Wednesday, March 25, 2009

'It's good to be the king'

The news that dominates the major English papers today centers on the feel-good story of the moment – Steven Gerrard.

The new storyline for this go-round with England has been determined: Gerrard is (arguably, some say) England's best player of the so-called Golden Generation. He's in the form of his life. Zidane thinks he might be the best player in the world. Can Capello get him to duplicate his club form for the national side?

None of this is a shock. Gerrard just scored his first Premier League hat trick, and Liverpool has never been better over three games since he joined the club, having recorded such historic, dominant victories over Real Madrid, Manchester United and Aston Villa. Stevie is the brightest of the bright, the starriest of the stars. Oh please, dear Stevie, give Ingur-land reason to believe for South Africa 2010!

Fine, whatever. We know how this story ends for England, don't we? The real jewel of all these Gerrard stories, for me, is the following quote from Stevie, which appears in some form in most of the stories:

"But, at the moment, he's playing me in my favourite position, I'm captain, we're winning. Things at the club are really good."

Read it again. "... (Rafa's) playing me in my favourite position, I'm captain, we're winning." That's a helluva checklist, isn't it? It all comes down to context and individual standards. For example, if I was really going good in my own life, my three-item "things are good" checklist might read something like this: "I just billed another $500 worth of freelance work, a 24-year-old girl talked to me and my buddy just gave me an extra case of beer he had. Things are really good."

Some others:
• Ronaldo: "Fergie let me re-gel my hair – twice – at halftime, Axe body spray signed me to an endorsement deal and it turns out that model didn't give me a social disease! Things are really good."
• Rafa Benitez: "The doctors say I only need one more kidney stones operation, Mead notebooks signed me to an endorsement deal and I only spotted 17 crucial mistakes while watching the DVD of the 5-nil win over Aston Villa. Things are really good."
• Jintao: "I'm maintaining my suffocating oppression against the desire of 1.6 billion people to be free, America's economy stinks and United will have a 4-point lead at the top after they win their game in hand. Things are really good."

See, it's all in how you look at it. Gerrard's playing where he wants, he's scoring a bunch, Liverpool is recording victories that will live on in history forever. Must be a pretty nice life, Stevie.

Actually, it's pretty damn good for the rest of us right now, too. Go get 'em, Stevie. Just be careful out there.

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