I have done many, countless cricket games and have been stuck in media rooms, my cars or left the stadium and gone shopping whilst it has rained.
In Soccerball, they play on – unless there is lightning.
Before the big ball game, I took Baggy Bird to meet some of his Miami Dolphin cousins in the rather disappointing Dolphins Club Shop.
I love extreme weather. I like it very cold and love it when it is very hot. Today was hot. The Honduras fans having Tailgate Parties in the car park. You would not see down at The Villa!
Baggy Bird met some friendly Blues fans. After feeding him beer, they were chuffed that they had met the Baggy Bird that they had seen on Twitter! It made my day and hopefully wind up some who read this blog! But for me it was great to meet such open and pleasant football fans who acknowledged their rivals with a bit of banter with utterly no hate.
In the stadium, one of WBA’s most famous fans was finding it a little warm too.
Uncle Roy was lucky though, he had a big fan next to him!
Was someone was pouring water onto a sauna stove somewhere? It was getting hotter and hotter.
Then BANG! The first clap of thunder.
My game plan was to abandon the game should it rain. Regardless of waterproof clothing, Canon rain covers, chamois leathers etc. Earlier in the season, one little monsoon-type downpour at Manchester City resulted in some pretty hefty repair bills and endless logistical heartache of trying to borrow cameras. It was bad enough collating some gear from some very kind colleagues to do a friend’s wedding. The next game was the opening game of the FIFA World Cup Final even though I am very carefree, it was not worth the risk.
The ref left the field as though he had sent himself off and after some discussions – the game was suspended.
A huge announcement on the big screens leaving everyone with no doubt in what had happened.
You could tell that the first few drops of rain that it was not going to be light drizzle. The clouds meant business.
With no shame myself and about ten other English photographers escaped down one of the service tunnels with all of our equipment before the rain got too much.
It rained hard, it rained fast, it rained big.
I hid in the inner sanctuary of the stadium, sitting on a cool concrete floor.
Then we heard it was game time again. Upon stepping back out onto the field, it felt like another day.
It was fresh, very fresh.
Although Baggy Bird was happy being in Miami…
Mr Beckham appeared to be questioning his decision – rather like me in Boston yesterday.
The tackles flew in, a Honduras player got sent off but there were no goals.
Perhaps England had not scored any goals – the keyboard warriors and any radio callers would be crying out for Uncle Roy to be sacked.
But, perhaps just like me, mentally they had endured a good work out.
They had learnt not to respond to provoking tackles, elbows and the frustration of playing against a Central American team.
Journalists can waffle, write around a subject, relate to statistics – radio presenters can talk to disgruntled fans back home – but photographers need exciting eye-catching images to get the attention of picture editors in order to get work published and thus paid or adhere to contracts.
In the chill of the cold air-conditioned media room after the game, everyone looked exhausted. All the photographers were drained. It was pleasing to hear reflections that the game was a tough one to cover.
It was approaching 1AM back in London, so there was no mega rush to syndicate late material – especially when there were no incidents.
Photographers put up Facebook, You Yube, anything to kick start their brain into having the enthusiasm to go through the shoot and edit the days haul.
Today was one of those days that I would snap and gladly give a Glasgow Kiss should someone suggest that because my arms were going brown that I was on holiday and shooting football is easy.
Yesterday I didn’t care. Today I did care. But again I needed pictures but I didn’t have any!
The masters of turd polishing excelled as others took to drinking caffeine to awaken their souls.
At least my physical condition was sorted out.
The diagnosis – Air Con flu
The simple remedy – Switch off air con, sweat it out in hot baths or on the streets!
With VAT returns on spreadsheets now with the accountant, I only have to send out a mass of invoices out before the journey to Rio.
If my goal was to clear my big list of things to do then I have achieved that with flying colours. I want to go to Brazil with a clear head, nothing to worry about and to just concentrate on what I am there to do.
If my goal was to amass a great set of stunning images that would rock history then I am about five light years away and without a space craft.
Hopefully the latter will come in the next month or so!