Women’s Football Hype

In response to my previous post on gender equality a friend of mine jokingly sent me a link to a youtube video showing how great women’s football was. Alright, it was really a collection of bloopers and complete football “fails” showing that women cannot hope to be as good as men at playing football – at least not in the foreseeable future.

But wait…

OK, fair enough, I thought. You could easily cobble together a similar video of hopeless miskicks and similar mishaps from the men’s game (even at the top level). It must be the big kid in me but I can’t resist this… Then I read something about a top ladies’ national side being humbled by a team of 15 year old boys. I had to investigate further – in the interests of gender equality research you understand…

Feel free to look this up. I did; and I found that it was indeed true. The Matildas – as the Australian ladies team are known – got a proverbial kicking from an under 15s boys’ team. Losing 7-0. Seven nil! In a country where football is arguably only the 5th sport for men while the Matildas were reportedly the 5th best in the world of women’s football at the time.

You can read another article about this game here…although this article seeks to make excuses for the loss it seems to me that the boys were just too good and completely waltzed around the Matildas. Pun fully intended.

When I dug deeper I found that it was not a one off. It has happened on many occasions…

Sweden, USA and more…

In 2013 the Swedish ladies team lost to AIK, an under 17s team from Stockholm. One report hinted that after going a goal behind, the women’s team coach asked that the boys might even take a defender off the field and play with only 10 “men” (boys surely?) to give the women a chance. Although it seems that they continued with 11 players. The boys won the game convincingly; 6-1.

There are even several accounts of the USA ladies – arguably the top side in women’s football –  being taught how to play the beautiful game by a group of boys. Including one as recently as April this year when they were soundly beaten by the FC Dallas U15 boys…read about it here.

Then I found a link to a report about an under 15s team beating the German ladies national team – supposedly 3rd best in the world. Most of that boy’s team were actually playing in an under 14 team!

Media Hype…

It’s funny how the media (especially the BBC) never mention this when they try to push women’s football down our throats. Such is the lack of real sport on the BBC these days due to the subscription channels buying up all the best (or at least most popular) sporting events including an almost complete monopoly on top flight football, that they think they have no alternative but to present women’s football as a real alternative. It isn’t and we all know it isn’t. So why does the BBC pretend it is? Work that one out for yourself.

I wonder if any of the national ladies’ teams will challenge a boy’s team ever again?

Forget gender equality. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that while clearly women are better at some things than men, then so too, it works the other way around. But you can’t say that if you work for companies like Google it seems (please look it up – google it in fact). And so it goes on….

What a bizarre world you are growing up in Dani…

Gender Equality: Why men and women can never be equal.

There seems to have been a lot about equality between the sexes in the media recently. Maybe it’s always there in the background and I have only picked up on it more recently. One thing is for sure; the hard-line gender equality debate has overtaken what is often referred to as the old (and much softer) ‘battle of the sexes’.

There are always stories doing the rounds about the “gender pay gap” and gender inequality when it comes to promotion. The media are even giving air time to some lunatics who are raising their kids to be “gender neutral”. They think that if we all did this it would give boys and girls (although you are not actually allowed to refer to your offspring in those words) an equal chance in life. Can you believe that!? I don’t want to but sadly it’s true. Such people are out there.

As hard as it is to accept, the truth is that men and women will never be equal. To put it simply they cannot ever be equal. Not a chance.

Name Calling….

Right. I can hear people calling me now. Sexist, bigot, anti-woman, dinosaur, mysoginist, male chauvinist pig (oh, now there’s one you don’t hear that one much these days. I wonder why?)

Now just for the record; it should be obvious from my age that I grew up in the era of “sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never harm me”. I could not tell you how many times I heard that phrase when I was growing up. Either myself or other kids saying it. Often parents, drumming it into their children. And guess what? It really is true despite what the social engineers try to tell children today. It worked back then and could work again given the chance. Fat chance though. To use a favourite quote of boxing promoter Don King: ‘The chances of that are slim to none. And Slim just left town.’

But let’s not get too carried away. For anyone even thinking of calling me names I suggest you continue reading…

How? Why?

“So” I hear you say. “How is it that men and women can never hope to be equal?”

I am going to explain and it is incredibly simple.

Young children need their mother more than their father. It’s called nature. It’s the way it is. It does not matter one tiny bit how much we men think we can do the same job as a mother; we can’t. Accept it fellas. We cannot compete with women in this arena and usually come a very distant second. How simple do you need this explanation to be?

It doesn’t make me envious of Dani’s mother. It is a reality however and I just accept it. That is not to say that it makes me feel a little inadequate at times. When he has been hurt or upset and only his mum will do I can’t help feeling a little useless. While he is so young I too want to be able to console him, cuddle him and let him know that I am also there for him. Sadly, the truth is that in those tender years there is nothing a dad can do to compete with the mother. Nothing. Nada. Zero, zip and sweet FA.

There are of course times when the mother can’t be there (some, often sad, cases when the mother is no longer there) and men do try their best. But it is definitely not the same. When kids get older this natural instinct (for that is what it is) becomes less obvious. Less automatic. At some point it appears to cease altogether; but does it really go away completely?

Obviously, no mother can be on hand 24/7, 365. At such times, children of a certain age will allow themselves to be comforted by their dad (or grandparent etc…). Given the choice however they will always instinctively head for their mother.

That’s a fact of life fellas so just accept it. In the ‘Game of Life’ we are second best in that event and always will be.

On the other hand we could all march through the streets demanding equality. But what would be the point? Trust me. We can never hope to be that equal.

Three New Superheroes

Three new Superheroes

You might think that there are enough Superheroes out there already. But you would be wrong. How many is enough for a 3 year old (going on 4) with the hyperactive and infinite imagination that kids have?

Dragonfly

Superhero: The Movie is a spoof on the superhero genre of films. The majority of the story mocks the basis of the first Spider-Man movie but also a few other Marvel films. Instead of being bitten by a radioactive spider the “hero” in this parody is bitten by a radioactive dragonfly. I normally give these type of films a wide berth but when it was shown on Spanish TV recently I did watch most of it and thought it was quite funny.

Meanwhile Dani was playing with his toys and I thought he had not even noticed the film. But he had…

When asked who his favourite suprer hero is he usually lists one or two. Invariably Iron Man gets a mention and sometimes Spiderman, sometimes Batman. Now he adds Dragonfly! As if Dragonfly is a real superhero.

Wait a moment. What am I saying? Are Iron Man and Spider-Man real? Well no of course not; but at least they are supposed to be genuine fictional characters.

Note: I do try to tell him that Wonder Woman – the 70s version – is better than them all but he is not taking the bait.

Meanwhile here are two that Dani’s old dad made up; and Dani has taken on board as his own…

Medical Man

Origin: A cheap version of the Playmobil sets his mum bought when on a work trip to Prague.

Medical Man is a doctor by day. By night his alter ego allows him to fight the villains using a clever set of career based skills. He dresses in a white lab coat and blue trousers. Just like a doctor in fact. His disguise is merely a cape with the letters MM and a surgical facemask.

Special Powers include:

    • Ability to repair (cure) his own injuries using his extensive medical knowledge – naturally!
    • Putting his enemies to sleep by injecting them with various medicines that he has stolen from the hospital store room.
    • Super hearing powers due to his stethoscope with built-in amplifier.
    • Climbs and swings from building using the extra strength waterproof bandages – again, liberated from the hospital’s storage room.
    • He leaves no fingerprints because of course he always wears surgical rubber gloves.
Medical Man – a clinical hero. It’s said he works in both NHS & Private sectors.

Star-Jumper Man

Again this character came from a cheap Playmobil-like set. He was just a mild mannered train passenger who just happened to be sporting a green jumper with a large yellow star on the front. Very seventies! I used to have one similar with 3 yellow stars. He is a super hero with no discernible abilities apart from suddenly being able to drive the train. I think Dani likes him because of his outfit. Well, Captain America gets away with wearing a blue jumper with a white star. Star-Jumper Man uses different, more earthy colours. That’s enough surely.

One day my son will realise that these superheroes were just a figment of his dad’s imagination. Until then I am going try to make them seem even more real and sit back and enjoy the fun. Or maybe I should approach Marvel comics with my ideas?…

Star Jumper Man. That 70s fashion sense is not to be underestimated
Star Jumper Man may be small; but he’s a grafter!

Telling Tall Tales

All the small ones tell tall tales
Walking home and squashing snails.
Baggy Trousers – Madness (1980)

It is such a great age for both of us. For Dani he is at that age where he can now communicate in various ways. He can express himself well enough and ask questions – including that favourite most repeated one; “Why?”

For me it is even better. I can spin the biggest most ridiculous made-up stories and he will more or less buy into them. Hook line and sinker. Providing I do it convincingly enough. (For proof of this look out for the next post about superheroes.)

I wonder how much longer that is going to last? When will he realise that his daft old man is telling him completely ridiculous porkies? He is already getting wise to me.

He seems to know when I am deliberately taking the piss. Not a complex tale of nonsense but a quick and deliberate thing – like just being incredibly childish.  Here’s an example.

If I say something to attract his attention – especially in an animated way or displaying a certain degree of urgency – even if he is engrossed in a game he will eventually respond. Then when I just tell him “Ah. Nothing” he immediately grins. He gets it. He knows that I am messing about. After a short pause he will then do the same thing back to me.

“Daddy. Daddy. DAAAADDY!”
“What?”
“Nothing”

Or to be more accurate; “nussin”. All done with a huge grin on his face.

For the moment though I still have a full poetic licence to conjure up intricate and stupid tales. The lad is even trying to tell his own tall tales. And I love it.

Health Matters

Last week in a Blogpost on the sad case of Charlie Gard I said I was going to write some comparisons between the health systems on offer in the UK and Spain so here goes…

Apologies. This is a longer than usual post but please stay with it as I believe it is an important one.

This is based on…

My personal experience is limited in both countries – thankfully. From a personal health point of view I have been a national health service outpatient and a private patient. Nothing major but enough to be able to compare the two countries.

Naturally I have also observed the Spanish system through my young son for his regular medical check-ups, inoculations plus the odd illness and subsequent hospital visits. The usual child’s scenario

The Public Sector…

I don’t want to detail all my hospital visits on the NHS but suffice to say when I was doing more sport I had several injuries that required visits to the nightmare that is the Accident & Emergency (A&E) departments of hospitals in various towns. I also know what it is like trying to get an appointment to see General Practitioner (GP). Over recent years I have made similar visits to hospitals or doctors clinics in Spain.

While the NHS in the UK is completely overburdened – at breaking point –  the Spanish public health system, generally known as the Sistema Nacional de Salud (SNS), seems comparatively underused. The appointment booking process is much easier and waiting times are far less than in the UK’s NHS. Even the waiting times in the A&E departments are far less than the infamously overstretched NHS equivalent.

The Private Systems…

In my brief experience of the “private” system in the UK I had several appointments and a scan. The course of treatment also included 10 physiotherapy sessions The cost of my annual premium shot up considerably the following year.

There are so many types of policy I cannot possibly speak with experience on all of them but generally, in order to book an appointment to see a specialist in the UK, requires your GP to make a referral. As I am sure everyone in the UK knows it can take weeks to get an appointment with a GP. This means that there is an inherent delay built into these private policies. This is true for most private policies in the UK – maybe all; I really don’t know. If you know please tell me.

The two systems are not run completely separately in the UK. Doctors, consultants and other specialists spend part of their valuable time between both systems – no doubt with a reasonable amount of travelling time between the two in some cases.

When I was a child this kind of thing was always referred to as “robbing Peter to pay Paul”. Shared resource in the health sector does not work and is one of the key failures for both private and public sector health care in the UK. Both private and public systems suffer as a consequence.

In Spain there is some sharing of consultants/specialists but it is not as widespread. Plus the private hospitals have their own dedicated staff. If you use the private sector you can feel (more or less) safe in the knowledge that you are not using resource shared with the public sector (and vice versa).

There is no A&E for private health care in the UK. If you need to go to A&E then you face a lengthy period of time in the waiting room. Four hours plus is commonplace. That was certainly my experience on the several visits I have had to A&E in UK hospitals, going back over a 20 year period.

In Spain the private health system runs in parallel and completely separate. The health companies have their own clinics and hospitals which includes the equivalent of an A&E service. The waiting times are almost zero when compared to A&E in the UK. Bliss.

I know from experience that on the odd occasion Dani has woken with a fever or shown signs of a rash, within minutes of arriving at the private hospital he has been seen by a doctor.

You can book your own appointment to see a doctor – effectively the equivalent of a British GP. You can book an appointment to see a specialist directly, without going via your own doctor (GP).

Cost comparison…

In the UK a few years ago I was paying over 60 pounds per month for a system that does not include A&E treatment.

In Spain, I would pay about €65 (Euros) as an individual but can get it as cheap as €35 through an employer’s scheme– that’s less than half what it was costing me in the UK. As if that is not good enough the premiums have not increased., despite me having used the system several times.

In Spain you can get fairly comprehensive cover for less than half the price of an average package in the UK. Not only that, you actually get a good, dedicated service with hardly any waiting time, any time of day.

I don’t know for certain how they manage to do it but they certainly seem to offer a much better service in Spain. This is true for both the public and private sectors.

Here is one simple theory.

How? Why?

In the UK the NHS is a national disgrace and needs completely rebuilding in my opinion. Yet the private health service is also incomplete and not fit for purpose. I believe that Spain has a much better health service. Let me try to explain why.

It’s basically a numbers game. In Spain, so many people have private health insurance. This could be as part of their salary package or they will pay for it themselves. The fact that so many people in Spain are using the private health systems means that the numbers using the public system are greatly reduced. This allows the Spanish SNS to cope far better than the overburdened British NHS can ever dream of doing. I realise that many people have similar deals in the workplace in the UK but those schemes are nothing like the Spanish private health system as explained above.

The appointments process is not only more efficient in Spain – for both public and private systems – but there is far less waiting time when you arrive at the clinic/hospital. Again, this applies to both private and public services.

The Spanish private health system is what private medical insurance should be; and that is probably why it is so widely used in Spain. The biggest argument against private health care in the UK is that the NHS invariably suffers. The Spanish systems prove that this does not have to be the way.

Puzzling…

One thing puzzles me however. What is going on in the world of Radiology? What is it about that occupation? I have had x-rays in both countries and even in Spain the wait times are grossly out of proportion to all the other services. If anyone reading either works in radiology or knows someone who does, please let me know why this is.

Original Expectations….

I said when I started this blog that Dani might expect the best of both worlds. In this case I believe he has the best two options simply by being in Spain.