Battleline: London Impressions - The Missourian: Sports

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Battleline: London Impressions

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Posted: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 7:00 pm

LONDON — Things certainly are different on this side of the pond.

If you’re talking about football, you had better use the prefix of “American” if you’re talking about our brand of the game. Otherwise, you’re referring to what we call soccer.

If you lose pounds, that doesn’t refer to weight.

Folks drive on the left side of the road with the steering wheels on the right side of the vehicle. And if you’re trying to cross a junction, you had better be prepared to run for it.

I haven’t seen a stop sign yet and many of the crossings seem to be without signals. There are so many roundabouts that you would think the NASCAR folks designed the road system.

It takes a little getting used to. London has a ton of parks and even more monuments. If you do things the right way, you can take in most of them in a day, even if you don’t take advantage of the “Tube or Underground.”

I was lucky enough to see many of the famous sites in one full day of just walking around town.

The Tube is the fabulous subway system here in London and you pretty much can get anywhere around town via subway, train or bus.

As for the weather, the stories you’ve probably heard are true. I found where autumn went and it’s right here in England. It’s been cloudy most of the time, although the sun did come out Saturday.

There has been rain, light sleet or even some snow flurries through my time here so far. Unfortunately, the weather hasn’t been the greatest during some of the sporting events. It rained at times during my first sporting event, the Arsenal-Queens Park Rangers (QPR) match at Emirates Stadium in London Saturday.

The folks at Arsenal were gracious enough to allow me to shoot the Barclays Premier League match.

I’m sure you’ve heard the stories of English football fans. I shot from both ends of the pitch and was able to be among supporters from both sides. At the English stadiums, the seats go right up to field level with a small track running within the perimeter of the front seats. That’s where the photographers get to do the shooting and gives security a little bit of a gap to stop any potential problems in the stands.

I didn’t see any issues. I sat in front of the QPR side in the first half and the Arsenal side in the second half. The fans seemed to be very well behaved. They sang songs, which probably is what kept them warm. The songs didn’t seem to be derogatory in any way and, in fact, were a lot more tame than many of the cheers you might hear at a high school basketball game.

As for the atmosphere, I would put it somewhere between a Cardinals game and a major college football game, but without the bands. They didn’t need the bands to generate the electricity. There was a lot of team spirit in the air from both sides.

Arsenal’s goal came after a period of prolonged pressure. Mikel Arteta scored the goal after Arsenal had a few chances in front of the net. Jack Wilshere made his Premier League return in this game after a prolonged injury which has kept him out for quite some time. He looked comfortable running the midfield for Arsenal.

In the QPR net, Julio Cesar still looks to be world class despite being sold near the start of the season by Inter Milan. Without his saves, some of them one-handed, Arsenal could have scored at least a few more goals.

The National Football League seems to fly under the radar. The NFL game hardly has been mentioned in the newspapers here. I’m sure the players could walk around town without signing any autographs. They’re pretty much anonymous in this town.

Most of the fans here for the Rams-Patriots game seem to be from the U.S. However, there are some football fans abroad who are taking advantage of having a game in London.

At the Trafalgar Square rally Saturday, the place seemed to be filled. You could find replica jerseys of just about every team there. Talking to one Rams fan, who had both Rams and Cardinals gear on, I discovered he had come down from Glasgow, Scotland, for the event. At the fan event though, it just didn’t seem to be a huge draw.

It was difficult to see the NFL merge with the legend of Nelson and other British naval heroes.

There just doesn’t seem to be a ton of interest in the NFL, unless you’re near Niketown in London, where the jerseys and T-shirts were flying off the shelves Sunday, or at Wembley Stadium.

Many of the fans seem to be curious locals. Almost every team is represented within the fan ranks. I even saw a cheesehead as the media coach drove up to the stadium.

As for the game, the person who decided to forfeit a home game in St. Louis for this should be evaluated.

For starters, this was a home game in name only. The Rams might have worn the home colors and had the cheerleaders, mascot and colors in the stadium, but that was about the extent of any advantage.

Patriots fans outnumbered Rams at least five-to-one. The light rain, which fell throughout much of the game, never happens in the Edward Jones Dome.

The Patriots made the Rams defense look like the pre-Jeff Fisher days. And penalties came at all the wrong moments, stopping drives and helping New England continue to move down the field.

Like New England needed any help.

Trailing the Patriots 28-7 at the half, Fisher should have summoned up the spirit of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and his “we will fight them in the streets” speech.

But whatever was done didn’t work. The Rams lost 45-7, and never really threatened to do anything outstanding in the rain in the second half.

Isaiah Pead did some nice work running the ball later in the contest, but it wasn’t even close to enough to make a difference.

While the game wasn’t anything to celebrate, it was a good experience. Everyone spoke well of London and how they have hosted this event. Next year, they will have two games here. The talk is that maybe London would eventually get a team, but logistics just might not allow that to work at the current time.

See you back on the other side of the pond!

/sports

Area Scoreboard

62nd Annual Borgia Pepsi Thanksgiving Tournament

Blue Division

Pool 1

McCluer North

Normandy

Carnahan

Pool 2

Cardinal Ritter

Pacific

Rockwood Summit

Gold Division

Pool 1

CBC

Soldan

Washington

Pool 2

Borgia

North Tech

Union

Monday, Nov. 24

CBC 77, Washington 52

Tuesday, Nov. 25

Cardinal Ritter vs. Rockwood Summit, PPD

Washington 63, Soldan 62

Borgia 83, Union 50

Wednesday, Nov. 26

Carnahan 71, Normandy 46

Pacific 64, Rockwood Summit 22

North Tech 67, Union 37

Thursday, Nov. 27

McCluer North 95 Carnahan 68

CBC 82, Soldan 55

Borgia 50, North Tech 45

Friday, Nov. 28

McCluer North 93, Normandy 39

Pacific 70, Cardinal Ritter 57

Saturday, Nov. 29

Blue Consolation — Rockwood Summit 47, Normandy 38

Gold Consolation — Soldan 78, Union 59

Gold Third Place — North Tech 63, Washington 57

Blue Third Place — Cardinal Ritter 71, Carnahan 46

Blue Championship — McCluer North 64, Pacific 58 (OT)

Gold Championship — CBC 67, Borgia 66

Boys Basketball

Monday, Dec. 8

Lutheran S 64, St. Clair 48

Borgia 61, Carnahan 51

Tuesday, Dec. 9

Lafayette 44, Washington 35

Friday, Dec. 12

Potosi 72, St. Clair 45

*Washington 69, Ft. Zumwalt North 65

Montgomery Co 62, New Haven 61

*St. Mary’s at Borgia    6:45 p.m.

Bourbon 75, Union 74

Glendale 63, Pacific 46

Saturday, Dec. 13

New Haven 46, Barat 40

Nixa 56, Pacific 46

Tuesday, Dec. 16

*Pacific 70, New Haven 35

*Hermann 67, St. Clair 49

*Ft. Zumwalt South 61, Washington 50

*Union 81, St. James 74

Friday, Dec. 19

*Owensville at St. Clair    4 p.m.

Washington vs. Parkway Central, GAC/Suburban Shootout, St. Charles Family Arena, 5:30 p.m.

*St. James at New Haven    6 p.m.

*Pacific 76, Union 57

Saturday, Dec. 20

Sullivan Shootout

Owensville vs. Rockwood Summit, 11:30 a.m.

Lindbergh 67, St. Clair 46

Jefferson City vs. Jackson, 2:30 p.m.

Washington 56, Lutheran South 54

Poplar Bluff 59, Borgia 49

Sullivan vs. Affton, 7 p.m.

Girls Basketball

Saturday, Dec. 6

Cor Jesu 63, Borgia 60

New Haven 46, Moberly 39

Monday, Dec. 8

Pacific 73, Rolla 40

St. Clair 68, Dixon 37

Washington 54, New Haven 15

Tuesday, Dec. 9

*Borgia 59, Rosati-Kain 38

Union 53, Northwest 44

Thursday, Dec. 11

*Borgia 60, Notre Dame 53

Union 81, Bourbon 53

Friday, Dec. 12

New Haven 45, Principia 30

*Washington 59, Ft. Zumwalt North 32

Saturday, Dec. 13

West Plains 76, Pacific 37

Monday, Dec. 15

*Pacific 46, New Haven 28

*St. Clair 59, Hermann 50

*St. James 64, Union 37

Sullivan Tournament

Cuba 48, Principia 27

Borgia 68, Patriettes 29

Sullivan 56, Pattonville 43

Owensville 78, Farmington 54

Wednesday, Dec. 17

Sullivan Tournament

Farmington 61, Pattonville 39

Sullivan 68, Owensville 64

Principia 55, St. Louis Patriettes 42

Borgia 56, Cuba 38

Thursday, Dec. 18

*St. James 72, New Haven 21

*Union 49, Pacific 48

Friday, Dec. 19

Francis Howell 55, Washington 48

Sullivan Tournament

Seventh Place — Pattonville vs. St. Louis Patriettes, 4 p.m.

Consolation — Farmington vs. Principia, 5:30 p.m.

Third Place — Owensville vs. Cuba, 7 p.m.

Championship — Borgia 62, Sullivan 35

Saturday, Dec. 20

Union at Waynesville    5 p.m.

Wrestling

Monday, Dec. 8

Maplewood 48, Borgia 30

Brentwood 47, Borgia 36

Winfield 48, St. Clair 36

St. Clair 42, St. James 40

Tuesday, Dec. 9

Pacific 55, North County 10

Jackson 63, Washington 12

Farmington 63, Washington 6

Wednesday, Dec. 10

Borgia 36, Lutheran St. Charles 34

Winfield 54, Borgia 30

Thursday, Dec. 11

Union 72, Ft. Zumwalt East 9

Union 52, Principia 30

Union 54, Winfield 27

Saturday, Dec. 13

Union Tournament    9 a.m.

Borgia at McCluer S-Berkeley Tny    9 a.m.

Pacific at Farmington Tny    9 a.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 16

Owensville 61, St. Clair 16

Union 48, Owensville 27

Union 65, St. Clair 18

Friday, Dec. 19

Washington at Raytown S Tny    TBA

Union at Cape Central Tny    TBA

Pacific at Ft. Zumwalt E Tny    TBA

Saturday, Dec. 20

Washington at Raytown S Tny    TBA

Union at Cape Central Tny    TBA

Pacific at Ft. Zumwalt E Tny    TBA

Girls Swimming

Monday, Dec. 8

Washington at Eureka    4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 9

Washington at Nerinx Hall    4 p.m.

LSC/OFC 134, Borgia 101, St. Dominic 83

Monday, Dec. 15

Borgia at Notre Dame (Forest Park)    4 p.m.

Kennedy 88, Washington 84

Wednesday, Dec. 17

Lindbergh 128, Washington 48

*Conference Games

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