Monday, 10 August 2015

Protocol


Every time I'm in a meeting at work I somehow retract back to this way of thinking.

What if none of us ever had to think about this ever again?
What if none of this actually really mattered?
What happens if the people we try to appease with whatever it is we're planning don't really care, or maybe worse than that are laughing at us?

I guess we'll never really know, so trapped by the surroundings of the four walls we paint with photographs of better times, we march onwards into the fog ahead.

It makes me want to make a big speech about how we've barricaded ourselves into a corner but I can't because I'm just like everyone else, despite how revolutionary I feel on the walk to work.

Just rest assured, there'll be no more talk of Mecca in this establishment.

Speak soon
Take care
Ben

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

They all have to leave somehow




If you've been reading for a while, there must be at least a handful of you, then you'll remember the mess I was when I first arrived back from Japan.

It was at that point that I decided to call time on writing about mma because I saw too many conflicts of interest and, writing that style there were hundreds.

The essence of a good interview or a great feature is an edge, something that people can get from your writing that no-one else can give them. I remember interviewing Joachim Hansen once and him talking about killing Bono and how he'd survive in an apocalypse, we didn't really talk fighting too much. There's only so many times you can read that, "this is the best camp I've ever had/he's getting finished/this is my time."

Those questions you needed to ask, the relationships you needed to develop, the links you needed to forge. You can't do that and remain a neutral official. You have to be that guy at events who walks away from groups of people if fighters or even representatives from their camp are sitting at the table. You've got to be careful of your social media output because, as a good friend told me, "You're not just an official when the fights are happening."

It was hard to break the habit initially, but I look at judging fights as something I'll always be doing while I still have breath in my body, sight in my eyes and the love of my good lady wife in my heart.

If it wasn't for these pages and a few projects that remain to burn slowly, I don't know what I would have done; probably get shouted at in meetings for writing about cliff tops and rainy days.

A few months back I chatted to the John Gooden for the UFC Octagonside Podcast, here's the link if you've not heard it, and it was really refreshing to get back involved with something like that. The approach was very different in that it was more about the science of judging, and about addressing common misconceptions.

It was a conversation that really got me thinking about judging a lot more and maybe about ways I could address writing about it, but within a more theoretical context. If I could find a way to write informatively and interestingly, but without sounding like I was giving a health and safety speech then there surely could be some kind of positive output.

Those of you who read Fighters Only might be surprised to see a small feature in there from me, but rest assured it doesn't compromise me as a person or as an official. It's not about "he should have done this/this score is wrong because this fighter fights like this" or any nonsense like that. It's a logical look at some illogical things. It's a balance that allows me to sit and let all these things out of my head but still allows me to do the thing I love doing with a clear head and the integrity that is vital for any official to have.

I'm a big fan of Marc Goddard's articles for FO because it's a chance to read things that we wouldn't normally get the chance to, it's there to learn from as well as to enjoy. I think that's the perfect balance.

It's not a comeback. I'm not going to be writing a lot.
It's like anything else in life you can never go back, as much as you'd like to.
We've all changed too much. It's just nice to sit down again and try and translate the purple noise in my head into something tangible. 

Speak soon.
Take Care.
Ben 

Monday, 27 July 2015

Over the Top


We're all set to become the people we never thought we would be, but it's seldom through our own drive. It's through the wishes and wants for those who we will never see, sitting atop in their air conditioned offices, looking out on all that they've changed to move the line.

Teaching represents a lot of different things to a lot of different people but, for me, it's the chance to help people out with whatever skills I've picked up along the way. It can be anything from using a computer, to spelling a word, to doing some multiplication or solving one of the many problems that life in the modern era seems to throw at people. 

That photo above sums up everything I love about the internet.

The availablity of moments so cataclysmic in their nature makes me constantly realise the scale of everything. I'll spend days looking at pictures of abandoned cities, of derelict theme parks, of people who lived in times gone by and buildings of varying significance. 

That photo also sums up everything I've come to dislike about my industry of choice. It sums up the theory of acceptable losses against collateral gains. Every single person in that photograph has a family, a story, a brain, some feelings, some emotions and a whole load of questions but right there in that moment they're simply a statistic. They represent the roll of a dice, taken by someone miles away from the retribution of those decisions.

I'm struggling with the concept of people not having a chance, not having any chance but still being required to plod on regardless. I can't get my head round sending people to do things that they won't be able to do for a meagre gain. The worst part is looking at myself afterwards as I smile and try and convince both them and me, that all of this will make sense at some point. 

It'll make sense for those on the top floor, just not for anyone else. 



Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Impasse


The real question isn't how to we get past this anymore, it's what's on the other side?

At this point there's no way of telling, but maybe that's what makes this an adventure rather than an arbitrary set of decisions. Our view has been tilted to the right by 10 degrees and now all we can see are opportunities, not blistered wood and reflections. 

Who knows where this all finishes and where we all find ourselves, but as of right now, this second; I'm simply glad it doesn't have to end just yet. 



Monday, 15 June 2015

Sunbeams

It's hard not to be happy in these kind of circumstances.

It's impossible to recollect why you were ever stressed or worried about anything. It all seems so far away from whatever was happening or wherever you were previously doing.

We don't do enough of this, nearly enough of this but then it's impossible to spend as much time as you want, doing the things you want to do largely.

We accept this somehow; it's the twisted mantra of the modern world we live in.

Buy a house you couldn't afford without a big loan and leave it empty all day as you work 8 hours a day for people you'll never even meet.

There's no logic to any of what we do but, for a dinner time dip into unconsciousness there doesn't have to be.

We just need to breathe slowly, feel the warmth on our faces and the orange light on the insides of our eyelids. That is all we need to do for those blissful few hours, it's somehow all we've ever needed to do.

Take care
Speak soon
Ben

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Missing

"The whole is greater than the sum of its parts."
 Aristotle

In any other situation I'd probably agree, but to the same token it's the absence of those intricate pieces, the pieces which made that huge puzzle take shape, that I'm struggling with at the moment. 

In my head I know I made the most of it, I'm pretty sure that's the one thing that is constant in all of this.

It's hard to quantify real friendship.

As ridiculous as it sounds, I guess you just sort of know by exactly what you feel. I think that's the hardest bit of this whole spot in a lot of respects. It's only in severe withdrawal do you realise how much you came to rely on those contributions.

It doesn't even matter what they were, it's who they were made by that made them stick in my head like glitter on glue. The memories still keep me smiling but they become simply that with each day that passes. We all become different people slowly but the hope of another sunset is what makes us continue to move forward.

I just wanted you to know that I haven't forgotten about you, about any of you and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't wonder what you're doing or when will be the next time that our paths will cross.

They will do, I'm sure of it.

Speak soon
Take care
Ben

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Chasing Safety


We're always chasing safety.

Anything that's man-made or natural represents a threat to the harmony that we've surrounded ourselves with.

We run from change because the effects of it will never truly be measured.

The thought of being safe, when all around us presents real or perceived danger fills our hearts with a warm hope.

It's a hope that we can't replicate, irrespective of the situations or circumstances we find ourselves in.

We miss the rain on a Friday after work and retreat to the safety and sanctuary of our homes. That first hot drink seems so much sweeter; the first embrace even harder to let go of.

We're taught to grab opportunities but it's hard to take one step forward into the unknown when the other is wrapped in the bliss we've created.

Take Care
Speak Soon
Ben