Archive for June, 2012

Who was that Masked Man?

June 27, 2012

That title (a hat-tip to the 1960’s Lone Ranger tv series) might date me, of course!

I spend breakfast-time most days listening to music and reading up on the latest on social media, plus links stored up from the previous day. It kickstarts the brain. Well, it does mine, anyway. However, today, my reading was tinged with sadness.

Out of the blue, the bloggers at We Love Local Gov announced they were closing the site down. No more will there be piquant, thought provoking, occasionally hilarious daily chapters from people who have always “got it”, to send me on my way once the final dregs of tea have been drained.

The news came just hours after the end of the #lgovsm tweet up about encouraging more blogging in and about local government. Particularly from within it. That made the We Love Local Gov news all the more of a shock, though I have to say I was quickly in agreement with this blog post from Dave Briggs of Kind of Digital.

I posted on the final WLLG blog my thanks to them for setting what I described as “the gold standard”  Three years of a solid, well-written and well-argued daily blog is one hell of a legacy. I hope that, as Dave Briggs said, they do end up being an inspiration and encouragement to others, and that others will want to, as it were, carry the torch from here. That is, of course, what the WLLG bloggers hope for, too.

The #lgovsm session suggested that although there are many local government bloggers, there are even more would-be ones who are being held back, or are feeling held back, by poor IT infrastructure at work, or (more commonly) by fear of what senior management might think, say or do, the moment the blog goes in some way “off message”. This is desperately sad, of course, especially as the view is often based on an un-tested assumption about that management reaction.

This is leading many to blog anonymously and outside their work context, but is leading many more to conclude that blogging is just too risky at a time of highly politicised, cash strapped local government. I understand that, of course, having been on the receiving end of my fair share of idiocy and knee-jerk reaction in my time. WLLG contributors remained anonymous, of course, but in their case, it enabled them collectively to convey a far broader context and content than any one blogger doing one job in one local authority could ever do.

So, thank you WLLG. All power now to the likes of Comms2point0  and Weekly Blog Club and a gauntlet thrown down to the rest of us.


…with a little help from my friends.

June 20, 2012

Hello. Have you missed me?

That seems a better way to start than with another grovelling apology that it’s been a while now since my last blog. To be honest, there’s not been a great deal going on in my sporting life that I’ve felt much like writing about. However, for the sake of continuity, and in order to get a particular issue off my chest, here’s an update.

I started racing again in May. I’ve run about six times in all since then, including a couple of relay legs. The news is good and bad.

The good is that my troublesome right calf now seems much more stable. I am taping it with kinesio tape each race, but it has stayed in one piece so far. Thanks are due in huge measure to Mike Fossett, my sports masseur at Southcote, for persevering when I was, frankly, close to giving up on it altogether. Also good is that I’ve finished in the top two or three in every race I’ve had, so far. Important, because it confirms that my relative performance is generally ok.

Why is that important, you ask? Well, it’s because the clock will show that, so far, this year’s times have been simply awful. I am a full second down, at least, on where I’d want to be over 200m and half a second at 100m. The reason is basically the weather. Every race I’ve had has been severely affected by headwinds and crosswinds. I was delighted a few days ago to be warming up for a Kent Masters League fixture where the wind was, if anything, coming from behind. Five minutes before the race, it swung a full 180 degrees the other way…

The bad? It’s between my ears mostly, I think, although Jesper Dahl, chiropractor sans pareil seems to have found muscle and bio-mechanical issues for me to work on in training. My calf  hurt when running pretty much without major relief, from January 2011 until recently. The pain and frustration was huge, and I’ve written about it in previous blogs. Now it seems to be, at very least, on the way to mending, yet I appear to be unwilling or unable to trust it and really put down the power when I sprint, for fear it will once again let me down. The slightest twinge in it had me backing off in a recent 100m race, where a win and a season’s best time was a likelihood. Not being prepared to push it that little bit further lost me a 200m League race the other day, too.

Answers on a postcard to the usual address….

I was due to race in the Southern Counties masters championships at the beginning of June. As it happened, it would have been a filthy cold, wet day to do any sort of sport (remember the day of the Queen’s Thames Pageant? It was that one) but it never actually came to it. Not just for me, but for everyone else who was entered. The Championships were cancelled a few days before the first gun was due to be fired. Reason? The organisers were simply unable to get a complete or in any way adequate team of officials, marksmen etc, to allow the event to go ahead.

In all the years I’ve been competing, this is, I am sure, the first time this has happened at an event I’ve entered. I was quite shocked, too. Not in the sense of being annoyed that I couldn’t race. Certainly not in the sense (particularly with hindsight) that I couldn’t get out there with my camera and record the event. No, I was shocked because it really brought it home to me how completely reliant my sport, and doubtless many other sports too, are on volunteers who give up their time to skillfully administer our competitions. From the bloke who takes the entries right through to the lady who makes the teas, we athletes could not do what we do without these selfless helpers, many of whom have amassed great skill at how Masters Athletics meets should work and what Masters Athletes are like. OK, some might say that holding a championships in the middle of an extra-long bank holiday weekend was not a good idea, though I am sure that the decision was not taken blindly. And it does not alter my key point, that my sport is dependent on the officials who give their time freely and voluntarily.