What a night

Last night I was working on the audio description team for my local football team Plymouth Argyle, as they won their Football League 2 playoff semi-final against Portsmouth, to win a place in the final at Wembley on May 30th. After commentating on the team through years of downfall from the Championship to League 2 it was great to finally have a night of success at our ground Home Park.

It has been twenty years since we were last at Wembley and our fans are dreaming of Wembley success again this year. Very rarely is our home ground a sellout for a game and that is a shame, as it is always such a great atmosphere when it is.

I was there

The game last night wasn’t a classic by any stretch, but that didn’t matter in a way. When that final whistle blew nobody cared about how good the game was, everyone was just rejoicing and joining together in a proud moment for the team, the fans and the city. It was a night that will be looked back on in years to come, where everyone there will be able to say I was there that night Argyle won their way to Wembley.

It’s the collective experience that makes football I think. A ton of fans, in one space, living through the emotions of the game, for one common cause. People may not have known the people sat around them last night, but they joined in together cheering the team on and I am sure although they might not have got their names, they will remember their faces in their minds when they look back on this day.

Something that isn’t tangible

When so many people in one space are happy, you can just feel something, something that isn’t tangible but it is there. A feel good feeling just goes right through you and for a moment all of the worries in life don’t exist and you are allowed a moment of pure jubilation.

I am hoping beyond any hope that we win at Wembley but whatever happens nobody will be able to take last night and its place in history away. Thanks to the players and everyone who attended last night’s game, you made the experience. Through all of us we all have a reason to be happy and optimistic today, last night something was accomplished that will hopefully lead to greater things for the players, fans and city.

The Leicester City effect

Being a huge fan of football I could not help but get caught up in the story that has been Leicester City this year. Leicester City came from narrowly avoiding relegation last year, to win the Premier League this year, despite being 5000/1 to do it.

I normally don’t bother watching the Premier League trophy ceremonies as they are normally pretty mundane but I actually wanted to watch this one and felt quite sentimental when I did sit down to watch it. Seeing people achieve, what to some seemed like the impossible dream was life affirming and gave me hope.

Finding hope

It is surprising where in life we find hope, what stories really touch us and what captures our imagination. I think especially in the UK we love a good underdog story and I think we are a society that is a bit jaded, so whenever we see something we don’t expect, we get even more excited for it.

Leicester City this season have shown so many great things, but two things have really shone through for me. The first is their work ethic. Everyone on that team is willing to try harder than the opposition, to run longer, to run faster, to be stronger. Everything they can control as individuals, they make sure they do better than their opposition, which is great advice for life really.

When you get the ball

The other thing, which I think has been a great message, is that their style of football this year hasn’t been about having the ball for long periods of time in a game, but just to capitalize on every time they do have the ball. Sometimes in life you are not given an opportunity for long or more than one opportunity. So in life it is important that when the opportunity does come, you make the most of it.

Stories will be written about this Leicester team for years to come but to me this is the first time in my lifetime where a team has transcended the sport of football. I hope this team inspires many people for years to come and I hope looking back, that this is one of the main ways their success is talked about. Leicetser City are what the world needed: A team that came and shook up the established order and said the name of the team doesn’t matter, the prices players cost doesn’t matter but it is what that team does out on the pitch that does.

How do you get back up?

A question I have been thinking about a lot this week is: When bad things happen to people, how do they keep on going, get back up and be happy again? It all came about after my wife and I were listening to some music the other night and the Steven Curtis Chapman song – ‘Cinderella’ came on. My wife then shared the sad story of his daughter and how she was killed in a tragic accident at the family home. I heard the story and was so saddened by it that I just didn’t know how anyone could get back up after something like that happens.

Dealing with life

If you live long enough on this earth it is inevitable that sad things will happen to you or around you. Some people just seem to have more tragic events that happen to them, than others. I think the greatest strength in life is how you deal with life when it throws you things that nothing can prepare you for. I just don’t know how people do it.

I lost my mum at a young age and I got through it, but if I was to try and show other people how to get through things like this I wouldn’t be able to put advice down on paper from what I learned, as I don’t know how I got through it. The whole period when I lost my mum is like a blur and I can’t remember how and when I got through it.

Still standing

A question is how much tragedy can the human soul take? I know people who have been through so much tragedy that I don’t know how they are still standing. When things are going great the world is such a big place but when things turn bad it can make the world seem so small and hard to comprehend. When your life is sad and bad things keep happening it is hard to see the chance of anything happy or positive ever happening again, because experience tells you that it doesn’t, but the one thing I want to say this week is that happiness isn’t dependent on the past, there is always happiness to be found or happiness somewhere around you that can find you.

I think unless you have been in the situation of overcoming tragic events it is impossible to fathom how you do it. Sadly the only way you learn how to do it, is by going through it, everyone has their own different ways but there is always a way if you choose to find one.

Raising hope

It seems to me at times like the world is full of people giving others false hope and raising their expectations unfairly.

A subject that is very close to my heart is dementia. For the last few years I have seen so many newspaper headlines about possible new cures or preventions for the condition, but still a universally available and used treatment seems to me, to be very far away. Don’t get me wrong I am very happy that people are researching it and trying to find a solution, I just wish it wasn’t plastered all over the news every time a possible breakthrough is found. I would just rather hear about it when a tested and proven treatment is found.

Promising the earth

Another thing I see in society a lot these days is people who will promise other people the earth without knowing if they can deliver what they said they have. It seems people are reckless with what they promise, as I have seen so many promise so much and deliver so little. I have been guilty of this too in the past, so now I am trying to be more realistic with what I can offer. I would rather offer little and deliver big than offer big and deliver little.

If someone promises something, it raises people hopes and people start thinking like it is already a done deal that those promises are going to happen. I think it is human nature sometimes to get ahead of ourselves and I think we need a culture change of how we react when people start promising things but more importantly we need a world where people stop promising things that they can’t guarantee.

Help others

I think hope is an important thing to have in life, as without hope, life can feel a little bleak at times. I hate when I see peoples hope taken advantage of or smashed to pieces when they are built up only to be brought down. A lot of my life is based on hope and I would be lost without it, so I want to do everything to keep mine whilst helping others to have hope and keep their hope.

My call to everyone reading my blog this week is to review the promises you make, think about others and be someone who delivers. Never forget how important it is to deliver on things and don’t just give up too easily, make your promises mean something and think about the people you are affecting when you don’t live up to your promises.

Building something with honesty

I started this blog in the summer of 2014, in the hope to build a place where people would come to be inspired, stirred, provoked and to make people think about many different facets of life. Two years on and over 150 blog posts later I am still here trying to do the same things that I started doing two years ago.

Is this blog an Internet sensation with millions of hits – no! Is it doing as well as I hope it would – probably not. Do I still enjoy what I do and believe in what I do – 100% yes.

Fake it to make it

I could come on here and lie and say it is going great guns, put a spin on it using fancy words or not mention anything about how many people the blog is reaching. To me doing any of that wouldn’t be real and would be lying. So many people sign up to the ‘fake it to make it’ philosophy in life and it makes me sad. What have I got to gain by trying to say this is a blog, which is visited by millions? Everyone with an Internet connection has the possibility of one day stumbling across this blog and I really hope they do, but until they do I am just going to keep writing, keep hoping and keep smiling.

The people who have to talk about their audience and numbers are normally the ones that are disappointed by their numbers, whereas I am proud of the 6 people who read this blog yesterday. Yes 6, I’ll admit it, but I am so thankful that those 6 people did, as thankful as if 6 million people had. Things that have a big following normally don’t need to talk about their audience and people just know.

Not worrying about numbers

I would rather just focus on putting out content that I am happy with and proud of than worrying about writing for numbers. Like on Monday I wrote about the extra day we get every four years, not expecting much response at all and I got 4 likes which blew me away.

I could pay for advertising but I just don’t see paying for an audience as a success. I want people to read what I write and be touched by it. I want to feel great when I see people reading and interacting with my blog, not just think that people only came became because I paid for them to come, where is the success in that?

Foundation blocks

I see every blog post as a foundation block. My house may take 500 blocks to build, it may take 50,000 but what I am going to do is invest time in each one and build each one as strong as the last. My advice to every blogger out there is be proud of the content you produce, as good content is the only thing you can control and the only thing you should need to be proud of.

Never stop writing or blogging because the size of your audience wasn’t what you were hoping it would be. Keep writing because your content is what you hoped it would be.

Happy Birthday

So the day after my anniversary, I celebrated my 31st birthday. The sun was shining (which is rare in the UK in April) and due to it coinciding with the Easter weekend, we had a public holiday so I didn’t have to go in to work.

My wife gave me the most amazing and thoughtful birthday (or should I say birthdays a it stretched over two days), which were days of adventure, fun and time together, away from the stresses and strains of life. It was a time to be happy and I think that is an important thing on a birthday. I think there is a reason people wish you ‘happy birthday’, they want it to be a happy day for you and I can say mine certainly was.

Birthdays for many can be a sad event. Some fear growing older, some use it to lament their current situation in life, some use it to look back at sad events in the last year and some use it to feel sad about the future and what it holds. I think some people think: what have I got to be happy about? It is because of some of these reasons mentioned, that some people choose not to mark or celebrate their birthday and would rather it was forgotten.

An Important day

I want to say that your birthday is a special and important day. Your birthday is the anniversary of the day you came in to this world and started making an impact on it, as believe you me – we all have in our own ways. Your birthday is the anniversary of the day that someone or some people cared enough to bring you in to this world and I think that is something which shouldn’t be underestimated or made to feel small.

Your birthday doesn’t need to be a reflection or a look to the future, it can just be about that one day. If you feel things aren’t going your way in life, it can be a day just to forget about them and enjoy yourself. Even if you are in the midst of a tough situation, never feel like you can’t celebrate your birthday or feel bad for doing so. I personally think the world needs a bit more happiness in it and we should use any chance we have to bring a bit more happiness to it.

What you make it

I am happy for my life and I am happy for my time here on earth. I am so thankful for it all and want to celebrate it any chance I get. A birthday can be a day to look at the world and life anew, a day to show others you love them, a day to be thankful, but above all a birthday is what you make it.

Birthdays shouldn’t be judged on number of presents or money spent on the day, they should be judged on enjoyment of the day. Happiness is contagious and birthdays are a great way to spread happiness, so lets make them the happiest that we can.

After responding to all my birthday wishes on Facebook from friends across the globe I put a post up on my page. In that post I asked my Facebook friends that wanted to get me anything for my birthday to instead of getting me a present, to download by book on dementia care, the story of my life caring for my mum. So I would like to extend that to all my brilliant followers and readers of this blog. It would mean the world to me if you made a purchase or helped me spread the word about the book, by posting a link to it on your social media feeds. Below is the link to the book and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all that have supported me in any way over my life, I am thankful for it all:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Unbreakable-Bond-Adam-Sibley-ebook/dp/B00UM6ATBW

Fireworks

This week in the neighbouring city to us (Plymouth, England) they had the annual National Fireworks Championships, last year when it was on me and my wife were away but as we were home this year we made sure we were up there to watch.

I’ve got to say I love fireworks. To me fireworks symbolize celebrations and new beginnings as normally you see fireworks at celebrations, new years or if you are in America 4th of July.

I enjoy a spectacle and fireworks are just that, they are something that amaze and something that anyone who lives nearby can enjoy as no one can stop you looking up at the sky.

In Plymouth this week we gathered with thousands of others to watch and it was great to see how it was a real family event, with all generations sat together to watch the fireworks. That’s the great thing about fireworks, they appeal to all ages and something you can go to as a family.

When I looked around during the fireworks you could just see people looking up and smiling, taking in the wonder of what they were seeing, it was such a great thing to be apart of and such a feel good atmosphere enjoying fireworks in that way.

I have to say a big well done to everyone involved in staging the event in Plymouth and it is fantastic to have an event like it on our doorstep and an event that is free to go to.

Fireworks aren’t going to change the world but I think they can raise your spirits, bring smiles and give you hope.