Saturday nights down at FC Davis

FC Davis game 032418 sm

There is a new team in town. Well, a new football club. Soccer, that is. They are FC Davis, and have been playing for the last few months at Aggie Stadium, on the UC Davis campus. We have been to a few games already, starting with the 1-1 draw against the East Bay Stompers (yes, Stompers), who had one tall player that had a big bush of hair and scored a penalty (you can see him below). Many fans were making reference to him being the Lion King because of his mane, which I think he seemed to enjoy, especially when he scored; he was definitely their main player. Lots of the people attending I recognized from AYSO, being a soccer coach myself, and while it wasn’t a big crowd it was a fun, local atmosphere. The kids of course just loved rolling down the grass verges behind the goals, that’s what you do when you are 9 and 10. It was a bit confusing having the field play on an American Football gridiron – the soccer field was laid out in barely visible yellow marking, much wider than the football lines, and on one occasion at least a player took a throw-in from the wrong place. I was expecting a Mexican wave to start on the other side of the stadium, one bloke to stand up, then another person thirty seats away, and another even further, but it didn’t happen. The sun went down, and it got quite chilly, and the game ended in a 1-1 draw (or ‘tie’ as they prefer to say here).

FC Davis players 032418-b sm

The club have an interesting colour scheme of black, gold and white, though we only saw them play in white (with gold numbers on the back; the FIFA kit police would not like that). Their badge is a lion; I’m not sure the connection of the lion with Davis California but a lion it is. I’m sure the same can be said for other teams with lions in their badges too, such as Chelsea (no, that is from the lion in the arms of the local Borough of Chelsea), England (no, those are Richard III’s coat of arms), and Aston Villa (ah now that one has a lion for no reason other than lions are cool). Still it’s a more interesting symbol than, I don’t know, a bike or a cow (with apologies to Oxford United fans, and I know it’s a bull). The FC Davis lion is quite stylized though; my son thought it was supposed to be a monkey, so we now call them the Golden Monkey Lion Kings, and I am sure this nickname will not catch on. I also don’t think my new fan song “One Lion” will catch on either, a reworking of the famous 1996 Lightning Seeds / Baddiel and Skinner classic. It goes “One Lion on the shirt, Water-Tower still gleaming, Three months of hurt, Never stopped me dreaming.”

The next time I went they totally went and won for the first time at home. They played Napa 1839 (who very sensibly have a wine bottle as their badge; I wonder if their nicknames is The Bottlers? I don’t know but I already have a slew of potential headlines about them, if ever I have to sub-edit their match reports for a tabloid paper: ‘Napa Caught Napping’, etc and so on, I’m sure there are lots of good wine and bottle ones, ‘Napa bottle their opener’ if they lose their first game for example) (many apologies to Napa for this by the way, got nothing against you, it’s just these headlines would work really well in the British gutter press). So FC Davis won this one (there’s no way they’d get me to write match reports, I go off on more tangents than the Argentine midfield), and Napa sported a two-tone green outfit. It was a close contest, but when FC Davis scored the winner the goalscorer took his shirt off to celebrate with the roaring crowd.

FC Davis match April 14

The third and most recent game we went to was against FC Academica. I kept saying it didn’t matter what the score was, “it was academic”, but nobody seemed to hear me. This was a good game. Academica were pretty tough, and took a commanding 3-0 lead. But as it turns out, FC Davis have a a lot of lion’s courage in them, because they came in the last 20 minutes back to tie it up to 3-3, and really should have won 4-3 but had a free kick disallowed (I think VAR would have probably rectified it). It was a very exciting end to the game. I sketched as much of the match as possible (click on the image below to see in more detail). I haven’t had a chance to come to any more games but it was fun sketching them, hanging out with the family and friends and the players on our team, having pizza and beer, and it only cost five bucks to get in. Go Golden Monkey Lion Kings!!

 

FC Davis 042818 sm

Sorry, ‘Golden Lions’, that is the real nickname. If you’re local and interested, you can visit the FC Davis club website: https://www.footballclubdavis.com/ 

Advertisements

our world cup…

Davis World Cup 2018 sketch sm

So the Davis World Cup took place last weekend. Our team (Serbia / Davis Spurs) didn’t make it to Monday, we won one but lost three, but it was good for at least a couple of the other Davis teams; New Zealand / Davis Hurricane Raptors (10U Girls) won their competition, Namibia / Davis Frostbite (10U Girls) came runners-up in the other 12U competition; China / Davis (U16) won their competition; Germany / Davis Sivad (U14 Boys) lost their final 4-3, while in the U19 category, Austria / Davis Hotspur (U19 Men) won their world cup final 2-1, and France / Davis (U19 Women) won their final 7-0; for many of those players this will probably be their last, as it stops at U19. Very emotional! There were a LOT of games over the weekend. And as mentioned in the last post we had a sketchcrawl. I was only able to sketch one game, another 10U Girls game (Faroe Islands / Davis Riverhawks vs Cayman Islands / Menlo Park). I’ve coached some of the kids on the Davis team before so was pleased to see them win. Now before the sketchcrawl I held a little demo, well less of a demo and more of a talk, well I read from the book I wrote about five-minute-sketching people, and gave out schedules and maps for all the games in the park that day. That was fun.

There are more sketches posted by other sketchers from this sketchcrawl on the brand new ‘Let’s Draw Davis’ Facebook group:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/383785982124525/

I know, Facebook is Facebook, and to be honest I rarely use it now except for Let’s Draw Davis, but it’s a handy way for people tom post their sketches from the monthly events. We do of course have a page (maintained by a couple of other local sketchers): https://www.facebook.com/LetsDrawDavis/

And  if you are interested in learning more about the Davis World Cup, visit: https://www.davisworldcup.org/

Now, we look forward to the FIFA World Cup in Russia this summer… I can’t wait to do another post about all the kits. This year they are incredible!

goodbye euro 2016

Euro 2016 GER-ITA

What will you do, now that it has gone, now that it is over? Euro 2016 is finished, Portugal walked away as champions, and that is that, no more football for a little while. Well, the football wasn’t always of the highest quality – it is international football, it rarely is – but there were a few good games, and a few historic results. Here are the last few sketches I did during some of the games, starting above with Germany beating Italy. Sorry, technically Germany did not beat Italy (they never actually have, in a competitive tournament), they drew, and it went to penalties, hilariously bad penalties, penalties you would not believe. Simone Zaza. I did enjoy the creativity of Twitter after his very odd pre-penalty river-dance routine.

Euro 2016 POL-POR

Speaking of penalties, Portugal played out another draw, this time with Poland, beating them on swift and well-taken penalties. What else happened? Lewandowski scored in the 2nd minute making everyone think “this will be a great game!” but it wasn’t, and I can’t remember much else. Ronaldo probably took his shirt off.

Euro 2016 WAL-POR

Wales were the last British team to exit Europe (if only there were some useful contraction to describe that phenomenon). Seriously, Wales got to the semi-finals of the Euros. I was starting to imagine that they might in fact go on and Do A Leicester. It was that sort of year. In the end, they Did A Tottenham, sis us all proud but ultimately fell down just before the end. They wore that black and grey kit (I must say, I don’t like it much) to play Portugal (who also for some reason wore the away kit, that odd teal number (I don’t like that either). It was a decent match though, but Portugal had enough to get past the Welsh, who frankly suffered from losing two of their best players (Ben Davies and Aaron Ramsay) due to simple yellow cards (UEFA, your stupid rules ruin these tournaments). If they had played, I’m pretty confident it would have gone to 120 minutes or penalties, like all of Portugal’s games.

Euro 2016 FRA-POR

And so the Final at the Stade de France. Portugal looked like they were going to stand aside and let France do what was necessary in order to win the final at home, until they realized that France just couldn’t do much. Portugal defended rather a lot. It was a terrible game, but in the end Portugal won it with a wonder-strike by a player who Swansea didn’t think was good enough, Eder, a kind of modern-day John Jensen but in reverse. No, the Final was notable for two things – moths, and Cristiano Ronaldo. So the whole stadium had been invaded by billions of moths after some clever sod left the floodlights on all night. It was an invasion of moths. Anyway, a little while into the game, the Portuguese star Ronaldo was tackled and fell badly, his leg hurt. He tried to play on, like Gazza in 1991, but eventually collapsed. He sat on the pitch in tears waiting for the medics to come and get him. The camera did a close-up of him, and at that moment a moth came and landed on his face, as if to lick up his tears of sadness. What a cold, heartless moth. He was too sad to even swat it away. I know he gets a lot of stick, but I felt sorry for him, and he didn’t need some giant moth creature coming up and taking the mick out of him and feeding on his tears. I wondered whether the moth actually said something to him, like “Lionel Messi sends his regards”, Red Wedding style. All I knew is that when Ronaldo went off I knew, from the flashbacks to Gazza in the 1991 FA Cup Final, that this game would end up going to Portugal. And that’s how it went. It took a long time and a lot of very uninteresting football, but they came together and did their captain proud. He was Happy Ronaldo again by the end. Maybe that moth actually said to Cristiano, “don’t worry my man, we got this” and rather than just flying about randomly, they actually influenced the game, distracting French forwards, swerving the ball away from the goal, doing whatever meddling moths do. Remember that little moth Gandalf spoke to when he was imprisoned by Saruman on top of Orthanc? Same concept, but with football. Happy Ronaldo. Sad Messi, but that’s another story. So, Euro 2016 is over. The Premier League starts in August. Cannot wait…

how to stay in europe

Euro 2016 IRL-ITA

I love this Euro 2016 football tournament. I love Europe in general, let me be clear about that – I was born European, and will remain European. The EU referendum news is fresh, new and bitter – and Cameron just resigned a few minutes ago – so to cheer you up again, I’ll bring it back to the football. I’ve often been frustrated by the European Football Championships, the less fun little brother of the World Cup. Perhaps it was the Years of Hurt – as a fan of both Ireland and, yeah, England disappointment went hand in hand. I still have a celebratory t-shirt from the famous Ireland victory over England back in 1988 (“These boys made history” it read, my mum got it for me from the Irish festival in Willesden Green). Despite some World Cup fun times since, the Republic of Ireland have either not qualified or just been rubbish at the Euros. England, well, Euro 96 was a fun ride, with a depressing end. These Euros have seen Wales, England, Northern Ireland and now the Republic of Ireland qualify for the knockout stages in dramatic fashion. Kind of pales into insignificance now with the political earthquake of “Brexit”, but while the two final group matches played yesterday lunchtime I sketched them both simultaneously (I do love split-screen). Ireland beat Italy 1-0 with a late winner, and I leapt off my seat, fist pumping. Even the Italians celebrated with the Irish. Both Ireland teams in the next round! Wales and England too! And Iceland, who are close enough to Scotland! Another of the teams I like, Belgium (I lived there for a year, during Euro 2000 funnily enough, I lived opposite the stadium where England beat Germany) beat Sweden, and I sketched some of them to, Belgium in their cool away kit. The outcome was finely balanced, but Belgium scored about 20 seconds before the Irish did, and suddenly Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s international career was over. There he is there, looking rather like a comic villain, Dick Dastardly but without the evil smirk. At least he wasn’t throwing on-pitch tantrums like Ronaldo was (though at least Ronaldo looked more like he cared, and scored a couple of goals out of it – not free kicks, of course). Zlatan has left the building – “Zlexit”, as I’m calling it.

Euro 2016 BEL-SWE

I sketched these partly for practice. I just finished writing a book about sketching people in five minutes (coming out in the Fall!) and one section is about sketching people playing sports, live, so these are my efforts. There’s no football tomorrow, either. Well it’s already tomorrow now. But two days without football, just as all these teams celebrate staying in Europe, and what goes and happens? It all starts up again on Saturday – Wales v Northern Ireland! – and then the big one for Ireland against France on Sunday (6am wake-up for me), with England v Iceland on Monday. Allez les Euros.

all-stars on the fourth of july

2013 little league t-ball all-star game

I just got back from my son’s little league t-ball All-Star Game. It’s the second time he has taken part, and it was a very hot July 4th Independence Day morning. Very humid too, unusual for Davis. We are in the middle of a really strong heatwave out here in the Western US, and we’ve had temperatures of between 100-111 (or more, some reported) for the past week. That scuppered some of the afternoon practice sessions, but the all-star game itself, made up of kids from various different teams, was early enough not to be in the scorching heat. I felt sorry for some of the older kids. Afterwards we went over for the pancake breakfast.

Happy 4th of July!

sketching at the little league

littlest league

t-ball at the park
My son is playing t-ball again this year, for the second time. T-ball is little league baseball for the very young. They don’t keep score, play two or three innings, everyone gets a chance to learn. I sketched a little at his second game of the season – he plays for the Diamondbacks. He’s an old hand now of course! Sketched on a sunny early evening at Community Park, Davis, in my Moleskine diary. Not easy to sketch these types of things, especially the bit where he was about to bat, but fun trying to capture it quickly. Fun memories!

if there’s a bright centre to the universe…

at&t park, san francisco

Last weekend, we went on a family trip to the ballgame. It was both mine and my son’s first San Francisco Giants game, though my wife and her mom (big Giants fans) had been earlier in the season, when things had been going a little better for the Giants. This game however was crucial – playing the Arizona Diamondbacks, who were leading in the division, and being several games behind we really needed to win. But that didn’t matter – it was Star Wars day, and the Force would be with us!

giants v diamondbacks

Which side of the force was less clear. Stormtroopers escorted the umpires out, mascot Lou Seal dressed as a jedi and waved about a lightsabre, and the opening crawl on the big screen set the scene, hoping that the Giants would beat Arizona and ‘restore freedom to the galaxy’. I love Star Wars, so I loved all this. And maxibig-da-force – the first pitch to the Giants resulted in a home run straight away from Cody Ross, and the ballpark went wild. AT&T Park is a great place. Set right by San Francisco Bay, it’s one of the great stadia of the world. Behind the seat, in the ‘breezeway’ (I think I have my terminology correct, my reference is a Curious George book) are rows and rows of beverage stands and souvenir shops and beer and garlic fries and t-shirts and TVs showing the action.

"imperial troops have entered the base! imperial troops have ---"

 My three year old son is a big baseball fan, though we’re on about the same page in our understanding of all the terms. It’s a simple enough game, someone throws the ball and you hit it and run, complicated by all the subtleties and statistics and terms. There’s a lot of standing around and not-much-happening, but to the baseball fan it’s tense stuff, and while there’s ample time to get up and walk around and get your garlic fries, you really don’t want to miss that three-run-homer or that spectacular catch. It’s typical to compare a big sport to the big sport you follow, but baseball is a completely different type of game to football (and I know little enough about cricket, though I kept calling the pitcher the ‘bowler’, and shouting ‘howzat!’ every time someone caught the ball). No comparison there may be to footy, but being a Giants fan is a lot like being a Spurs fan. Last year we were World Series champions/beating both Inter and AC Milan, this year we’re losing by baseball scores. It’s a frustrating life, made more so by success.

luke at the giants gamekris at giants game

There’s my son Luke above left, and my brother in law Kris on the right, the biggest Giants fan I know. He in fact took me to my only other baseball game, at the Oakland A’s, back in 2002, the first time I came to America and the first time I tasted garlic fries. I wore a Spurs shirt that day, but here I wore a Giants top. I did however spot a guy in an Arsenal shirt (he stood out a bit); after the previous week’s 8-2 drubbing by Man United, baseball scores probably felt a little light to him. Hey, you can’t let an 8-2 Arsenal defeat go without comment, can you? (And after Spurs lost 5-1 to Man City, it was pretty much the only thing that could cheer me up!) 

first page of moleskine #9 under way... top of the ninth, you might say

Decorating the breezeway walls were framed examples of old Giants kits. As a football kit fan I’m hugely excited by baseball jerseys, since they are so classic, and (usually) so unchanging. This one is from the early 60s, and the differences to today’s tops are very subtle. This aspect of the sport adds to its classic Americana feel. Baseball loves its heritage, and the Giants especially, with statues of its great players dotted around the area. Below is Willie McCovey, beside McCovey Cove, where many home runs do splash (it’s not like Henman Hill). I can’t pretend to know much about these guys, but I will say this – what an amazing view, with the Bay Bridge in the background, and baseball players really do look like lightsabre-wielding Jedi, don’t they?

giants jersey 1962willie mccovey statue

The Force alas was not with us. The Arizona D-Backs (seriously, the fans sing that?) won the game, and will probably win the division. As Vader might say, “NOOOOOO!!!!!” (and don’t EVEN get me started there…) But we had a great day out, and Luke ran the bases after the game, and I got some nice sketching in, and it was a great family day out, so in a way we did win, from a certain point of view.