White Hart Lane Match Report
BarcampLondon and LAETottenham played at White Hart Lane on Saturday 11 November 2023. Demonstrating skills and set pieces rarely seen at these sorts of events, players of all ages were on hand to entertain, to educate and to thrill the spectators. It was an intriguing game.
Getting the right people in the right place, with the right equipment and the best environment is the key to securing the best performance on the day. Months of planning went into this, with orders placed for chocolates, sweets, Lego, and sunshine! The usual suspects can be blamed for getting that much right.
That team was ably assisted by many volunteers on and off the pitch, before, during and after the game.
The usual suspects did a lot of training in advance, mainly between Liverpool Street Station and White Hart Lane. The team in residence at the venue at White Hart Lane, The London Academy of Excellence, lived up to their name. Their commitment to excellence was clear in the build up, in the execution and in their successes on the day.
From the side lines the sponsors played their part with constant encouragement and support, and their welcome financial assistance. Behind the scenes, the IBM Developer group put in a healthy contribution, though getting official approval to use their logo proved a bigger challenge than expected.
The only bit of training that fell short was down to TFL who (on the day) closed half of the train lines on the Tube in Zone 1. This could not have been foreseen in the long build up to the event.
Warm up exercises are vital to a good performance. Enhanced dexterity is a valuable asset, and when it comes to hand eye coordination, there is nothing better than . . . playing with Lego!
Chief coach, Adam Cohen-Rose, was on hand to lead the informal session on Lego Mindstorms. And a variety of regular Lego toys, new and boxed up, were spread around the dressing room for the amusement of those who twigged, opened them up, and just got down to working them. That was before any of the formal activity had even commenced.
Timing was faultless, even if the crowd was a little thin on the ground for the kick off! This probably helped to keep things on schedule, and the grandstand did swell to 85 by mid afternoon.
Referee @proactivepaul blew the whistle, the grid opened up, and a mesmerising display was promised. AI Revolution, the adventures of stand up comedy, Open Street Map, making guitars on a 3D printer, the power of Postgres, IoT and the Raspberry Pi. Batman was there, SpacedOutSmiles was there, Mr Wookie was there, and another Batman was there. And even DanielThePope featured in the starting line up as the game commenced.
The unfortunate man with the missing gene, that gene that makes you afraid to speak in public, turned this to his advantage. Ryan Alexander started the action, and explored "Games in the Workplace". An apt beginning to an unusual day looking at the dichotomy of playing the game, and doing work, and trying to establish how the profit motive fits into all of this. Deep and thoughtful. And at the same time, humorous and enlightening. This style of play is guaranteed to keep everybody on their toes.
It doesn’t happen in every game, but it did in this one. At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month everything went quiet for two minutes. People from all backgrounds and cultures, the players, the spectators, and the match officials all observed this moment of respect.
The "PlayDate" sounded like something not to be missed. It seems that Batman was in two places on the field of play at exactly the same time. One of them was fighting financial crime, and this Batman was explaining how unpredictable some game-plays can be.
What’s in vogue this week will undoubtedly be replaced by something new next week, and again the week after that. Small, simple, cheap, and ever changing. Both primitive and ultra modern at the same time. Batman (AKA Dale Lane) deftly demonstrated his sprinting ability on this miniature Play.Date gaming device (with a mechanical crank). Will he get the chance to sprint like that with a ball next week? And maybe even score a goal? Nobody knows. Nobody knows what the game will look like next week! We’re told only that you need to be multi skilled, multi talented, and be an all rounder to win this game.
Out on the roof terrace, in beautiful sunshine (though with seasonal temperatures for November) a group of dedicated adherents examined the activities of the police. These are hardy people, with a critical eye for detail.
Analysing the limited data available still puts you one step ahead of the competition. What’s the ethos behind questionable behaviour? Where are the ethics, and the ethics enforcers? Nothing is perfect. The match officials at today’s event can attest to that. We should be learning from our mistakes . . . and equally important . . . we should be learning from others’ mistakes.
What happens at half time? Refreshments! And what we had here was a refreshing change from the standard fare of yesteryear. A stunning menu had been drawn up by The London Academy of Excellence. Some of the best craftsmanship of the day had clearly taken place, out of sight, in the kitchens.
The mango infused chickpea masala wrap was delightful! To be honest, everything was delightful! The quality of the food was outstanding, and easily a match for some of the high calibre blue chip companies we’ve occasionally visited in the past. Having in house catering at these events is a rare luxury. And it’s so much easier than bringing in outside caterers.
Not only was it first class, the friendliness of the facilities team, and the catering team, places this venue one notch up from the big corporates we know from some earlier events.
Early in the second half, Scarlett stepped forward, stunning the crowd with her oratory skills, and explained “How my house gets covered in thousands of lights every year”. The performance was a marvellous adaptation of her recent news slot on BBC Look North.
Focussing principally on Halloween and Christmas, Scarlett explained how these 40,000 LEDs are centrally controlled by computer. And how it's all done in the aid of charity. She rounded off the routine by confidently handling lots of interesting questions from the audience. No stage fright from this plucky youngster, and one to watch for the future. You don’t need to wait for the next display, Martin House Children’s Hospice will accept charitable donations all year round.
The art of communication is a vital skill which few players master with the eloquence of Matt Gray. Where other players would resort to science, or simply avoid the subject altogether, Matt puts it into terms that everybody can understand.
Using the six feet rule, Matt cheerfully looks up and explains “How Radio Works” to anybody who comes within six feet of him:
“Electric wobbles in the presenter's brain go into air wobbles in the room, go into electric wobbles in a microphone, go into electric wobbles in the sky, go into air wobbles in your house, which go into electric wobbles in your brain.”
We worry that he might have been aiming that at us simpletons, up here in the commentary box! And we think that Matt's follower, Dan Turner gets some attribution for this!
Shortly before full time Xander, another youngster, stepped into the limelight! Linguists of the world will envy the way he handled the “Ingliti langwij” and repeatedly kicked curved balls out for discussion. There was a lot of back and forth, especially when confronted with “what exactly is the right way to pronounce ghoti”. In the word “scent” one of those letters is silent, but is it the S or is it the C which is silent?
A dozen times or more, we were entranced by short words which are long. And long words which are short. A shrewd pass to Scarlett, and a quick back kick to Xander, established that the alternative spelling “Sskarghleightt” is also perfectly valid. By using his head, Xander clearly scored one of the best goals of the day.
Anyway, here's a throw in from left field, why does the “Ingliti langwij” use “pineapple” when eleventy billion other languages use “ananas”?
The schedule went into extra time as The Mysterious Mystery Game unfolded. Unbelievably well received, tackled with enthusiasm, and executed with great aplomb. Match days should always end like this. It was so good that it deserves a blogpost of it’s own. Have a look here.
To conduct an early review of the day, the multitudes descended upon The Corner Pin. For those who don’t know, that’s the pub at the opposite end of the White Hart Lane Stadium, from The London Academy of Excellence. Nearly 40 of us turned up and (as pre arranged) the staff were ready and opened up the first floor room.
Analysis is not easy, and as we all know, the nature of the conversation depends on the altitude.
Were we close enough to the action to make an informed judgement? In a pub? There were 63 slots on The Grid and nearly all of them were filled. A lot of game-plays and set-pieces were seen by a lot of people. Only a small selection is given above, but by all accounts there was some excellent material. Had we been able to write about them all, we could have turned this blogpost into a short book!
In the pub, soft drinks and pints were consumed with great enthusiasm. Cheerful, lively banter filled the air. All the discussion was well natured, the accolades were extensive. The venue, the team, the volunteers, the speakers, everyone really, right down to the last minute helpers who stayed to add the finishing touches to the venue tidy up, they all came in for praise. The common theme was “a great day”.
Today’s young speakers, the first timers, Scarlett in the first half, and Xander in the second half both scored glorious goals.
All that positivity made picking the “person of the match” even harder.
Eventually we all agreed, the “person of the match” was “you”.
P.S. a few blogposts are emerging - they are being included in this report.