Saturday was a good day for me. After a couple of days of dithering about whether or not to go to the Derby game, I had decided to go. The reason for my indecision was that I’d bought the ticket before I remembered that I was going to a concert the same day. I was worried I might not get back in time if there were any hitches with travel. (Think I may be mentally scarred from the time when travel troubles prevented me from getting to a game. We went half way to Hull and back because of an accident on the motorway and a coach driver who didn’t know an alternative route.)
At half time on Saturday I was hoping that Birmingham City could hang on for a draw. They seemed to be doing ok at stopping Derby scoring but useless at keeping the ball when they kicked it out of their half. I only remember Blues having one shot on goal in the first half but what I remember and what actually happened don’t always coincide. I had absolutely no idea of what they were doing differently in the second half but I could see that it was working. And it was a joy to be among a crowd of Blues fans celebrating a 0‑3 win.
When I watch a game I want to see commitment from the players and the fans. A good result is a bonus. I don’t go home unhappy if I’ve seen effort from the players and good support from the fans. However, if the result is disappointing I do sometimes have to make a conscious effort to remember other things that I’ve appreciated. I was disappointed with the draw at Nottingham on Tuesday evening because I felt we could have won. So I cheered myself up by thinking about the welcome posters: I took a photo of one of them (see below) but not of the other one showing a picture of Gary Rowett. Blues fans who asked nicely were allowed to take them home as souvenirs. There was also hot water in the loo; a great blessing on a cold night. I know that I have been more fortunate than many and that some of the angry fans at games are shouting at life rather than at the referee, players or opposing fans. But I do think that happiness is a habit that can be cultivated.
The police gave us an escort away from the ground after the Derby match and the coach arrived back in Birmingham at 6.15 pm, giving me plenty of time to get to the Town Hall by 7.30 pm. So I spent the afternoon listening to the loud support of loyal Blues fans and finished the day listening to the New English Orchestra perform an eclectic mix of popular classics, Scottish reels, Gospel, and new works written for some of their performers. The NEO musicians and choir members are Christians and their togetherness shines through their performances. Their final encore was a rendition of “I heard the voice of Jesus say, ‘Come unto Me and rest …’” A quiet end to a very good day in which I had seen two groups perform well as teams pulling together rather than individuals performing for themselves.