Tag: Sport (page 1 of 6)

Glasgow 2014 – Bowls

It’s halfway through the Commonwealth Games 2014 hosted in Glasgow. I’d tried to get a variety of tickets and ended up with some badminton for later this week. A few weeks ago I decdied to get some tickets for the bowls for me and mum to visit as the event takes place at Kelvingrove which is where my dad used to play.

Over the years the clubhouse and the greens had become unloved and looked pretty shabby so it was great to see then renovated and the facilities looked superb.

As for the bowls itself, it was good to watch and some great competition across the various matches going on.

It was a great day and hats off to the organisation at Kelvingrove which was great. The clydesiders were in good form and it was a breeze going through security. Plenty of toilets and everything was clearly signposted.

The only negative was the range of food on offer. Two food outlets with a poor choice of food and it was expensive and of fairly poor quality. It’s a real shame that some of the great food outlets from around Glasgow weren’t there – were they given the opportunity? Not sure if it’s the same across all venues but felt like an opportunity missed especially with Mother India just across the road and a whole host of great restaurants around Kelvingrove and Finnieston.

Overall though it was a great day and the weather played ball too – full set of photo’s are up on Flickr. Glasgow has never looked better and I’m looking forward to the badminton on Saturday – semi-finals day!

Good Service

Inspired by a tweet from Gordon this is a quick post to highlight some good customer service…well I thought it was good. Before I crack on, here’s the tweet – makes me chuckle every time I see it.

Towards the tail end of last year I needed my badminton racket restrung. I decided to try PWP which had opened a branch in Glasgow and was impressed with string options, friendly service and quick turn around. However on it’s first usage the strings broke and the racket developed a crack at the top of the frame. I couldn’t be sure that a crack wasn’t there before and had been worsened by having it restrung or that PWP were to blame. On returning to the store we had a very honest talk about the problem (which was refreshing – no pointing of fingers and trying to get rid of me). Even though I hadn’t bought the racket from them, PWP agreed to send it to Yonex and ask then to investigate for flaws or what was to blame.

Roll forward a couple of months and the feedback from Yonex was that I caused the damage. Bugger. I didn’t really expect the result to be anything else so it was time for a new racket…and a return trip to PWP despite the restring question marks as I really felt they dealt with me honestly. I sized up the rackets on the shelf and was quite taken with a couple of Yonex models, both priced at £139.

I probably should have checked for prices online but I wanted instant gratification. Imagine my surprise when the staff member I was dealing with told me that the 8000 model shown above was reduced to £89.99, they just hadn’t had time to update the labels on the racket. Instant sale. He didn’t have to tell me that as I was already thinking of buying at the higher price. Can you imagine a car dealer or your typical Comet/PC World guy telling you it’s cheaper than the ticket price online. Usually you have to ask, badger and complain until the price comes down.

So not only was I impressed with PWP’s honesty but at all times the staff have been friendly and knowledgable. So if your looking for anything badminton, squash or tennis related in Glasgow I heartily recommend PWP whose shop is in Partick on Dumbarton Road (replacing the suncenter that was there before – like Partick needs more tanning salons). There’s even a 14 day return so if the racket doesn’t suit my style of play I can return it. Fantastic.

F1 Is Back

So the first race of the new F1 season is over. What a race. What a start. The Brawn GP team have come out of nowhere in pre-season testing and carried that pace through to today’s race. Roll back two months and it looked like they wouldn’t even be racing. It was great to see Button take the win, amazing that Barichello barged his way to a second place and even more unbelievable that Hamilton the snail came in third.

It will take a few races to know if the rule changes introduced for 2009 have made a difference but looking at today’s race alone there seemed to be more overtaking and action throughout the whole race. I actually enjoyed the entire race which is fairly unusual. Partly that was down to lesser teams emerging as the new contenders and seeing Ferrari and especially McLaren struggling to cope. Another reason was the overtaking and the failures/incidents right to the end of the race. Maybe it was just that F1 was back on the BBC.

I got up in time to catch the new titles this morning. The Chain is back. I liked the intro and it set the scene nicely. I’m also liking the increased coverage on the BBC and the new presenting team. Even Eddie Jordan started to grow on me once he had crawled out of Richard Branson’s arse. Speaking of Branson, it really started to annoy just how much he was spinning the Brawn win and how they’ve put in money. Yesterday. Yes, big impact they’ve made. Anyway, back to the BBC. For me they kept the good parts of ITV coverage, lost the adverts, added an after race forum which was actually good to watch and also replaced James Allen.

Yep, I’m glad good old James has moved on. I just didn’t like him as a commentator. However, as a journalist and more recently a blogger I’ve become a fan. His blog is regularly updated with insightful commentary on F1 and what’s going on behind the scenes. It’s excellent and a great companion to the TV coverage. Just a shame the TV coverage hasn’t moved on to HD…yet.

So, next stop Malaysia. More Brawn dominance? I’d expect so although I can’t see Hamilton being as lucky. Red Bull, Ferrari, Toyota and maybe BMW all look stronger and all through car failure, rule issues or driver mistakes cleared the way for Hamilton. Assuming the Brawn car is found to be legal and the keep reliable it will be really interesting to se how long the others will take to catch up. This has all the hallmarks of a great F1 season. I can’t wait.

Sunday Night Blues

What a lazy weekend. Potentially the only productive output from this weekend is this post. Embarrassing. Especially when this post is just really a thoughts post. A post made up of tweets really. OK, long tweets.

  • Starting on a high, aren’t the Olympics just superb! I’ve spent most of the weekend in front of the TV or the BBC Olympics site watching the Brit’s success. Unbelievable. Usain Bolts run was jaw dropping, Michael Phelps achievements will probably go unmatched for decades, it’s a great games so far. Still a week to go so plenty chance for more British golds. A week before Boris Johnson is handed the Olympic flag. Mind boggling. Seb Coe did joke that 5000 Morris dancers would be used for Britain’s eight minute segment during the closing ceremony but it does make you think – what will we do?
  • iPhone is still causing me grief. App’s have stopped working three times in a fortnight meaning a re-install to get them going. My paid app’s now work as my account history has been restored but if they fail I can’t download them again – I need to buy them again. Apple have assured me that they are trying to fix my issues and that they have noted to get in touch with me again. Cheers.
  • New app that came out on Thursday on the iPhone is Simplify Media which allows you to stream music to your iPhone from your home computer – Mac, Windows or Linux. It’s buggy but when it works it’s superb. Worked well for me over 3G too. You can also invite friends who can listen to your library and vice versa. If they can iron out the bugs and make it more reliable this takes away the size issue of the iPhone. All my music…anywhere. Some screens from the app below.
  • Simplify Media
    Simplify Media

    Simplify Media

  • Weight loss has stalled. However stall is no surprise as I’ve been eating more and doing less exercise. So need to get back to what I was doing as I want to lose a bit more by the end of the year. So it was back in the saddle today with a 19mile cycle. Felt good.
  • Contemplating blog restyle. Again. In fact, contemplating blog and what I should do with it. Again. It’s not really doing what i want and I’m not publishing what I really want to publish. What to do?
  • Last iPhone comment – here’s why I waited for 3G iPhone:

    3g – download – 1.67mps (1666kbps/203kB/s)
    3g – upload – 0.25Mbps (254 Kbps / 31kB/s)

    Edge – download – 0.34 Mbps (340 Kbps / 42kB/s)
    Edge – upload – 0.05 Mbps 949 Kbps / 6 kB/s)

    Quite a difference and the 3G makes it usable, unlike edge which can be pretty frustrating.

  • Everyone seen Dark Knight then? I had a draft post that I couldn’t be bothered finishing off. Basically it said ‘I loved the Dark Knight’ and I’m a Batman geek. It’s dark and very true to the comic featuring many characters and scenes from comics like Hush and Long Halloween. Watching in the Imax was pretty special and the opening robbery scenes and those in Hong Kong were amazing. Heath Ledgers Joker was very impressive and contrasted so well with Batman. Film ended on a muted note but that felt the right thing to do. Loved the real world feel of it all. Using special effects sparingly I think emphasised the fact that Batman is a normal guy – no special powers. Lot’s of gadgets but no powers. Hopefully there will be a third in a few years time.
  • Rangers have made some interesting signings in the last four days. Pity they weren’t three weeks ago when they might have made a difference. Someone needs to be held accountable for why these signings took so long.
  • One last moan. Dog owners especially the one that lets their dog shite at my front gate. Fuck off please. Thanks.

Olympic Thoughts

Day six of the Beijing games are over…my thoughts so far? Dramatic, enthralling, fantastic. When I can I’ve watched, well, any sport really. No matter the sport or the country taking part I’ve been interested. British interest always increases the tension and as Gordon said so well, the BBC add’s to the coverage by framing events so well. But first – that opening ceremony.

It looked and sounded amazing and watching it in HD was pretty special. So many memorable moments and images – The Big Picture photoset captures it beautifully. The manpower and cost, never mind the passion shown during the ceremony makes it almost impossible for London to match but that’s four years away and a different games. During the ceremony the miming and footstep’s in the sky were pretty obvious to spot but took nothing away from the show. That’s all it is – an entertainment show to get the games going. Acts around the world have mimed for years so I was surprised to see so much coverage for this.

I also got annoyed with the BBC emphasising that China had been selective with choosing moments from their past to highlight at the ceremony. What do you expect? In 2012 will we see slavery scenes in London? Pretty silly. Thank goodness Eurosport HD has launched – I watched the majority of the ceremony on Eurosport which even looked slightly better and their surround sound worked unlike the BBC.

As for the sport itself, Nicole Cook was magnificent as was David Florence although the in your face reporting from Garry Richardson was way over the top. It was like David Brent doing the reporting. Favourite events so far have to be from the swimming pool. Rebecca Adlington’s swim was so good as she hauled back a large lead with just metres to go. The most amazing race so far though was the 4x100m mens freestyle. How America pulled back that lead and the reaction from Phelps – image of the games so far. Athlete of the games so far too. In fact, athlete of the games. Can’t think of anyone form track and field that can compete.

From archery to boxing the range of sports covered well on TV has never been better. So sad to see Gail Emms go out today – the interview afterwards was heartbreaking. From BBC HD to the main BBC channels with the fantastic red button service you can see Olympic sports 24/7. Couple that with a great website – I’m like a pig in mud.

Track and field kick off tomorrow and Saturday looks like being the day of the games – so many medals decided and many include potential golds for Britain. One niggle remains though. Should China be hosting the games? For me, absolutely. I don’t agree with how the country is run, the human rights issues, the lack of freedom of speech etc etc etc. How many governments around the world are squeeky clean though? Considering Iraq and Afghanistan should London have been in the running if Beijing is so controversial? There’s a lot of hypocrisy surrounding these games and lot’s of negativity around the blogs. Ultimately the Olympics is about sport but as usual people want to politicalise the games and tell everyone how terrible it is that China are hosting the games and how oppressed the country is. Watch some sport, see the passion from the athletes involved and enjoy it for what it is. You’ll also get to see classic TV moments like this.

Sir Steve gets soaked

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