The whole country has gone crazy! Colombia has not simply managed to get to its first FIFA World Cup since 1998 in France, it has now qualified for the knock-out stages after convincing 3-0 and 2-1 wins over Greece and Côte d’ivoire. They have their last group game on Tuesday afternoon against Japan and all they need is a draw to finish first in the group and, in theory, meet  less-challenging opposition in the Round of 16. 

Everyone is very proud. Bogotá is a sea of yellow shirts with a blaze of blue across them. Or red … there are quite a number of the red shirts around as well. There is a happiness in the air as people forget the day-to-day grind and remember the important stuff … ¡fútbol!

Some thoughts: 

1) One Colombian woman told me last night that, “We have forgotten how to win.” She was referring to the sombre fact that after the opening victory of La Selección Colombiana, people celebrated, and in a few instances to the point of fights breaking out or people drinking and driving. In this city alone, nine people died due to post-match related incidents. I read in the local paper that after the second victory, people in Cali took to shooting into the air, not thinking that what goes up… A poor little nine-year-old girl died. So sad;

2) Why can’t we be there? Uruguay, with a population of 3 million, beat England and still has a chance of qualifying for the second round if they defeat Italy. Hell, that group is led by tiny Costa Rica, who have already qualified for the Round of 16! Why can’t my country of 35 million find its way onto this renowned celebration of the game I love? The answer to my question is actually well-documented; there are lots of reasons, mostly on how the game is organized in Canada and a focus on winning among younger age groups rather than on skills development. Another reason, frankly, is that failure propagates failure; Jonathan de Guzman is starting on the Dutch national team rather than playing for Canada, as are some others, deciding to play for the passport that can take them to the highest stage rather than for the country in which they were born or grew up. I can’t really criticize them, my older brother would likely have made the same choice had he ever got to that level, deciding to play for Northern Ireland over Canada. I wouldn’t, though, and it rankles me that others do. Then Justin Trudeau tweets that Canadians still have Canadians to cheer for at the World Cup! What a freaking *%&#@! A man who obviously doesn’t get it.

3) Why can’t we go out there and win it?! Why not us! Now, of course, I’m thinking of the area where we are a football middle power … the women’s game. Next year Canada hosts the World Cup and I’ll be cheering for our ladies to take it all! Why not? Yes, I know there are reasons why the USA, Germany, et al are stronger, but there we actually have a decent chance for a good run if the crowd gets behind us. I’ll be watching all the games with my Canada shirt on yelling so loudly from Colombia that the women will be able to hear me back home!

Not much about writing in this post. Sorry. If you’re following my twitter feed, though, then you know that yesterday I finished the first draft of Part III, Chapter 3 of The Winter Wars. The Boldring Mountains approach! 

Writing has been slow partially because I have managed to get myself bogged down in map making! It’s not exactly what I want to be doing with my time … I’m supposed to be a writer after all, but any final product is going to require maps. If you’re interested, you can check them out on the Harbinger and Winter Wars pages. Ah, what the hell … I’ll paste them below for your comments:

The Kingdom of Straeland

Josée just finished re-reading Gallows Gem for the first time in many years. She caught about fifteen freaking typos! HOW THE HELL DOES THAT HAPPEN? Let me explain…

Over the roughly six years writing the book, I poured over every single section again and again and again! Then, when I finally had a first working draft finished, I read it a couple of times, looking for mistakes, finding enough to make me pay great attention to catching and correcting them. Then, about thirty people read the manuscript and, at my specific request, marked the typos they found. Each one of them found roughly fifty and the grand irony is that most of them were different from the ones that the other readers found. So, that ferreted out about, say, one thousand more typos. Then I worked for a year on the book with a copy editor. Linda helped me identify a slew of others. I re-submitted the polished bits to her as I went along and rejoiced at my success. Finally I re-read the damned thing again a couple of times to try it out on successive ebook readers (and I don’t actually recall finding any typos).

So, for Josée to pick up the book and find over a dozen typos blows my mind. HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN? An interesting thing occurred as we went over them last night; she pointed out a sentence where I had duplicated the word “the,” putting one right after the other (okay, strictly speaking maybe that’s not a typo). I couldn’t see the sentence, but she pointed to the screen and I read it aloud … my brain skipped over the second “the.” I honestly didn’t even see it until she pointed to the successive words on the screen.

All I can do is shake my hed.

ian at ianmckinley dot com (written this way to guard against spam … you know how to interpret it) © Ian McKinley 2016