In his pep talk before the game, Kartik Daswani introduced us to a concept from psychology: our brains don’t interpret negative statements. So if we hear “I don’t want to do Table Topics”, our brains interpret this as “I want to do Table Topics!”

Kartik then challenged us to avoid using negative statements during the match – and many of us did, as we learned from our referee, Laura Hiles.

Captain Paul Bayliss introduces us to our team uniform, which bears the letters T and M (a bit off brand, but we decided to overlook that). It comes from an 80s film, can you guess which? Paul kept us in suspense until the end of the match…

Centre back Stuart Lawson reminded us of our mottos, based on two English proverbs – “It is better to travel than to arrive” and “He who travels alone travels fastest”.

We had a brand new team member in – Chitra  Sankaran. Three guests join our team – Ralitsa Ivanova, Peter Milbank and Gospel Eadweardhilia. 

Our new’ish player Bianca Brinkley scored her very first goal of the season! She even gave it a name – “My journey to 2021”. If you ask Bianca’s children, they would say she’s from “up North” – NOT Birmingham, though, but Staffordshire in the West Midlands. And that’s also where her accent comes from. Bianca studied chemistry at university, and in her fifth year, she moved to Ware to do a placement at GSK as a scientist. She thoroughly enjoyed her time there and made many friends. However, Bianca later decided to change gears and retrain as a life coach. She came to Toastmasters to be more confident in delivering workshops, webinars and talks, which she needs for her new job. As Bianca’s evaluator Emma Painter noted, she sounds pretty confident already.

Right midfield Andy Cowan got his football skills from playing video games – Combat, Streetfighter2 and Warzone, to name a few. Does playing these games as children turn us into violent adults? At least in Andy’s experience, it doesn’t – he’s been doing it since he was six. Psychological research also shows mixed results. But why do we produce these games in the first place, and what does that say about our society? Andy gave us food for thought in his speech “Shoot ‘em up!”…

In his strategic combination “Hit and run”, winger Kevin Baggs looked at the importance of compliments. Why would you praise a stranger whom you might never see again? Kevin naturally loves saying nice things to people – he once told a stranger at a pub that his shoes looked smart. And there are many perks to doing so. Complimenting strangers helps forge relationships and builds your own confidence – so Kevin recommended his mentee, Derek Deheer-Graham, to do it as well. Kevin ended his speech by expressing admiration for Carl Glover’s shirt. But, as Kartik reminded us, in some Middle Eastern countries this would have obliged Carl to give his shirt to Kevin. Kevin didn’t mind and gave Carl his address.

Striker Caroline Wong got many passes from other players tonight, in the table football session.

Right-back Carl Glover is quite a sports junkie. He’ll watch almost any sport, and he’s very optimistic about England’s chances in Euro-2020.

Centre forward Margaryta Maliukova wishes she could ice-skate as gracefully as Yuna Kim.

Centre forward Liz Burnett gave a diplomatic opinion on footballers’ salaries.

Left midfield Ralitsa Ivanova does yoga as a way of living, not just a hobby.

Right midfield Nicky Fawehinmi described video-gaming as a “sport for the fingers” and prefers athletic activities with more physical exertion.

Left-back Emma Painter says cricket only looks easy on TV. Wait till you try it!

Centre-midfield Peter Milbank would like to watch a friendly football game on the Moon!

Bianca Brinkley was voted best Speaker.
Carl Glover was voted best Table Topic speaker.
Emma Painter was voted best Evaluator.

Kudos, everyone. GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, team!