Channel 4 News: U.K. snow strands air travellers Correspondent Victoria Macdonald at Heathrow Airport
Story at: http://www.channel4.com/news/uk-snow-strands-air-travellers
Despite knowing that it was highly likely that the Chelsea-Manchester United football game would not go on today as planned in West London (at 11 a.m. my time in Miami) due to, supposedly, the treacherous road conditions caused by the unrelenting snow and ice -or as one website put it, "ran afoul of snow"- I'm still disappointed NOT to be able to see the game on Fox Soccer Channel, which has substituted a game in Switzerland between teams I've never heard of for the canceled game at Stamford Bridge.
Especially disappointing when I am hearing differing stories today on what the actual road conditions around Fulham Road, SW 6 are like.
But then I have many viewing choices in the U.S., and was, of course, planning on watching the NFL games this afternoon, including the Dolphins game here against the Buffalo Bills and C.J. Spiller, whom I wanted the Dolphins to draft back in May.
Those choices I have put in rather stark perspective a strong sentiment I heard often yesterday and today on BBC Radio's 5 live about the much-discussed idea of the Premier League following the Bundesliga in Germany and taking a winter break, so that games are not scheduled when you know in advance that the conditions could be quite problematic weather-wise. http://www.bbc.co.uk/5live/
After the jaw-dropping World Cup debacle in South Africa, where the English National Team performed perfectly miserably and looked old, slow, unenthusiastic and not-so-talented in their last game against Germany, there were many knowledgeable callers to live 5 in the immediate hours afterward who said that one of the many things that needed to be done to make ENT relevant again, was to finally end the idea of playing games at times of the year that don't make sense weather-wise. http://www.thefa.com/England
It was said often that this continuous playing of league matches, daily practice plus games in various UEFA tourneys and the FA Cup that pay big money and have much prestige, leads to players being worn out in ways that even vacations to the sunny climes of South Beach can not mend.
My own experience is that you tend NOT to get 'fresh legs' in South Beach.
Well, yesterday, the opposing sentiment to this notion of a winter break came in fast and furious and I must admit, it's self-evident nature caught me a little short.
"Then what are we going to do in the winter?"
Hmm-m...I hadn't actually thought of that!
On this show and many others I've heard since this summer, one caller after another has volunteered how much their own childhood memories of Christmas had to some degree been shaped by the Boxing Day fixtures on Dec. 26th, big games that I have watched for years from afar, but read about and followed in newspapers, magazines and books, and now online, for years, since they tend to get more mention historically.
They're NOT just regular season games because people's memories of this year's holiday will be shaped in some part based on how their own team does, regardless of what division they're playing in.
For some fans of more modest means, this may be the one home game they go to all year, or the only one they attend with their family and not their friends from work or the neighborhood.
That's not insignificant.
In some ways, though it's far from an exact comparison, those Boxing Day football fixtures are England's version of the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys always playing on Thanksgiving Day, and those NFL games becoming part of the national consciousness in ways that other NFL regular season games don't. If you're a sports fan, esp. a devout one, they become almost a subconscious part of your memory.
Real American sports fans of a certain age can even recall great games or foul-ups from years gone by that happened in Turkey Day games, even when they didn't involve their own favorite teams.
The 1993 Dolphins at Cowboys game, featuring Leon Lett, comes immediately to mind, though that is of a different sort, owing to my being a Dolphin fan for 40 years, since I still recall games I was at from 1971 and the Perfect Season of '72.
The idea that English sports fans would have little to choose from for their spectator or TV-viewing satisfaction is something that can't be underestimated.
There's no NBA or NHL or NCAA college basketball, men or women, plus the lack of the corresponding youth and High School teams in these sports to the extent that is true in the U.S. and Canada.
It's simply a different sporting culture.
I'll have more to say on this issue of a winter break for Premier League teams in the future, just wanted to share a few thoughts now since it seemed a propos.
Earlier today, just before Noon my time, I received my daily Channel 4 Snowmail, with Chief Correspondent Alex Thompson penning his pithy overview of stories that'd be appearing later in the night on the Channel 4 newscast, with weather being an integral part of that.
He asks a very reasonable question that nearly everyone seems to be asking,
"It is almost invariably lorries which stop [U.K.] motorways in snow... Why is this state of affairs allowed to continue?"
On the roads there is still serious disruption. It is time to tell a simple truth here: it is almost invariably lorries which stop our motorways in snow. They cannot handle the hills, they drive too fast too close (as every motorway-user will testify) and they jack-knife. As I write an LPG tanker's gone over on the M25, closing the motorway that is rarely far from crisis on a balmy June afternoon. Why is this state of affairs allowed to continue? Why cannot the haulage industry - including their heavy clients like the supermarkets - be instructed to take their fleets off the road for the six to 12 hours needed, once or twice a year?
You can read more and comment on Alex Thomson's blog at
We will not starve. We will not run short of fuel. Life will continue. And most of all the motorways will function far better because the gritters and ploughs can get through. In any case - since when was a very expensive truck, static for eight hours on a motorway, good for anybody's haulage bottom line?
Video of jack-knifed lorries:
At the end of the Snowmail it grimly reads:
WEATHER WARNINGS OVERVIEW
There are several weather warnings being issued by the Met Office, see them in full: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/
TONIGHT Snow showers will continue in northeast Scotland overnight and outbreaks of snow will spread into the far southwest. It'll feel bitterly cold everywhere, with severe frost, ice and freezing fog patches.
The snow in the southwest will spread to most of Wales, the south Midlands and southeast England during the day. It will be another very cold day with many places staying below freezing.
There's no sign of a break in the bitterly cold weather. Snow and ice will continue to be a problem throughout the week.