Monday, August 25, 2008

My weekend in soccer, Aug 23-24

I think I did a pretty good job of keeping my shit together, all told. I watched the first 20 minutes live, and then paused it after 20 minutes because it was too early (10 a.m.) to ruin one's day. It wasn't like I knew Arsenal was going to lose to Fulham — that kind of predictive ability only comes with a cosmic bath of gamma rays, or something — but I had a feeling that win, lose or draw, I was going to be pissed. And unlike that hirsute fraud Nostradamus, I actually nailed my prediction.

When I finally watched the game in Saturday's dusk, I had already resigned myself to disappointment, so its arrival was not met with shrieks of indignation. Instead, ever the adult, I sat and watched the remaining, sorry 70 minutes in the dark, drinking heavily but nonetheless silently. When the ridiculous showing was complete, I turned off the TV and went to bed.

It was 8 p.m.

This is fully my fourth year of being a serious soccer fan, though it's really only the third in which I find myself watching an extreme amount of it on TV. I still haven't shaken the feeling that I'm a mere poseur, a user of the sport as a method of allowing me to claim some higher level of worldliness over those who exclusively watch American sports. But the truth is probably more embarrassing: I now care much more about Arsenal and AS Roma than I do about the teams I've followed most of my life, and in turn soccer has become my passion. And, often, that passion turns me into a whimpering fool when one of my two sides dares not get three points.

But I made a solemn oath to myself, this season, to stop being such an idiot. I do not want my life to turn into a much less authentic version of Fever Pitch, especially since I'm watching the games a world away and often on my DVR. I cannot lose another week to despondency as I did earlier in 2008 when Arsenal was eliminated in the Champions League by what could only be considered the most sinister of officiating circumstances. I will not wish death upon Frank Lampard anymore, or at least not until he provokes me again by being such a whiny bitch. I will not be that guy.

With all that considered, I was proud of my behavior this weekend. I have not broken out into hives, I've not written 3,000-word missives on how Arsenal can save its season if it would just sign a complementary central mid (though I've probably composed 2/3rds of it in my head while showering), and I have yet to consider taking a golf club to my television. But I will say that my arm has mysterious blotches I can't stop scratching, that Aston Villa's Gareth Barry is still available and THE ANSWER TO ALL THAT AILS THE GUNNERS WHY WON'T YOU FUCKING SPEND THE EXTRA FIVE MILLION YOU CHEAP FRENCH COCKSUCKER ARE YOU TRYING TO GIVE ME A STROKE and I've, as a preventative measure, started leaving my clubs in the car. You know, just in case.

Heaven help me if Arsenal and Roma lose in the same weekend. I'm not stupid enough to think it can't get worse than this.

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