment into moments of uncomfortable silence. The Republic of Korea is famed for it’s distinct seasons. A long hot and humid summer, a long dry and cold winter and a rather perfect yet short spring and autumn. Last week it was threatening an early and welcome spring; that was until it randomly snowed a foot of snow in Changwon and much of South Korea. There were rumours it was the first time the second largest city of Busan had seen snowfall for six years. It then rained for a few days and the snow was gone and now it feels like spring again. No doubt the unfairly burdened and blamed weatherman has more surprises around the corner…..

I haven’t been involved in any life changing activities or broadening my horizons too significantly in recent weeks. I am trying to save a few pounds (or won i guess) and I have been regressing into my traditional favourite activities; playing football, watching sport and dodging rounds on nights out!

The last two weekends have been primarily dedicated to playing football in Busan. Since my broken rib, operation and sprained ankle I haven’t played competitively for a while; just the occassional Wednesday night kickabout and some basketball on the local public court. Sparta Busan the team I played for last summer organised a game against Changwon (the Wednesday night kicabout crew). Having not played for Sparta for several months I played for Changwon. The Changwon squad consisted of a mix of several talented players and a few North Americans who play for fun on Wednesday and a few girls who enjoy kicking the boys off the park (or roundabout where we play on Wednesdays!). Sparta you would expect; a team who play every week and compete in a Korean foreigner league, would be predicting a comfortable win against our part-time playing, poorly matched kit wearing team. Wrong. A valiant team display by Changwon resulted in an overtime goal winning victory! Sparta were devestated and Changwon celebrated. I incidently was awesome, only eclipsed by our hat-trick hero Caleb and Luke who had an amazing game in goal. In reality it was a very odd victory for a team that have never played as one before. I guess our familiarity with each other from Wednesday nights was the decisive factor. Everyone played a part and all could be proud of their achievements.

The weekend after I went back to Busan this time to play for Sparta Busan. I think it would be good for me to have a focus again for the weekends that is more constructive than the social drinking focal point that I have had since Christmas. With a little trepidation about playing against the team that Changwon had picked of last week and seeing one of the players who I may have called “a cheating c*&t” the week before, I turned up at Eulsukdo with my brand new bright red boots that I had ordered a few weeks back from the U.S.A. (Koreans don’t have any decent boots in my size; which incedently is normal for the rest of the world) Our opposition in the first game (we played 3 in one day!) was Busan United another foreigner team who had rather uncereminously whipped Sparta 10-0 last summer (I didn’t play in that game incidentally). On this occassion Sparta played with a lot more unity than they had then or against Changwon the week before. Busan United are the self-proclaimed best team in the KFFL (this was a friendly though) and despite being 3-1 down we came back to beat them 4-3! You can see the second half highlights here thanks to JP who provided the camera and the girl who filmed it. We can now say are matches are broadcast to the world! JP also had the grace to make a video highlight/lowlight reel of my performance due to my bickering about the inclusion of my great cross for the third Sparta goal in the main video….. you can see that here (you should probably ignore the bad bits though…. Hopefully someone else on the squad will get this treatment at the next game! We played a couple of games in the afternoon against two Korean teams. We would have beaten both of them if we were fresh like we were against Busan United in the morning. In the end we drew the first one 2-2 and lost the last game 4-1 but after 170 minutes of football it was fair to say many of us were cramped up or injured. (I played all three games with a pulled hamstring). Anyway I am pleased to be back playing again and it will take my mind of missing Kate at the weekends.

On Sunday I watched the LG Sakers play again. They played the KT Sonic Boom from Busan and I finally saw the Sakers win! Afterwards about 14 of us went to a Sam Gyeop Sal restaurant for some celebratory banter, BBQ meat and mekju (beer).

Not much else has been going down but I should give a shout out to Mike and Robbie who had a joint birthday party last weekend. Pub golf is generally a messy affair and this celebratory round did not disappoint! One epic night out!

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