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Soup of This Day #185: I Never Noticed Them Until I Got This Feeling

May 29, 2012

SF Liverpool FC car
The 2008 Superleague Formula Liverpool FC car in the Donington Park pits. In 2009 this car was the only thing in a Liverpool FC uniform to win a title and it did it without a football – Photo: Mattbuck, 2008. Mattbuck is not affiliated with Longworth72. Image cropped by Longworth72.

Yesterday I went to an optometrist to get my eyes checked. I’d last had that done a year or so ago and they’d said then that my eyes were borderline.

Apparently I’ve now crossed over the border. This is of course a metaphor – If it was literal then I’d be liable to reverse over the wrong border which would turn out to be much closer than I thought it would be.

Driving without glasses is not really my strong suite any more.

Ok, so that’s a slight exaggeration, possibly magnified by my reluctance to wear glasses. The reality is that I can drive ok without them, however I have to concentrate a bit harder. The real impact is that I now need glasses to work at a computer screen. Yep, I should be wearing glasses right now. Unfortunately it will be a week or 2 before the prescription gets filled so for now I kind of have to write in short bursts, occasionally leaving off typing for a rest.

Because of this limitation, tonight’s post will be written in distinct sections. At the end of each segment I’ll be going off for a lie down – You should feel like you can do the same too, even if your eyes are fine. The end result should be a well-rested author and a collection of mostly unique pieces that with a bit of luck work together nicely as 1 post. Essentially I’m hoping that, just like with Back to The Future 3, at the end the whole package can be tied up with an efficient-looking knot…

While I waited at the optometrist’s I leafed through a magazine whose name I’ve forgotten. It had a long and fascinating article that I got hooked into because it promised to tell me how to tie my laces up more effectively. Apparently this is something the majority of us struggle with, including professional athletes.

I’m in with that majority on this and it’s not because of my poor eyesight.

My problem is that I tie my laces via a basic granny knot. It’s what I was taught as a little tacker and its simplicity was well suited to my childhood lack of coordination. The downside is that a granny knot as I tie it is also well-suited to coming undone in the middle of a football match.

Nobody likes a goalie who has to keep taking his gloves off to re-tie his laces. A double-knot helps a bit but it’s a right bugger to untangle post-game.

Fortunately for me Ian Fieggen has dedicated a fair old chunk of his life into the science of tying up shoelaces. It’s not as simple as just ensuring that your shoe doesn’t come off. You see, according to Ian, you can control the application of tension and support simply via the way you string your laces. And you should pay attention because Ian knows his shoelaces – So much so that he used to approach random people in shopping malls to tell them that they had not tied up their shoelaces correctly and then to offer to teach them the correct technique.

According to the article, this did not go down well.

Anyway Ian has now stopped the practice of cold-calling unsuspecting patrons who really just wacked on a pair of trainers so they could go and get a haircut. Instead he has published a website on all things shoelaces. You’re probably thinking that it’s worth a look for a laugh.

It’s not – It’s worth a fair bit more than that. It’s actually bloody brilliant and you should spend an hour or too there learning how to tie up your shoe laces. Even if you’re Usain Bolt. Who finished the Final of the 100m in the Beijing Olympics with his left shoe laces untied.

Of course that was the same 100m Final in which he obliterated the opposition and the World Record so clearly there wasn’t much of a downside for him there then.

Regardless, Ian’s site will help you get the most out of lacing up your shoes – And it’s not just for runner’s – There are instructions for cyclists and ice skaters amongst others too. Yep, you can benefit from some lacing advice no matter how many different sports you play. Maybe that kind of thing can help Ellyse Perry out…

Ellyse Perry is someone I’ve written about before – She featured in a post from last year that focused a little on the Matildas, Australia’s National Women’s Football team. Ellyse plays in defence for the Matildas, a worthy task that not just anybody can aspire to. But that’s not all that Ellyse can do – She also represents her country in cricket, playing for the Southern Stars, Australia’s National Women’s Cricket team. Ellyse Perry is a dual international and what’s more impressive, she has represented her country in World Cups in both sports.

Which is pretty impressive but not without problems.

Last year Ellyse played her club football for Canberra United in the W-League, Australia’s premier women’s football competition. United it turns out are not ecstatic that she’s seeing another sport on the side. They want Ellyse to be 100% committed to them, without the distraction of cricket. Ultimately they don’t believe that it is possible to have a polygamous relationship with multiple sports and so she’s been told to dump the other love or face having to find another football club.

This is a move that this blog fully supports. Mostly because the Western Australian W-League outfit, Perth Glory, were awful last year, losing 1 game 11-0. Canberra United on the other hand were the W-League Champions. We could use Ellyse over here.

The men’s Western Warriors Sheffield Shield team could use her right arm medium-fast deliveries on the cricket field as well.

I guess what I’m saying is that Ellyse should ditch Canberra, move over here and prove that it’s possible to combine the love of 2 sports and have a happy outcome. Although they do kind of need to be complementary…

I like football. I like motorsport too. For years I watched these 2 sports in isolation, unable to reconcile my differing passions. It was a little like introducing strawberries to roast lamb – They’re brilliant foods apart – Together, not so much.

But then, in 2005, a consortium of brave and crazy people came up with a concept that at 1st glance seemed a little stupid: Superleague Formula.

It was pretty straight forward – Football teams branded racing cars and then pitched them into a motorsport series. From 2008 you could see the likes of Liverpool FC, PSV Eindhoven, Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla FC, FC Porto, Olympique Lyonnais and AC Milan engaging in a full-throttle battle on the race-track via Formula-type open-wheelers.

It was actually a whole lot of stupid.

Liverpool FC did win the series in 2009 with Spaniard Adrián Vallés behind the wheel (Fittingly, in Rafa Benítez, they had a Spanish football manager too). Even so, I would have preferred that they had won at something a little closer to their core business – Like football.

Because even though the Superleague Formula slogan was, ‘The Beautiful Race: Football at 300 km/h’, there was no actual football being played at 300km/h. Technically the slogan should have been, ‘The Race: Motorsport at 300 km/h, sponsored by football clubs’. Which is accurate but a little uninspiring.

That’s not to say that the racing was stupid in of itself – Some of the drivers were world class. There were even a few former F1 drivers involved and some who had made a mark in IndyCar racing as well, such as Sébastien Bourdais the spectacled Frenchman…

Yep, Sébastien Bourdais, 1 of the fastest drivers on the planet, wears glasses.

While driving ridiculously fast.

Of course you could point out that his F1 career was truncated because he had this tendency to crash into other cars but I don’t think that was down to his wearing spectacles.

In fact Seb has had to wear glasses throughout his career and along with the occasional prang there have also been some stunning successes. The man is a 4-times Champ Car World Series champion. He’s placed 2nd on 2 occasions in the Le Mans 24hr and he’s held his own in F1. He’s even won a V8 Supercar race here in Australia.

He was a little cack in the Superleague Formula thing but that’s because the whole idea was stupid.

So I guess I’m now ok with the concept of wearing glasses. I’ll still be able to drive. I can confirm though that I expect to have some difficulties playing W-League football while maintaining a spot in the Australian Women’s Cricket Team.

And I’m not really good on the laces thing…

I Never Noticed Them Until I Got This Feeling

  1. When I visited the “eye guy” last December he told me I was still good on only needing my glasses to see a movie (far-away stuff) or drive at night (far-away stuff and dark too)…but at some point it was likely I’d be having trouble reading things very close up as well. You may enjoy this if you haven’t read it yet…on my lifeattitudes site, forgive me for the blatant self-promotion…

    • Hadn’t read that post yet – Have now. I particularly like the bit about not feeling old on a Friday – I think that’s a great rule to live by and I am henceforth taking it to heart – Fortunately my eye exam was on a Monday and my wife came with me to choose new glasses later that day – Partly to help me look ok (I have no sense of fashion) but I think also to make sure I just sucked it up and got on with it.

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