Follow your dream the Robbie Grabarz way…

Sometimes an ordinary day out becomes an epiphany.

And what a day out at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham last Sun., 26 Aug 2012 for the Aviva Diamond league Grand Prix athletics meeting. The Olympics effect continued in the numbers attending and was reflected in the delight of families and young and old enjoying a great day out. With my wife  Jane I walked from Perry Park to the stadium listening to French and Urdu, Polish and Black Country voices – and Brummie.
Inside the stadium, the organisation was slick. Everything went like clockwork; and the smiling volunteers…black, asian, white, mixed, mirrored the athletes and exemplified Birmingham’s ethnicity working at its best. Oh, and at last a proper sunny summer’s day as well.

We were treated to see Mo Farah in sublime form, great American athletes like Aries Merrit and Carmelita Jeter, GB’s Christine Ohuruogu, the Kenyans, Jamaicans, Russians…apologies to those I don’t mention; they were all there!

But what inspired me was the story – so far – of 24 years old Robbie Grabarz, a GB athlete, a high jumper who lives only a stone’s throw away from this wonderful Birmingham venue (the home of Birchfield Harriers) where Robbie hones his craft. In his own words, Robbie (a Cambridgeshire lad) was ‘skint’ last year. And at a crossroads having seen his Lottery funding axed; he could drop his head and give up, walk away from disappointment, feel crushed. Or do something else. That something else that makes the difference: dig deep, find your inner resolve, fight for your dream. That’s what Robbie did in the year that followed. He gained an Olympics bronze medal, in Laussane he broke Steve Smith’s 20 year high jump record with a lifetime best jump of 2.37m. With the help of his coach and good people around him, he won in Birmingham on Sunday ahead of Russian Ivan Ukhov. I believe he will do yet more in the future. Onwards and upwards – Where else for a great high jumper?

Robbie’s story – believe in your dream, work hard to achieve your dream – accept helping hands along the way; that’s how you make your dreams happen. For his victory in Birmingham he got $10,000. If he succeeds tomorrow in Zurich he tops the Diamon league (Thurs 30 Aug.) and wins $50,000. In his own words, when asked how that sum compares with his earnings for 2011, he said, ‘About $50,000. I’ve worked my ass off to get where I am now – I feel like I deserve it.’

Writing might seem a long way from high jumping. But sometimes as a writer it’s necessary to raise your personal bar, overcome your doubts and get your result. Learn from Robbie Grabarz.

Okay, I’ll lighten up now  – hey, see photo of me and Mo together doing the Mobot! Is Mo that tall or am I so short-arsed?

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Young people are great…

  • You posted a comment in Simon English: Sorry Saga people, but you’re not the only ones suffering · 2 hours ago

    Not good, not good. This article by Simon English is a sad reflection on professional business and economics journalism. As an extreme right wing (or even red-top!) polemic it’s brilliant – and brilliantly sickening. (I remember why I read the Independent.)
    QE has caused a disproportionate effect on people with private pensions – ‘money purchase’ schemes. Middle aged now, as they approach and enter retirement they will be poorer. Why? Because gilts have fallen in value and the pension pot managers look to the future – rely on the long term. QE has kicked the rug from under them.
    English’s impoverished argument is that ‘…effect of QE is to make…equities more attractive…”. So – the assets of the richest 10% of the population get richer – by 300 times more than the poorest! Who was QE designed to protect?
    I just hope that the Government look closely at the B of E report. Then ask just which, if any, of their social policies has QE helped? Ordinary people matter more than corporates. Where has the money gone?
    And back to Simon English. Please, Simon, analyse, be objective, fight bias; cheap shots and a green-eyed monster attitude belittle. Your predecessors worked damned hard for what they have.
    Peace, Tom

Clever marketing or a wee bit sneaky…?

What do writers/readers think? Is this an extremely smart marketing ploy or something like a punch below the belt? In other words riding on the coat tails of a big named author.  (Hmm…my surname is Bryson…). Also how do you write a parody before the original is out? I must say the book blurb made me smile…even made me want to read it. Wonder how Jo Rowling and her publisher feel though! Anyway here’s the  story:

‘Pan Macmillan is moving early to publish a parody of J K Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy before it has even been released or its plot revealed.

World rights in The Vacant Casualty by Patty O’Furniture were acquired direct from the author by non-fiction publishing director Jon Butler, after the idea was prompted in-house. Patty O’Furniture is the pseudonym of writer Bruno Vincent, co-author of books including Do Ants Have Arseholes?.

The book has been released by Boxtree as an e-book, priced £3.99, and will be published in hardback on 13th September at £8.99.

The book is set in the English town of Mumford, where all is quiet, apart from the man with the axe in his back who is staggering down the street, leaving a vacancy on the Parish Council. It features Detective Inspector Bradley, a “plodding buffoon, incapable of detecting his own backside”, who teams up with a writer researching a detective novel, and together they blunder towards the identity of the “vacant casualty”, hoping to get to the truth before everyone in the town is murdered.

The publisher said: “In this potty-mouthed, depraved parody, strewn with casual violence and sexual deviancy, you’ll discover granny mafia, farting tea-ladies, car chases, serial killers and lashings of tortoise milk. But no immigrants. This is the countryside, after all.”