Thursday, January 24, 2013

Me vs January 23rd

Yesterday, was as I mentioned to several people, not a super sparkly day for me. It started poorly, tried to rally mid-day, and then fell to absolute shit near the end. This post is a recap of my day in the framework of a futbol game. (In case you lot couldn't sort it out for yourselves).

The match of me versus yesterday was scheduled, as you might expect for yesterday. Yesterday, on paper and from the reports of my advance scouts, did not seem to be some Chelsea-like squad. After all, it was any burly day like xmas or thanksgiving. So, in the main, as I lined up my starting eleven against yesterday's starting eleven, I felt that I had a chance to at least snatch a draw. And a draw with life, in the guise, of yesterday, is sometimes (most times) about the best result you can expect. In fact yesterday versus me was billed as a bit like a Stoke versus Sunderland match. Two middle of the table teams that were fairly well matched, and neither one a particularly exciting club to watch. Yesterday versus me was shaping up to be a bit of a snore match, worth watching if a) it were the only game on, or b) you had a vested interest in either club. All in all, the crowd for me versus yesterday was predicated (and predictably) quite small.

It started, if not brightly, well enough. It is always important to get a feel for the match early, and not to get caught out too soon. Falling behind within the first 10 minutes can be quite a morale killer, and sometimes is just a signal of disaster, like the first few pebbles that zip past you, as you climb whatever mountain that is in front of you, before the avalanche buries you for good. My squad depleted as they are by injury and poor form, managed to weather the first 10 minutes with something close to aplomb. We are not Barca, we do not normally have long periods of possession followed by some eye watering piece of skill that puts the ball in the back of the net. No, we are a more workmanlike side soaking up our fair amount of pressure, and hoping to hit on the counter.  We do not score a lot of goals.

As the game progressed things seemed to be going fairly well for us, but as usual when things seem to be going well that is the time to be the most fearful, and right on cue disaster struck. A mix up at the back, my centre halves were at sixes and sevens with each other, and in waltzes their big, lumbering centre forward to complete one of the easiest goals he will ever score. My poor keeper did not have a chance. There we were at the 23 minute mark down 1-nil.  It stung a bit, and it put us back on our heels for a few minutes, often times the first goal of a game, especially a game like me versus yesterday, can settle the whole match.  As I mentioned before, we do not score a lot of goals.

However, things begin to slowly return to an even keel, and in the 34 minute we had a shot that drew a very smart save from yesterday's keeper. It was a good sign, and we began to grow in confidence. This is the part of the match where those over paid blowzy announcers would say "you can sense an equalizer coming before the half." And, for once, they were correct it came in the 43 minute, and was (for us) quite a corker of a goal. Taken with some skill by the only fellow on our squad that can seem to score, thank goodness he is around, or we just wouldn't score at all. There we were going into the half level at 1-1. Things seemed to be looking up, and a spot of tea, and a pep talk from the gaffer were a welcome relief. Also, as with most half times a good solid tinkle helped things as well.

The start of the second half duly arrived, and things were fairly even for the first 15 minutes or so, neither team was able to gain any particular advantage, or impose their will upon the match. Then like a thunderbolt out of a clear blue sky, a goal of absolute brilliance set the match upon its head. It was a shot struck with real venom, and our keeper still is probably wondering what that missile was that sailed past him into the top corner. Two keepers standing side by side in the goal could not have kept that goal from being scored. Here we were at the 61st minute suddenly down 2-1. It was not a good sign, have I mentioned that we do not score a lot of goals. As our befuddled keeper was picking the ball out of the back of his net, and sense of doom began to slowly creep into our squad. A sense of this might not be the end of yesterday's scoring, and that things were about to break bad for us.

Almost as quickly as it took for me to write that sentence, another thunderbolt arrived in the 66 minute, another goal of individual skill the like which my squad can only wish they possess. It was a goal of beauty, and grace, and it left our squad deflated, like a beach ball left over from three summers ago that you find in your attic one day while searching for some photo album of a long forgotten birthday.  Down 3-1, and in need of a change, our gaffer decided to change our tactics just a bit in order to stop the bleeding. We are a stubborn squad, and while not quite resilient team, we at least have to be told more than once that we are beaten. However, we do not score a lot of goals.

Yesterday duly obliged the requirement of telling us we were beaten in 72nd minute with a goal that is not going to make any highlight reels. It was a bit of a goal mouth scramble and a scrappy goal (the type we usually rely on) and while it wasn't all the keepers fault (there was enough blame to go around) it could be said that he 'should have done better, and could have kept that one out.' Well, he should have done better, and he should have kept it out, but he didn't and here we are with almost 20 minutes of normal time to play, down 4-1. Clearly the winner of this match had been decided at this point, and we are just playing for pride at this point. The less said of the dying moments of this lopsided affair the better. We did manage to hit the woodwork in the 81st minute, but it was the last gasp of a dying man. The ball just simply refused to cooperate and cannoned off the bar, and was swiftly cleared up field by yesterday.

As expected when a team is behind 4-1, and the clock is winding down, attention to detail tends to wander, and as our back line's thoughts were wandering to the nearest pub to wash away the shame of this match, yesterday decided to pile one more on, and make the score 5-1 (it happened, in case you care, in the 89th minute). 5-1, and three minutes of stoppage time to play, this was nothing short of a hiding, a being taken behind the woodshed, and beaten like a redheaded step child type of match. One that as the final whistle blew an end to the massacre, we wished we could put it behind us. I mentioned we do not score a lot of goals, but to get crushed 5-1 is just a bit more than we could bear. We desperately wanted to put this day to bed, and forget it happened.

 However, life isn't quite as simple as a football match. For one thing teams don't play matches everyday, and I do. I am here trotting my eleven out and facing January 24th's squad. An all new, all fresh day to 'play' and hopefully draw with, it is the best result I have achieved in a while, a draw that is. But yesterday's beating is still there in the background, it still smarts, and it might even be festering. The lessons learned, and not learned from that pounding have yet to be fully sorted, and it might take a few 'matches' for the bruises (mostly to our psyche) to heal. If they ever do, they might just scab over, and might be re-opened at anytime.  However, in spite of the doom and gloom that pervades this match account, we realize that we do have 'supporters' people who watched the beating unfold, and felt (if only briefly, and secondhand) our pain. We are normally a selfish lot when it comes to pain, we like to hoard it all to ourselves. It is to those supporters, while they are few they are loyal, that we both apologize for yesterday's poor performance, and promise to at least try to do better today and in the future. Without your vocal (and written) support, we would probably just accepted our 'relegation' with merely a whimper, but since you lot are around, we will continue to put out our best eleven, and hope for the best. After all, that is all we can do.

P.S. This post is dedicated to those 'ultras' in my narrow fan base. You know who you are, and you know what that means. Merci.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013


I am not a particularly sentimental person. It is probably one of the many reasons that I hate holidays. Almost all holidays, there are multiple others reasons, but a lack of sentimentality is perhaps one of the main reasons for my dislike of holidays.  Therefore, as I was pottering about the shit hole in which I currently reside and found a book that I had actually written something to someone else (when presenting it as a gift), I was a bit surprised that my little 'dedication' was something akin to sentimental.

It is a very, very good book, and I encourage everyone I know to read it, but that is not really the point of this post. I gave the book as a gift, and like the true bastard that I am, I asked for (and received) it back when things went pear shaped (as they often do).  I didn't think much about my little blurb at the beginning of the book until today when I found the book on a shelf that I was attempting to clean (on occasion I do try to clean, a clean shit hole is just a bit nicer of a shit hole).  A quick trip to the kitchen, book in hand, and a quick, judicious use of the scissors, and the 'dedication' was excised, and promptly placed into the rubbish bin. Just like that, no muss, no fuss, no messy stuff. The passage that I wrote with such care, and actual feelings was consigned to the trash bin of history. If only everything was that easy.  Sadly, after I replaced the book on the, now clean shelf, I begin to ponder/wish that it had been that easy to excise the cause of the dedication from my life as well.

It was not that I want(ed) to take a sharp instrument to the person in question, though I suspect they would not have minded carving me up like a xmas turkey on more than on occasion, it is that I wish that I had the moral fortitude to just simply put them behind me as easily as I cut out that dedication of so long ago. I am quite certain that the other person has take her own pair of metaphorical scissors to the chapter that concerns me in the book of her life, and has gleefully sliced out those offending pages. And that is the way I look at it, I was a chapter in the life of another person, for only a certain length of time, or if you prefer, a certain number of pages. A chapter that had a fairly promising beginning, a certain time of pure bliss, and then a middle period of something approaching normalcy, then a few paragraphs that heralded a downturn, and finally a few fair pages of absolute despair, then finis.

The end of the chapter written mostly by, in this case, by the other person. That chapter that is now considered to be radioactive. Something that must be contained in a lead lined container, marked as hazardous material, and stored deep inside some sort of emotion free cellar inside of us. That place that is going to be radioactive for a while, and should be avoided for a while until that memory stops to burn so brightly or so painfully.  It will you know (or at least you sincerely hope), stop being quite so radioactive. It will take time, and it will suck for a while, but eventually you will have to take those lead lined containers, and drop them off a cliff into the sea of forgetfulness that washes away our conscious memories and thoughts. That sea that will, hopefully, eventually erode away the entire island of bad memory upon which you have found yourself stranded.

That chapter that when written will probably read better than it lived, will have to end. And things generally end badly, or else they wouldn't end.  All those chapters with all those bad endings that comprise the book of your life. But not the entire book, there are sections of that book that deal with lots of other things besides badly ending relationships. Other sections that need attending to, that you have neglected for far too long. Sections that you, and you alone, can write. And it must needs be done, this writing of the other, in some ways more important, sections in the book of you. It is something that though you don't quite yet realize it, might help you start a new age of something approaching normal, everyday life. The sun will still rise tomorrow, and when you wake up you might find that new age to be something much more important than just the start of a new year.