You Gotta Have Faith.

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To be perfectly honest, this piece wasn’t particularly easy for me to write. However, I felt that I should at least make a decent attempt at it, for the sake of having my convoluted thoughts put on record for whatever purpose it may serve. It’s been nearly eight months since that fateful day in Switzerland, and apart from some musings on Twitter, I’ve deliberately avoided writing about Michael Schumacher’s accident here on my blog for…quite a number of reasons. It was a blow of epic proportions to my heart. I literally feel physical pain at the mere thought of that accident. I didn’t want to write about him in uncertain terms. Reading tributes and heartfelt get-well messages have been helpful but they were mere temporary salves to my shattered heart that was desperately struggling to fight fear. I swore to myself that I would only open up about it once something positive came up. Amidst the sea of panic and instability, I chose not to read the damning articles prophesizing the worst, and the influx of negativity that came with them. Schumacher fans have subsequently been called ignorant, in denial, and more, but I simply did not care. Wallowing in alarm and speculation won’t do any good. I needed to step back and prioritize. To quote one of my favourite shows, The X Files: I want to believe. So why do we choose to believe? Why do I choose to believe? Faith, while it may come as easy as breathing, is also something that is a bit difficult to explain. Faith is laying your heart on the line and trusting that you will become a far stronger person no matter what the outcome may be. Faith, at times, defies logic. Faith is that valuable, intangible something that you hold on to. Where there is love and hope, there is faith. Call it The Secret, positive affirmation, claiming it, or whatever, but as a true-blue, ride-or-die Michael Schumacher fan, I simply refuse to roll over and give up when the going gets tough. As one of his most famous quotes go, “I’ve always believed you should never give up. You should always keep fighting even when there’s only a small chance.” Amen, Schumi. We all have different coping mechanisms in times of trouble. Mine is to meditate and to pray. I talked and begged and badgered God and all the saints that would listen. I want him to get better. I need him to get better. Please. If I could somehow transport all of my positive energy towards him just to make him wake up and recover, I would’ve done so in a blink of an eye. Believe me, I’ve tried. This wasn’t just for my own selfish agenda, I am just one of the millions of fans who want nothing more than to hear something positive about a man who, in his own way, has inspired, influenced, and changed their lives. Finally, it happened. A few days after my birthday, I found out through Twitter that Schumi has come out of his coma and has been discharged from the Grenoble hospital. Call it dramatic or even cheesy, but I couldn’t help but shed tears at that moment. I was too overwhelmed by joy and gratitude, and I thought that it was the best birthday gift that I got this year, full stop. I wish I could put this more eloquently, but that moment was proof that the world is full of miracles, and we need to celebrate them as much as possible.   While a part of me is eager to know more about his current state and progress, a bigger part of me is content to let Michael and his family have the privacy that they’ve valued and wanted for so long. If no news implies good news, then so be it. And without an iota of doubt in my heart, I believe that Michael Schumacher—the legendary racer, the son, the brother, the husband, the father, the friend, the man—has already won the fight. Everything else will just be a bonus. 

That, is the power of faith.

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Forza Schumi.

Advert of the Day: The Many Facets of Marc Marquez.

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We all know Marc Marquez is a special MotoGP rider, but who knew he could be a guitar-maker, a chef and a beer-brewer too?

I jest, of course. That’s just part of the advert. Then again, would you really be surprised if this kid can do all of the above too apart from motorcycle racing?

P.S. It weirds me out a little bit to see him drinking beer already. I can still remember the days when he wasn’t allowed to drink the champagne on the podium!

GPOTD: Post-World Cup 2014 Thoughts.

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Yes, I am well aware of how late this is, but I’ve always been fond of the cliché “Better late than never”, so allow me to share some of my random ruminations, observations and verdicts on the fifth World Cup of my football-supporting life:

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Germany. Die Mannschaft. The Krauts. The Nutella Gang. Whatever you choose to call them, there’s only 4 words that can aptly sum up their WC 2014 campaign: They deserved to win.

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Champions of the World, at long last.

 

Mario Goetze made the record books as the first super sub to score a winning goal in a World Cup Final. Bet he never imagined that a single goal would change his life forever when he woke up that morning. Not bad for one day’s work.

Speaking of super players, Miroslav Klose has broken Ronaldo’s long-standing record of most goals scored in the World Cup. Not a bad way to end an international career, eh? What a legend.

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…Can score goals more than you.

 

Germany’s Manuel Neuer deserved to win the Golden Glove and then some. He was an absolute beast and a mountain that rival players could not get through. Move over, Iker Casillas*. There’s a new boss in between the sticks now.

(*Don’t worry, San Iker, I still love you.)

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So good, he plays multiple positions.

 

Please watch the Die Mannschaft’s Victory Party/Homecoming Celebrations. It’s 50 Shades of Hilarious, I tell you.

Spain. To say it was a horrific title defence would be the understatement of the year. They were made to look like amateurs. Their first two matches were absolute trainwrecks and yet I could not stop watching. Time to rebuild and start over, La Roja. You had a good six years.

England. Dear, oh dear. How did it get that bad?

Hardcore fans may not always take the USA MNT seriously, but in this tournament, they have managed to achieve what the likes of the so-called “powerhouses” Spain, Italy, Portugal and England have not: survive the knockout stages, and in the Group of Death at that. Major props, dudes. Major props.

That vanishing spray. Yet another new thingamajig that got a lot of football fans going, “huh?” It always reminded me of shaving mousse and whipped cream. The geek in me thought, “Isn’t that interfering with the ball’s trajectory in some way?” But then again, apparently not because it’s now being adopted in this upcoming English Premier League season. The spray is here to stay!

Lionel Messi won the Golden Ball, making him the “best” player of the tournament. Nothing against him, he’s a brilliant player and all that, but I personally think there were 3 or 4 players that deserved that award more than him. Also, if he’s such the dog’s bollocks, how come he was not included in the FIFA XI of the tournament?!

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Oh, cheer up, Leo! You’re still the “best” in the world (allegedly)!

 

James Rodriguez, meanwhile, seems to be the newest “It Player”. The Colombian managed to win the Golden Ball even if his team didn’t reach that far in the tournament, but for some reason, I’m not quite sold on him yet. Now that he’s moved to Real Madrid, we shall see if he can sustain the good form he had in the WC and prove he’s really the next big thing.

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Will he live up to the hype?

 

Luis Suarez. Ayayay. I groaned and facepalmed so badly when I saw that biting incident. What the hell is up with him and that kind of oral fixation?! As a Liverpool fan, I didn’t even attempt to rationalize or defend his actions. They say genius and madness are sometimes mutually-inclusive, but this is just ridiculous. Enjoy your ban, Luis, and perhaps try to squeeze in some sessions with a shrink during your break.

Pundits, journos and other fans may continue to sing the praises of Lionel Messi, James Rodriguez and the like, but for me, the true breakout star of this World Cup was Germany’s Toni Kroos. Trust me, that guy’s going to be huge.

Best kit of the tournament? For me it belongs to France. Classic and with just the right amount of badassery.

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Sadly, the Official World Cup 2014 Song “We Are One” just didn’t do it for me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s…okay, just not catchy and engaging enough for me. I mean, I found myself humming Shakira’s “Waka Waka” and Ricky Martin’s “Cup Of Life” more during the tournament, so it must have missed the mark somewhere.      

Retirements from international football came down like an unwelcome torrential rain post-WC. I don’t even know where to begin or who to pay tribute to first. Thanks for making me feel like such a dinosaur, guys.  

Ever notice that the players seem to become much-more attractive when they’re donning their national team kits? I’ve done a very non-scientific poll among my football-loving friends (both ladies and gents alike) and they all agreed that players all have that extra je ne sais quoi when they play for their NTs. Proof that patriotism can be sexy.

 

However, now that the return of club football is drawing near, that extra attractiveness and je ne sais quoi are sure to disappear as tribal rivalries shall be renewed. Oh well, I suppose that’s just the way the football bounces…

 

The Bouncebackable Guide: How to Survive The F1 Summer Break.

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Twenty-five days in reality may not be that long, but for hardcore Formula One fans, a break of that duration may seem like an eternity, especially after that crazy Hungarian GP that put our hearts and stomachs through a wringer. So if you’re already feeling the pain of F1-less weekends, here are some tips to help make the days fly by faster:

Join the massive debate/discussion online. The Hamilton vs Rosberg Catfights. Why is the Ferrari so slow? Do you still miss the V8 sounds? You can discuss these and more via Twitter, Facebook, or F1-specific forums. Some sites are better than the others; there are forums that have fellow fans who will absolutely school you in the intricacies of F1 and motorsport (in a good way, though) and then there are some sites that seemed to have hoarded the most blinkered and bonkers fans. Choose wisely, and remember—no matter how hard it is, always play nice!

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Relive the best moments of the past races by watching the highlights and other amazingly useful and educational videos HERE . If you want to re-watch the full races, you shall need to channel your inner Sherlock Holmes, but trust me, there are plenty of…resources out there.

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Kit yourself up with some F1 gear/merchandise via these online shops: UNLAP has a cult following due to its cheeky take on racing events and the personalities that come with it. REDBUBBLE has loads of interesting merchandise created by fans for their fellow fans. HERE is an example of a Redbubble account that has some very cool F1-related designs. And in case you can’t afford them just yet, well…there’s no harm in doing some window-shopping or even creating your own wishlists (hey, Christmas is coming, after all).

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Watch Senna and Rush. Definitely two of the best F1-related films of recent years. If you’ve seen them already, watch them again as I’m sure you’ll find more things to appreciate with each re-watch. And if you haven’t, why on earth not and what are you waiting for?!

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Make your voice heard by starting your own racing-related vlog or blog where you can rant and rave with impunity. If it’s too big a commitment for you, seek out F1 sites that accept fan contributions. You never know, you could become the next Joe Saward or Will Buxton (make of that what you will)…

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Curl up with a good book. A good motorsport book, that is. If you’re unsure what to get or overwhelmed by the huge selection, check out http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/f1-information/reviews/books

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Think you have the mad skills to be an F1 driver yourself? Try your hand at this oldie but goodie YOUBETHEDRIVER online game by BMW Sauber and Intel, which is composed of 3 challenges (Reaction, Pit Stop and Track). Go on then, you be the driver!

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See the lighter side of F1 by checking out the works of these talented illustrators: Cirebox http://www.cirebox.com and http://www.twitter.com/cirebox Rathbone http://www.rathbonecreative.com/f1toons.html Mini drivers http://www.losminidrivers.com Or if Memes are your thing, then check out f1-memes.tumblr.com and giggle your heart out at the sheer silliness of it all.

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Want to find out which F1 driver is your spirit animal? Take the F1 personality quiz HERE  and see if you and your fave drivers are really meant to be. (I got Kimi Raikkonen, and yes, I did answer all questions as honestly as I could!)

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And if that’s not enough… Make plans to go to a GP. Whether it’s your first or your nth GP, just do it. Browse travel websites, ask fellow fans for tips, compare prices, collate all the information and then start saving your pennies. No matter how expensive it may seem, the trip is so going to be worth it. You’ll get there, I promise. Harness the power of positive thinking!

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There you have it. So what do you do to ease the pain/boredom of F1-less weekends? Share your top tips in the comments box below!