3 months later, I’m back.

The last time I uploaded a blog post was when I went to Canada and, since then, I decided to take a break from social media for about three months. It was a time when I wanted to focus on my master’s project and people whom I met in Vancouver, inspired me in many different ways on what path or career I want to take.

Anyway, I am not going to go on about how much I love Canada. I am going to talk to you about my experience between July and September when I was doing my project. It was the most rewarding and stressful month I have ever experienced. This was mainly because when I was doing the interviews with the participants for my research project their experiences made me recall my own experiences. When I was doing so, there was always a thought at the back of my mind:

“What if different things had occurred in my life and, accordingly, I chose to take a different route? Would things be better or not?”

The thing is, I love to reflect on what I do and I keep a diary of my goals and anything that is meaningful to me. I wish I could tell you about what my participants said during the interviews I conducted but it’s confidential. But what I can tell you is what I learnt from my master’s project. I only had a year to complete my project. It was the first time I had conducted interviews using instant messaging, and it was also the first time I had used thematic analysis on data. If I had more time, I think my interview skills would have improved more, or maybe I could have garnered more participants in my study.

One word I would use to describe thematic analysis is “intense”. I had never used thematic analysis during my degree one reason being that you must explain why you put words under certain themes and codes. I honestly cannot bear to talk about it now. My brain got so hooked on it. I knew I needed to take a break and do something else but I couldn’t because I often felt that something was missing or not making sense. So instead of taking that much-needed step away, I had to visit my university supervisors every week to ask for help out of the situation I found myself stuck in! I cannot even begin to describe how relieved I was guided onto the right path, meaning I could go back understanding why I put words into codes etc. To those who understand thematic analysis: how do you even cope?! I enjoyed it because when I was on the last stage of producing a report, everything started to come together nicely, and it was rewarding!  Now I am working on a project which I am excited to show you when the time comes.

Not only was I focusing on my master’s project but I went to the Sport and Discrimination Conference at Oxford Brookes University and Durham University for British Sociological Association (BSA) Sports Study event. I went because I wanted to expand my knowledge, meet people and share ideas. I’ve got to be honest, the conference in Durham is my favourite because it is an area that I am interested in. I happened to meet a D/deaf girl who is a PhD student! This was amazing to me because I never thought I would meet a D/deaf person who is studying a PhD or even into research. It was an interesting conference because there were a few people’s presentations caught my attention and I wanted to know more. There was a guy who did autoethnography when he was an undergrad student, just like me, but, he was talking about his experience being a “black person trying to be like Pogba, Drogba and Lukaku” and how he does not want to be like them when he is playing academy football. Really interesting. For his MSc Project, he wanted to find out if there were other young black men who had been in the same experience. It was not about racism but about how coaches see young black footballers as “mesomorphs” or “tanks”, like the black professional footballers. I got really excited about hearing his thoughts and experiences, and that’s what I love about research. There was another one which a girl talked about the “identity construction” and racial humour in a German U-19 football team. I never thought I would get into something about racism because it’s a topic I don’t like to talk about. It was about the interaction between the players using racial humour with their own players if that makes sense? I would give some examples but I don’t feel comfortable posting it.

Read this article when you get a chance:

“Just because he’s black”: Identity construction and racial humour in a German U-19 football team – Solvejg Wolfers, Kieran File, Stephanie Schnurr.

I promise you won’t be disappointed! I like to read uncomfortable topics that no one wants to talk about because taking new things into consideration is the only way to learn and expand one’s mind. It has been a while since I wrote something on my blog and I am still always willing to improve it! Now that I have finished my master’s, my goal is to do a weekly post every Sunday evening – I hope you enjoy reading it! I will be back on YouTube as, like I said earlier, I am working on a project which I cannot wait to show it to you!

God Bless, have a good week! 

Thomas Irish

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