Monthly Archives: August 2014
We can sometimes measure how much someone is loved by how much laughter they bring to our lives. We can also measure it by how many tears are shed when they depart. Robin Williams was one such man where both of these are immeasurable, and it is genuine sorrow and despair that has gripped millions around the world upon hearing of his death early this week.
Growing up, Robin Williams was one of the most popular icons of my childhood. His exuberant talents as the Genie in Aladdin to his hilarious performance in Mrs. Doubtfire were just a few roles he fulfilled that brought laughter to the lives of many. Robin Williams is associated with smiles; he is associated with cosy family nights in, feeling the warmth and energy surround you and your loved ones as you watch one of his films; he is associated with laughter in the school playground, trying to mimic the many voices he used to do. And now, he is also associated with the other end of the spectrum: sadness, despair, shock and grief.
Depression can grip some of the best people, this is true. How could a man like Robin Williams not suffer from depression? This was a man who loved to make people laugh. He was someone whose warmth and compassionate nature was so powerful that it shone through his performances, right through our television screens. For someone who loved so deeply, strongly and whose ambition was to make others smile, how could melancholy and sadness not be a part of his life, when life itself is often swathed in misery, suffering and heartache? When events unfold that cause tears, not laughter, to flow from you, how can anyone not feel overwhelming sadness at this? I am of the belief that it was this constant battle with a world that was out of sync with what Robin Williams wanted, what so many of us want, that contributed towards his untimely passing. I don’t believe anyone will ever know what was going through his mind when he took his own life, nor the exact reasons behind it. Maybe things got too much; maybe he wanted to leave on his own terms; maybe we shan’t ever know. But for a person to take this route, we can only suspect one infallible thing: this is a sign of someone who has been too strong for too long and it is for this reason that we must acknowledge the strength and courage it took for him to keep going for as long as he did, not just despair at the ending itself.
His death, like his films, has taught us many things. It has taught us that money, fame and status are not the elixir of life, as so many are fooled into thinking. Material abundance is no guarantee of happiness. It is no assurance that those who have these things cannot fall victim to depression. As humans beings, no matter our backgrounds or status, we can all be susceptible to it. It can even be said that his death has brought the wide divide between the ‘ordinary’ and the ‘extraordinary’ closer together; Robin Williams has shown us that Hollywood is not a land of untouchable, immortal gods, but instead a place of human beings who can suffer just as we suffer, feel just as we feel.
So we will grieve, all of us who have been affected by him in some way, large or small. Much bewilderment will continue, much sadness and many, many tears. But as time passes, the legacy he left will continue to grow stronger. Though he has gone, his ability to make people smile lives on. Whenever we flick on our TV screens and see one of his films, whenever we scroll through Youtube and hear ‘You ain’t never had a friend like me!” whenever we just think of an actor who made us crack a grin – that is the legacy he left. It is timeless, priceless and, above all, it continues to serve as a beacon for others who know what darkness is, but through Williams’ example, can retain hope that spreading light into the lives of others is a very real possibility and attainable goal. Robin Williams may have extinguished the light inside himself, but he has lit flames in thousands upon thousands and there really can be no greater achievement than that. I firmly believe life does not end when we die and that there is a place we go to where darkness, sorrow, illness and depression does not exist. It is a comfort, perhaps, to the many of us left behind that someone who gave so much to this world is now free from the very miseries that made him want to leave it in the first place. RIP Robin Williams.
Sooooo, slightly overdue as this blog post is, I am compelled to write about my experience during World Cup 2014. Do not be fooled by my dazzling rants about the unjust state of the world, nor my refined tea-drinking posts about what one should drink during one’s peaceful afternoon – when it comes to (international) football, I am right up there with your traditional English footy hooligan (minus the violence), swigging the beer, draped in a long England flag and singing ‘God Save the Queen’ in a loud, passionate, tuneless voice.
At least, I was at the very beginning until England proved YET AGAIN what a sloppy team they were. The last time I wrote about England and an international cup was here in 2012; needless to say, I have no desire whatsoever to repeat myself, which I’m sure would be a hundred times more scathing than last time. I suppose I should have seen the signs; on the day I uploaded the blog post, it received exactly 666 views worldwide. If that isn’t a portent of doom then I don’t know what is.
Moving on, this is not an article about England and their ultimately useless players. It’s about the World Cup as I experienced it, it’s about the excitement, thrills and countless gasps of awe that almost had me in a seizure, it’s about how I (by some bizarre twist of fate) found myself employed as a World Cup Commentator halfway through the Cup, and it’s about some outstanding performances and incredible players that really left a mark in my mind. If there’s such a thing as an unforgettable World Cup then this was surely the one.
Where do I begin? First with James Rodriguez of Colombia. That boy had some skills! I had never heard of this player before in my life (and I will not lie; much as I enjoy the international cups, I’m pretty much clueless as to who most of the players are – with the exception of Christiano Ronaldo. Who doesn’t know him? Didn’t the man create a museum in his own honour, comprising photos, waxworks and trophies dedicated to him, and him alone? The wonders of an over-inflated ego never cease to amaze). So. Rodriguez. How many goals did he shoot into the net again? And let’s not forget The Mystery of the Magical Locust. The enormous bug landed on his arm just before he scored a terrific penalty. Apparently, this critter represents good luck in South American countries and if anyone tries telling me that that wasn’t a sign then I’ll kindly tell you to open up your mind! Colombia did find themselves booted out, but I’m pretty sure that no one will forget their performance and how well they excelled themselves, same as I’m pretty certain Rodriguez won’t be forgotten in a hurry.
Who else really stood out for me? Well, of course, Ochoa of Mexico! The wizard goalie whose incredible, albeit ungraceful, blocking proved deeply frustrating for opposing teams. With his practically X-Men reflexes it was impossible to fault him during the matches – and did I mention how handsome he is? What I wouldn’t give to be a football flying straight into those magical hands! Hubba, hubba! You can save me any day! *Wink, Wink!*
Joe Campbell of Costa Rica really impressed me (also for the fact that during my more daring days, I was gambling on the Costa Rican team and they didn’t fail me once) and I also thought his humble, generally pleasant demeanor was a pleasure to watch. Quite possibly the most heart-stopping match I saw was the one between Costa Rica and Greece. Costa Rica were ten men down and completely exhausted, but they still managed to win on penalties. I was hugely impressed by the Costa Rican team and, like Colombia, they truly exceeded all expectations during the tournament.
Onto the significantly interesting moments of the Cup. Watching Portugal’s Pepe headbutt Germany’s Muller like some kind of angry bull during mating season was an entertainment in itself. Lesson learned, hopefully, Pepe (though judging by your past explosions, we can’t be too hopeful): never headbutt a German. You’ll end up red-carded and on the loser’s bench, frothing and spitting at the mouth.
And, of course, we cannot forget Suarez. The World Cup is hardly the place to be chomping and biting your fellow human being, but Suarez outdid himself with his enthusiastic gnawing on Italy’s Chiellini, whose subsequent panicked outcries and howling protests would have led us to believe he’d just been bitten by a rabid dog and had contracted a life-threatening disease. Still, Chiellini’s ultimate drama-queen showdown only enforced the incredulity of everyone watching that Suarez the Uruguay Star had just bitten another player on the pitch, and it was off to the airport for him. What was most bemusing was that Suarez gripped his teeth as though in agony right after biting the Italian player; it was almost as though he was shocked at the fact they had just pierced through Chiellini’s flesh. Odd. Perhaps his molars have a mind of their own and they had plunged him forwards without his consent. Either way, we’ll never know.
The thrashing that Brazil took from Germany (7-1? Don’t think any of us saw that coming!) was astonishing to watch and I say it with the most genuine empathy that I truly felt for the Brazilians and the fans watching them. I mean, I really did. Watching your home team (and worse, the host nation) be thrashed in such an embarrassing way really pulls at the heartstrings, and I say this as an England fan. Watching Neymar go down also was pretty shocking and his condition was closely monitored with concern by much of the world. I also want to point out a special congratulations to the U.S.A who did very well during this tournament – no doubt this has something to do with being led by the almighty Klinnsman! Speaking of Klinnsman – did anyone really doubt that Germany would win the Cup?
Probably one of the most amazing things about this World Cup was the bizarre shift, the topsy-turviness of traditionally ‘great’ teams being kicked to the curb. Reigning champions, Spain, reigned no more after they were booted out in the first round. Brazil’s performance was hardly superb from the start; Italy failed to wow. If there was ever a time for the underdog to rise, it was during this tournament.
So you may be wondering how I, with my extremely limited knowledge of football and being a woman to boot, ended up as a World Cup Commentator. The answer is, pure chance. Lucky, lucky chance, A very lucky, financially prosperous chance, might I add. And it didn’t matter to me that I had to endure the snide guffawing of men who rarely failed to remind me that I had little knowledge of the game, little knowledge of the players and, therefore, my commentating must surely be void. The fact was, I enjoyed the tournament, I enjoyed the matches and, ultimately, that was all that mattered. I commentated with such fervour that it wasn’t long before I was eating, sleeping and breathing football. So by the end of the tournament I was experiencing post World Cup 2014 blues and aching for the next one. But until that day … onto the Euro!
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