Friday, May 26, 2006

pre world-cup practice

Last night I went to the centre of the world's third (some say second) largest Greek speaking city to the arena where 95,000 people gathered to watch Greece, the European Football Champions, take on the Australian 'Socceroos' in a pre-cup 'friendly'. Thousands more gathered in the city to watch the game on big screens. I volunteered to help out on the Salvo Face-Painting team as a bit of a personal warm-up for the World Cup. The crowd, as happens on these occassions, was happy and determined to enjoy themselves at a big Footballing event. These things happen only rarely here, about once every four years, as Australia tries to qualify for the World Cup, and mostly fail. It's been 32 years since the last time the Socceroos featured in the Tournament, (and most of those qualifiers have been torment - so close, but no..)

Anyhoo, I got to do a spot of face-painting, and it was pretty good. I got there a bit late because I had to come from work, but for the first hour I painted mostly the blue and white of Greece, or most popularly, a Greek flag on one cheek, and the Australian on the other. Many people with divided loyalties, but then Greek Australians are a large part of what make Melbourne the Multicultural city that it is. It wasn't until the last 30 minutes that I finally started to get more Australians to paint.

It's the first time I've been to the MCG since they've completed the new stand. They got it finished in time for the Commonwealth games. And it's a huge place. 95,000 is a sell out, although I think the ground can actually hold just on 100,000. We were set up outside Gate One, the new Ponsford stand. After we packed up and the game had safely started, I was able, with the help of a Restricted Access pass, to enter the actual stands, and, well, stand! It didn't entitle me to a seat at all, but I got to soak up some atmosphere, and I was there when Josip Skoko scored. Yay! Australia one nil. Had to leave shortly after that, but I saw the goal!

In the heart of the city, Federation square was packed, and Greek flags and Greek Australian accents were heard everywhere. I spent half an hour there, until my train was due to take me home. One thing you can say about Melbourne and Melbournites, they love an event and will come out in droves for it! It's not every day that the local team gets sent of to the biggest competition in international team sports, and we meant to celebrate.

In a couple of weeks I will see first hand how this happens in another country. I've seen big crowds here at Commonwealth games, Rugby World Cup, and now soccer, and know Australians are generally well behaved and friendly at such events. How will the crowd dynamic be different? I'm not a sociologist, I never sought to be one, but one might be interested...

And now some Scores. Australia won, Greece, nil. And last week at the Fusion retreat we played our own soccer friendly. We divided into two teams (that seems to work best for Soccer), and imaginatively named them One, and Two. I was at one with the twos. The result of that game, the Ones Won, with the scoreline reading One 2, Two 1.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

kick off

well, in two weeks time I will be back in Berlin! It's starting to feel that this is true, this will happen, but it's still hard to believe, even holding the airline tickets in my hands.
Anyway, I'm trying to keep a lid on things, and take things as they come, but, Berlin! that's like, in Germany! As Rich Mullins once sang 'Well the other side of the world Is not so far away as I thought that it was' although I'm allowed to change my mind after 25 hours flying with Vietnam airlines I'm sure!

Met some of the Fusion crew yesterday. i popped in on their state retreat, and they seem like a likeable, crazy, and committed bunch. I think we will go well together. Thank you God, for opening this door!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Angels & Demons

Ok, here's the scenario, in this idea for an automaton, as you turn the handle, the ratbaggy, scruffy little angel grabs the guy's ear and jumps up and down and wave's his arms trying to get his attention. There is much good that needs doing in the world, wrongs that need to be righted, evil to be stood up against. Just as he gets the attention of the man, ol' Nick, the pious demon gives the guy a surreptitious little jab in the neck with his trident to distract him. 'Don't make waves', he says, 'What would the neighbours think?'

Martin Niemoeller wrote:

When the Nazis came for the Communists
I was silent
I wasn't a communist
When the Nazis came for the Social Democrats
I was silent
I wasn't a Social Democrat
When the Nazis came for the trade Unionists
I was silent
I wasn't a Trade Unionist
When the Nazis came for the Jews
I was silent
I wasn't a Jew
When the Nazis came for me
There was no one left
to protest

illo friday - Angels and Demons

This is Nick, a very pious and righteous demon. He is part of an idea I am working on for an automaton. Why is it Angels and Demons NOW? This isn't any where NEAR finished! and it's not likely to be before next friday! It's a pity, because it would be perfect for the topic!
I couldn't do anything for last week's topic FAT (I nearly posted an elephant picture...), although I did briefly contemplate using fat as a medium!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The world game

On 1st July 2002, I blogged on watching the World Cup final in Melbourne while other friends were watching the same game (Brazil vs Germany) in Berlin. In slightly less than 1 month's time I will BE in Germany for the World Cup!!! This is kind of incredible, because, although I really want to go to Germany, and for the last 4 years thought the World Cup would be a good time to be there, I didn't do much more than to casually look into it.
At the back of my mind, during my time at the Commonwealth Games with the 'More Than Gold' team, I thought it would be pretty good if I could do similar things at the World Cup. As it was I heard about the work Fusion were doing at the Games, and heard they were planning on going to Germany. I made a couple of casual inquiries, and now, the rest will soon be history!
A bit from their website : Germany World Cup Outreach Arrive in Germany Sunday 4th June 2006 for 4 days of training across the country in readiness for the Opening Night on Friday June 9th 2006. The next week we will be supporting local Christians across Germany when they are running "Open Crowd" Festivals in their cities. Most of the team will return on 18th of June. Click here for Fusion's KickOff Brochure
I will stay on for an extra few days to catch up with my German friends and help out die Heilsarmee with there own World Cup outreach programs, or see if Fusion can use me for another day or so.
I feel God is calling me to do something in Germany, something perhaps more permanent than three weeks of Football festival, this is just another step in that direction. He will open doors when the time is right, and reveal what His plan is for me one step at a time. You don't always notice his leading at the time, but as you look back you can see patterns.
God has made me me for a reason, and has something for each of us to do. The Fusion mix of Creativity and Germany seems a good fit for me for June.
After that, only God knows...