The bit where I explain about Lee Dong Gook and the blog
My blog is about going to the match. Usually football, but sometimes baseball, basketball, even ice-hockey if there’s nothing else going on. I first went to watch my football team, Middlesbrough, nearly forty years ago and they are still the only team whose result I care about. I enjoy living in Seoul, South Korea these days though and the six thousand miles distance from Teesside means that it’s not really practical to get to many Boro games. So that I can still get my fix of live action I make a point of going along to as many sporting events that I can in Korea.
When I first arrived in Korea I decided that I’d keep the link with Middlesbrough by following Jeonbuk Motors. The reason for that was that one of their strikers used to play for us. Every now and then, often during a World Cup, an Asian player will catch the eye of the scouts and managers of the clubs in the West. He will head off for a better paid contract, a chance to play in a more prestigious league and the cynicism of the fans of his new club who will readily assume he has been bought mainly as a ploy to increase football shirt sales in his home country.
In January 2007 Middlesbrough made its long-awaited strategic move into the Asian replica kit market by signing Lee Dong Gook. He wasn’t a big success though and a year or so later he was gone. He had struggled to make much of an impact, scoring just two goals and, I suspect, selling even fewer shirts. But the Lion King, as we were told he is nicknamed in Korea, was the only tenuous footballing link to home that I could find and so it was him and his team Jeonbuk that I thought I’d make a point of watching.
Truth is though, I can’t really get worked up about whether they win or lose. It’s not like following your own team where a late goal can make or break your week. It’s great watching the match, but I’ve generally forgotten the score before the players have left the pitch. It’s a shame really, as Jeonbuk has been pretty successful in the time I’ve been out here and it would have made a pleasant change to support a team that has a chance of winning something.
What I have found more enjoyable is the ‘ground-hopping’ thing, watching games in as many as possible of the different stadiums throughout the three divisions. That’s surprised me really, as whilst I’ve always liked ‘doing stuff’ I’ve never really seen myself as someone who ticks things off a list before.
However, once I get into something I tend to do it to excess and so I’m working my way through all of the football stadiums, the baseball stadiums, the basketball arenas, even the horse racing tracks. I like live sport and I like seeing new places so there’s a certain logic to it. If that wasn’t enough, I’m into hiking too and am doing my best to get around all the National and Provincial Parks whilst I’m here.
I write about the matches that I’ve attended and the hills that I’ve walked up mainly so that I won’t forget what I’ve done when I move on to somewhere else. I know from the number of visitors that the blog gets that it isn’t something with a wide appeal. In fact almost all of the hits come from people searching for bears, pomeranian dogs or celebrities in various states of undress. That’s ok though, Korean third division football isn’t really a subject with much of a following.
This isn’t one of those blogs where I’ll be giving you a load of details about my life. It’s not really about Korea either as I tend not to have much interest in their news, politics or whatever the current talking points are. Unless the current talking point is a new stadium being built somewhere. I don’t care if old biddies shove people to get on the subway or feel patronised if I’m complimented on my chopstick skills. I don’t listen to K-Pop if I can help it, why should I? British Sea Power and I am Kloot sound just as good on an mp3 player in Korea as they do in the rest of the world.
I won’t be rattling on about my job, ranting about colleagues or pointing out how my opinions are much more valid than those of other bloggers that see things differently to me. There are plenty of other people in Korea covering that ground and besides, I don’t blow my top about the minutaie of everyday life in person so can’t see the point in doing it here. If any personal stuff does make its way in, it’s because I have a tendency to wander off my subject. I usually get back on track at some point though.
All I do is go to the match and then write down what I saw and thought. It’s about Korea in the sense that the match took place in Korea. It doesn’t make me an expert on the culture, just someone who knows how to catch a bus, find a stadium and sit there for a couple of hours with a beer in my hand. Most of the time. The information might be handy if you live in Korea and are planning to watch a bit of sport or hike up a hill. I’ve tried to put some detail in as to how to get to places, where to get a bus or a train, that sort of thing, because it’s information that I often find useful in a blog. Alternatively if you go to the match anywhere else in the world the differences and/or the similarities to the football that you watch might be of interest to you. If it seems a bit dull, well, that’s possibly because it is. I tend to include a few photos in each post, mainly to break up the monotony but also so that I don’t have to write quite as much.
So, thanks for visiting, even if you did somehow arrive here whilst looking for photos of Paris Hilton without her blouse on.