Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Goodbye Jose

19th September 2007 witnessed one the most dramatic managerial departures that the English Premiership has ever seen in its recent past. One of the most successful, yet controversial soccer managers, Jose Mourinho was an annoyingly effective Chelsea soccer club’s manager. His brute spirit and killer attitude had transformed Chelsea’s ridiculous Abramovich-investments into actual silverware – two English Premier League titles, two Carling Cup victories and one FA Cup triumph.

Jose was a colorful chap, who said the most colorful of things in the most colorful of ways. A passionate coach who would do anything to win, Mourinho was a brilliant player manager, bringing the freakishly international and disconnected Chelsea players together. The players at Chelsea loved him, but everyone else around him just hated his guts. Other managers took great offense to Jose’s verbal attacks on everything that did not go his way. Mr Benitez of Liverpool couldn’t stand the Portuguese Mourinho, and he wasn’t afraid to show his hatred. Mourinho has had spites with almost every other egoistic manager, and watching these egos clash has been a wondrous site at times.

So why did he leave? Did he get sacked? Did he quit? Chelsea say that they reached a “mutual” consent with Mourinho on his removal. But personally, I do not think it was as simple as that. I think Chelsea sacked Jose, and Jose could do nothing else but accept it. So as smart as he is, and as smart as Chelsea try to be, according to them, a picture should speak a thousand pretty words, rather than a thousand true and ugly ones. That is the only bit I think they mutually agreed on.

Sacking someone is all about a clash of egos. The billionaire-owner of Chelsea, Roman Abramovich couldn’t stop poking his nose into Mourinho’s job. For instance, he forced Mourinho to spend around forty million dollars on a thirty-year old striker, Andiry Shevchenko, who he really wanted in the team because of Shevchencko’s and his common areas of descent. And amidst this entire nose poking business, Abramovich’s expectations were unbelievably high. I guess, a billionaire would think that money could buy success. Money did partially bring success to Chelsea, but not as must as Abramovich wished it would. So what did the egoistic, success-hungry billionaire do? He blamed the egoistic, success-hungry manager of not being able to convert Chelsea into the best team there is. Now when two such strong egoistic similar personalities clash, what it really calls for is a “The Bold & The Beautiful” episode on their love-hate relationship.

Personally, I feel that for a manager to be successful, the chairman should have faith and patience in what he has hired, but most importantly, the chairman should enjoy a good rapport with his manager. If he doesn’t then it is not worth maintaining a combustible relationship. So Mourinho’s departure is indeed better for the greater good of Chelsea. On the other hand, he is a great loss to the cinematic entertainment that English Premier League managers are masters at.

I hated Mourinho. He annoyed me so very much, but I always respected the fact that he was a very smart soccer manager who knew how to win, even without playing pretty soccer. Quite simply, he is a passionate untroubled maniac, who always seems to be in control of himself and of everything around him. He is like this mega, huge, strong, annoying wall that cannot be pushed around – to get rid of this wall, you need to break it down with a bulldozer. Mr Roman Abramovich is quite a bulldozer. Good luck to him with him finding a new wall.

P.S. I really felt like going back to my football (soccer) writing roots. It's been a while...

Friday, September 14, 2007

Dobie & Elevators

Dobie is my dorm. It’s 27 floors tall and is the tallest darn thing in this area. There are about 900 residents living in Dobie and another 900 friends-of-residents too. It doesn’t have any issues, and is very cool with friends [even of the opposite sex] staying overnight. But it has only three elevators.

Yes, the three-elevators-issue is probably the only issue. I live on the 16th floor and have climbed up the sixteen 3 times. Move-in day was horrendous – there was only one elevator available for vertical transport and it resulted in a very un-merry sight - too many people, too much contact, too much of time-squandering. The elevator waits can be long, very long, but are always entertaining none the less. Here’s why: The elevators are small, and are almost always full. So when you enter them, you are greeted with this eerie silence, and a dozen sets of daunting eyes. You look away instantly, counting the number of hot women around you in your head from a previous freeze-frame, and acting as cool as possible in the process. You press your floor, and then start looking at random conscious things. Sometimes you look at your watch, sometimes at elevator floor-countdown screen-like thing, and if you’re shameless you blatantly stare at the most attractive person of the sex you are attracted too.

There are times, when you are with a group of friends, buzzing in conversation; but as soon as you step into the elevator, there is that eerie silence that takes over you yet again. Thus begins the long, silent journey to your destined floor. Now as these elevators are prone to a large number of stops, you almost always find someone clicking his tongue on every unscheduled stop, and cursing the heavens above for making this seemingly short journey, painfully long. And if you are prone to claustrophobia, God has certainly not blessed you with Dobie.

So for all the above reasons, Dobie has now come up with “Elevator Etiquette” - no two consecutive floor-buttons can be pressed, and people living on floors 2 – 5 have to use the stairs. Robert doesn’t follow “Elevator Etiquette”. No one likes him.

Basically, the point to this pointless post is that the “Elevator Experience” is one of the unique sights and sounds of Dobie that does not ever fail to amuse me. From the etiquette betrayers, to the eerie silences, to the random laughs and conversations, to the furtive glances at a fellow elevator-traveler and to the annoying waits, Dobie elevators can be thoroughly entertaining, if not annoying.

P.S. The other day, Taylor, a close friend, lost a bet and thus ran around floors 16, 20 and 27, in his skimpy boxers. No one was around in the corridors, but the elevators didn’t spare him – apparently seeing a guy naked with only a towel to protect him is highly peculiar.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Hitting The Real World

50,000 students in and around 40 acres of campus can be overwhelming. From being a decent somebody, it doesn’t take long for your ego to crash-land, and suddenly you realize you are a nobody. Establishment takes time, more time than you think it does.

School is more of a micro-mini-super-special-extra-caring world that you are almost born into. The teachers bring you up as their own little babies, and everyone’s ASS [Attention Seeking Syndrome] is satisfied. Fun and frolic, elementary school is considerably easy to make friends in, and to settle your tiny and naive yet wild brain. After Kindergarten, it’s almost like you ease into High School. If you are lucky enough to be in a considerably small High School [a thousand people or so], then making a somebody out of yourself in some field or the other is not difficult. Sometimes it’s so easy that your ego soars to skies and you think you are one of the greatest undiscovered talents of the world, eager to step into tougher territories to try yourself. But before you enter the real real world, you step into a human-generated independent mini-world: university.

There are no liabilities, no responsibilities, no external pressures on you except for your own, and well for those decent ones, their parents. With numerous doors waiting to be opened, you can’t wait to knock on wood and give yourself to your passions. You embrace freedom and opportunity with such vigor that you almost feel that you are born again, like this vivid butterfly that has just burst out of its cocoon, waiting to discover what’s out there, and at the same time waiting to be discovered of its beauty.

But then, there are times when these butterfly dreams come crashing back to earth and you don’t feel that “beautiful” at all. Yes the world has become small, but there are so many people in this “small” world of ours. People with diverse talents, cultures, faiths, gifts, disabilities, luck and everything else that constitute our global lives exist. Their lives are as complex as ours. And when you fall among 50,000 different people, everything doesn’t seem as colorful. There are ups and downs, but why the “downs” are better is because they bring you back to reality. They don’t necessarily make you feel good, but hey, we non-ideal people should ideally worry about what happens in the longer run, right?

On a slightly positive note, its only 50,000 people now; it will soon be 7 billion. So yeah, university does have a very important role to play beyond education, so make sure you butter-fly your rear to a good, LARGE university.

I missed out on the soccer tryouts and now I’ve missed out on blogging for UT too. I really wanted to at least blog for UT. Anyway, next year, I’ll try again. Classes are fun, except Spanish. I really want to learn Spanish, but unlike most of my classmates, I have no background in Spanish, so it’s tough. I’m struggling in it. I guess it will soon even out. The UT Women’s Volleyball game is on today, so I will probably go watch that, and oh I am going to be “auditioning” for some salsa group too. If I miss out on this, it’s not too bad. I don’t want to compete at Salsa, I just want to dance; and anyway I am getting pretty used to missing out on stuff and crashing back into this human-generated independent mini-world.

P.S. However different and diverse people seem to be, when it comes to a deeper emotional level, everyone is just the same. Some are just very good at hiding it.
Wow, a much needed vent - I really needed that. If you’ve reached so far, thanks. =)

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Gone To Texas!

10,000 people held together with the binding force of the Burnt Orange, the Cheerleaders, the Longhorn Band, the Acapella singing groups, the multi-cultural dances, the videos, the speeches, the cheers, the flying balls, the “ \m/ ”, the Eyes of Texas, more singing, more of the Longhorn Marching Band, the unfurling of the biggest Texas Flag, the lighting of Tower, the Bevo, the spirit and the life of UT was all encompassed in one super-duper mega night. A day before classes began, UT held an official welcoming event for us ’07 freshmen – “Gone To Texas”.

It had two stages at either end of the main mall with performances on both stages. In addition to that, a good light setup, topped by the involvement of the UT Tower, made everything even more glamorous. The show went through as smoothly as a smoothie, with a balance of speeches and performances, and that made everything non-boring. Us Desis performed a traditional dance and an Acapella performance, and I felt glad that the Indian community was heavily involved. But they were blown away by this African American girl who unleashed the UT anthem, “The Eyes Of Texas” in a truly wondrous run-filled voice. But the Longhorn Marching Band blew her away. The grand finale had the massive band laden with percussionists, trumpet players and what not, walk through the audience playing popular Texas anthems, leaving the audience in the state of frenzy. They collected under the Tower and the picture you see above is how it ended.

The common thread that connected all the events was the undying everlasting longhorn spirit. The spirit here at UT [and any other university I guess] is awesome, but what’s brilliantly brilliant about it is that you get drowned into the spirit as soon as you step into university. The pure passion in the faces of the longhorns while chanting out TEXAS spreads like a healthy virus into the blood of even the 5-day-old freshmen. The Bevo horns, the sports and basically the spirit is freakishly uniting. I never felt so united in my school and I like my school!

Classes have begun, I have moved into my dorms, I think I’ve found my friend circles and I am going for the Football [American] game today – so I think I have officially settled in, “gotten into my groove”, “found my flow” and all that rot. I went for soccer tryouts and didn’t make it - I wasn’t good enough, but I now know what I need to work towards. I might be blogging for UT this year – I’ll get to know next week [fingers crossed]. The weather is nice. My dorm is nice. People are nice. Good times. J

P.S. The girls here are pretty darn hot. But it’s depressing; they are so hot that they are out of any league that I can think of. Ahh life!