Monday, 19 January 2015

GENTING CASINO COVENTRY BLAZE

University's a bit too stressful, so I decided to take a trip to the GENTING CASINO COVENTRY BLAZE at The SkyDome. Not that it reduces any stress, Coventry are one of the worst ice hockey teams I've had the misfortune of setting my eyes upon - terrible line changes, a complete inability to hold onto the puck, and to top it off their powerplay is atrocious. I come away feeling sorry for them, although thankfully their fans seemed to have mellowed since pre-season - tends to happen when you lose every week.

Somehow they managed to get away with a 3-1 loss midweek against Braehead, after being 1-0 down after 19 seconds. The powerplay misfired then too, and Braehead managed to score shorthanded. This time they managed to stay solid while a man up but the first two Cardiff goals came seconds after their full compliment had been restored.

I sat next to a friendly middle-class couple who had no idea as to the rules of the great game of ice hockey. They used to go to London Irish, but got fed up of seeing them lose, I would suggest then that Blaze probably wasn't the wisest choice of 'upgrade'. (Incidentally Irish have won their last two matches, both by two points). They were nice; very taken with the novelty.

Maybe I should start inviting people. Which is a terrifying thought; actually having to converse with my friends. In fact, much of the stress has been from neglecting these very friends of mine - much of the time it feels like friends are very hard to come by, with life far too full of acquaintances, but this is, frankly, ridiculous.  That said, they're nowhere near as good for my fitness as these ever expanding walks.

Recently I've been finding it difficult to talk to those from university, how does one go about translating conversations at 'work' to discussions in spare time? It always feels so forced, and unwanted that I stopped trying a fair time ago. Those in Gristhorpe Road have fled to various far-flung lands, and I feel on the edge of other troupes. People don't like wrestling, ice hockey, or post-hardcore so it's become somewhat easier to not even try and coerce them into going. It obviously, works both ways; even on those times that I very much would like to venture out of my cocoon it's rare to be asked.

So instead I shall venture out alone, for it is much simpler. Yu-Gi-Oh will always be waiting for me on my return. This is totally a cry for help.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Falling Out of Love

Falling out of love with a sports team isn't something that's happened to me before, and so it's disappointing to have become alienated with Bracknell Bees, the only decent thing to come from Bracknell, especially when it has nothing to do with what's happening on the ice.

September 7: I paid for a jersey with forward Ryan Watt's name on the back. It set me back £45, but you need the proper attire to support your team! The process for buying is unusual, instead of paying with a card or in cash you transfer the money to a bank account and then e-mail your order. So, £45 goes from my account to Bees', and an e-mail gets sent. I didn't even think about the fact I never got a reply, I just assumed it'd be two weeks - although to complicate things further you need to pick them up at a home game which I usually can't get to because I live nowhere close for most of the season.

October 11: The first time I got to see Bees since my jersey order was in Coventry against Milton Keynes, the evening before I'd tweeted asking if I could pick it up from Coventry but received no reply. This time I put it down to the fact I'd asked too late, it was past midnight on the day of the game when I tweeted, and I never got a reply.



October 30: This time Bees were playing at Telford, and again I tweeted asking if I could pick it up at the away match, although this time I'd learnt my lesson and left three days before the event. Again, no reply. Surprising when the account is obviously manned - retweeting fans' views after each game, and they even replied to me when I was looking for the link to buy the jersey.



So it had now been weeks since I first asked whether I could pick up my jersey and received absolutely no reply, and two months without any contact whatsoever from the club, and I was getting slightly worried.

November 2: Finally! Contact! I received a reply via e-mail:

Matt,
Aplogies for the delay in response, I am moving house this weekend so not able to keep up with things as much. Your shirt will be ready for collection at the Manchester home game next weekend.
Regards
Ben


Excellent! All I wanted to know is where and when I could pick it up, I wouldn't have minded at all if they'd just got back to me a little earlier, but it's sorted now we're all good.


November 8: Game day! Manchester Phoenix came to the Hive, and I got my jersey. Everything. Was. Good. Except I didn't get my jersey, the Supporter's Club had absolutely no idea I'd ever ordered a jersey - almost two months to the day after I ordered the jersey. Two months. Infuriating but they promised me to get my order and it'd be there in two weeks, and to make up for it - seeing as I'm not there very often - they'll post it to me free of charge. Annoying, but okay.

December 8: A month passed, no sign of the jersey.

December 12: At last, a date I could finally expect to get hold of it.



December 20: Instead of getting the jersey posted I was home for Christmas by this point anyway, so I went along to watch Bees play Bison, and get my jersey. 104 days, 3 and a half months, over a quarter of a year but I finally had my hands on it. I was genuinely incredibly excited to put it on, I ripped open the plastic. It was too small. After 15 weeks of waiting the jersey was too small. I went back to explain that this wasn't what I ordered, and I admit I used a naughty word, not at the person dispensing the jerseys but at the situation, I was absolutely gutted. She got angry, and I tried to diffuse the situation by explaining that I had been waiting a long time, but she just directed me upstairs in a fashion that I didn't feel was appropriate for the situation. I admit I was wrong to use the language I did but I hope people can empathise why I let one expletive slip. This is even disregarding the fact it seems a horrible double standard to go to a sport where you encourage men to fight one another, but that's a separate issue. Upstairs I explained to the guy in charge, and I double checked I had sent the right details. He said he'd talk to Ben - as only Ben can handle the refund - and get it all sorted. I thanked him and went to watch the match - Bees blew a two goal lead to lose in the shootout.

December 21: Ryan Watt was let go, one day after I 'received' a jersey with his name.

December 22: I received another email.

Matthew,
I have spoken with members of our supporters club about a conversation about your Watt jersey that took place on Saturday. Please come up to the hospitality suite on the 28th December or the next game you are coming to and Andrew and I would like to get your perspective on the conversation that you had with supporters club members before we make a decision on what course of action to take.
Regards,
Ben

This, to me, was somewhat insulting. I had waited for weeks for a piece of merchandise and you're trying to summon me for a hearing before deciding whether - I assume, and I admit it's just an assumption - I can continue coming to Bees' matches? Or if it's about the simple decision on whether a refund is in order, there's no argument. There literally isn't a case to be made in the favour of Bees. I replied, and for fairness sake I'll post here as I've been documenting his side of the correspondence.

I probably won't be coming to another game before going back to university, unfortunately. I was incredibly frustrated that an item I ordered three and a half months ago was the wrong size when it eventually arrived - the day before the player was actually released from the club. I admit that I used inappropriate language, not TO anybody, but the reaction of the supporters club was completely unempathetic to the situation. Unfortunately it soured my entire evening, and my relationship with the club in general after attempting to get in contact with management for months. Not only did I spend £40 on a jersey I never received, I also then wasted £16 on coming to collect the non-existent jersey. 

January 7: I'm still waiting for a reply. Sixteen days after sending my e-mail, and four months after paying for the jersey I'm still awaiting any official response from the club. It's somewhat heartbreaking to say, but I don't think I'll be going back.