26 June 2008

No title

Looking back over the posts in the blog so far (my, is it three weeks already?), I notice how often I've invoked the idea of romantic love, or more specifically heartbreak, in describing my interaction with Euro 2008 and football generally. I don't know if this is a sign of a lack of imagination, or vocabulary, or girlfriend. Regardless, lest you confuse me for someone with someone endowed with the capacity for original thought, I shall continue with the theme.

I've approached this tournament, despite resolving to regard it with chin-stroking detachment, instead much like someone on holidays, drunk on sunshine (and possibly alcohol), falling desperately in love with someone new almost every night. One evening, this person meets a beautiful, out-going, vivacious woman, and their first two dates are simply sublime. Our pathetic protagonist wakes the next morning full of all the world's joys and imagines a beautiful future for him and his new belle; indeed, he gets so swept up in this vision of eternal bliss that he heads straight for the jewellers and buys a brilliant diamond engagement ring. Tonight, on their third date, he's going to pop the question!

But as he collects her that evening, she doesn't seem herself. She's quiet, lethargic even. As they walk to the restaurant, it's almost as if he is propping her up, as if she would simply collapse otherwise, so little energy does she appear to exert. They reach their destination and are shown to their table; he pulls out the chair for her to sit on, but she doesn't seem to know what to do, and he practically has to push her into the chair. In conversation she is distant; she never initiates it and responds to his small-talk not with words, but with a sound resembling "mmhnghm". The rest of the time she merely stares down at a spot three feet beneath the table. He by now, being quick on the draw and all, realises that something is amiss; perhaps she's ill? He tries to gently and reassuringly take her by the hand, whereupon she screams, runs into the corner of the room and curls up into a shaking, whimpering ball. He, of course, runs back to his hotel and immediately posts about it on his blog.

Or something.

Anyway, it's hard to reconcile the Russian display tonight with the glory that mine eyes saw in their previous two games. Maybe Sweden and Holland aren't all that good, and Spain are? Maybe Cesc really is the man-god us Gooners believe him to be? How did Arshavin disappear like Cristi...I mean, CR7-85? Who knows? This isn't the time (or let's face it, the place) for reasoned analysis.

You know, I'd rather get carried away by intoxicating beauty than look at things with total objective rationality. There's nowt wrong with objective rationality, of course. It's just that football can bring us moments, or even entire games, of exquisite wonder. The thing is, these are rationed; supply is kept deliberately low, but just high enough to allow us enough of a glimpse every now and then that it keeps us hooked. When a sudden glut comes along, we stock up and practically blow our own heads off. That's my excuse, anyway.

So I still refuse to learn my lesson, and after a quiet evening of feeling sorry for myself (and the Russians too, obviously) I'll hop on the Spanish bandwagon and hold on for dear life on Sunday. At least we'll be spared any Stalingrad references in the press.

I had a kick-ass title prepared for this post had Russia won tonight: 'Exit, pursued by a bear'. Ah well. Maybe I'll get to use it if Michael Ballack powers home a couple of goals on the way to a German victory in the final.

Did you just get a shiver up your spine too?


Steve 27/6/08 8:13 PM  

A sad tale, indeed, from our love-lorn correspondent. If it's any consolation, she may have ended up in just a few short years looking like some doughy babushka with a penchant for vodka. Maybe you'll fare better with the pretty senorita.


Richard Whittall 28/6/08 12:09 AM  

This...is perfect. It's like the next pretty young thing is really just taking us for a ride when it was gorgeous Spain all along. But I'm not buying it yet as you know...

Brian 29/6/08 12:29 AM  

I'm picturing Spain as the girl you barely noticed during the first few days of your vacation (she was reading by the pool). Then one day she took her glasses off, and you realized that not only was she beautiful, she was pragmatic and intelligent in a way that her more attention-seeking friends couldn't match. Now it's just a matter of seeing how she fares against the Mannschaft.

This metaphor is making me uncomfortable.

fredorrarci 29/6/08 5:13 PM  

Reminds me of my childhood - there was always a Carry On film on the telly on a Sunday afternoon back then...

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