Saturday, February 20, 2010

How I could just kill a man

(Editor's Note: Match Pricks does not condone violence in any way; emotional, physical or otherwise. In fact quite the opposite, the Arsenal half at least, as you might assume, is quite the idealistic pacifist. No surprise there really. Right, on to it then ... )

I'm avoiding the temptation to translate the entire Cyprus Hill song to reflect the state of things. That's not my point here. My point is that I saw taking a man's life as a viable alternative to inducing an unwarranted pain. Perhaps Dr. Kevorkian was onto something. Perhaps football teams should employ their own version of Dr. Kevorkian.


It's no news; that damned ocean of ours makes watching football awfully difficult in America. It's especially difficult when the Champions League rears its head and those blasted jobs we hold down demand our presence (physical, emotional or otherwise). 9 times out of 10, I'll record the match, go on a massive media blackout (easy in the States, but more difficult than it was even two years ago as the profile of football continues to rise, both among the public and the media alike) and watch it "as if it was live" from the comfort of my recliner at home at the end of the day. All the while likely sending my neighbors into fits of concern at the shouting of either frustration or elation. And so I go on my merry way most nights. This week, however, I was summoned months in advance of the scheduling of Arsenal's Round of 16 tie at Porto to see my musical dream girl, St. Vincent.
(Do watch this, it's quite incredible.)

My task, then, was set to continue the blackout well past a steeled focus on the last three hours of the work day and then the six to seven minute drive home, skirting around my football pub in case the celebration happened to pour out in the street, as can tend to happen on such nights. It's a straight shot with an easy adjustment. Before I know it, I'm safe at home in my garage. I'll scurry into the house, prep a little dinner in the calm and football news free warmth of my home (the mobile phone will, of course, have been turned off long before I would have reached this point). And, finally, I'll settle in to watch the match with what I rightfully presume will be a face painted with a wide grin. Recall the post from after the United match ... I bought the ticket, I'm taking the ride. Entertain me, dammit.

That's the routine as it normally stands. With the delightfully charming Ms. Annie Clark performing as St. Vincent, however, my media blackout would see me brave a crowd of hipster kids counting in the hundreds (400 perhaps). Surely the hipster youth of today would be chattering away about the result, yeah? Ever eager as they must be to embrace something new, something different. Something you don't embrace. That was my fleeting assumption. It passed within minutes though as I realized those same hipster youth were more than likely the ones who would mindlessly churn out tales of their staunch support of Chelsea since way back in January. That concern, I felt, could be easily avoided. As I couldn't imagine running into anyone I knew from the football circles of my life at the show, the next hurdle I had to consider was the ever dodgy enemy of the football fan in America (or anywhere outside of the European continent for that matter) ... time. That ruthless little devil. Oh time, the reason I can never seem to catch up on sleep over a weekend. It's the reason I'm up again before 7:00 a.m. this morning to watch Manchester United vs. Everton (in HD!) and write this blog.

I knew the challenge ... make it through the work day, make it through a crowd of some hundreds, avoid contact with anyone I knew beyond the company I had at hand (complicit and understanding of my addiction) and simply make it home to enjoy my Arsenal in blissful ignorance ... sometime around 11:00 p.m.

And then it happened.

As I left the venue at the end of the how, soaked in joy and convinced as I was that St. Vincent would end her life on the road, pick up drinking heavily in football pubs and move to Milwaukee because she couldn't possibly be apart from the fellow with the sparkling eyes and flowing hair (ahem) standing about eight people deep in the dead center (right, the one who loved to spin run-on sentences), I ran into an Arsenal supporter I hadn't seen in months and a loud, if not wonderfully affable United supporter. Wonderful people, the both of them but both clearly prepared to talk about what had happened earlier in the day, thus disrupting my entire time traveling pursuit. Without a second's hesitation, I clamped down with alarm, shouting and waving my arms that they were not to give me even a subtle hint of what may or may not have happened. I'd made it this far, 11:00 p.m., and I didn't want to taint my viewing experience in any way. They both understood the situation. Still, they both moved ahead with the all too real joke that people were throwing things at the television. I shouldn't watch, they said. The second half was among the worst things you could see, they said. We're helping you, they implored. Still, they reeked of jokes. Kidding, they must've been.

Oh, how wrong I was.

I made it home and struggled through the match. It was laced with more sighs and eye rolls of disgust than I can remember from a football match in some stretch of time. Arsenal were poor on many levels. And I was left to stumble to bed at 1:00 a.m. in the morning, having not followed the advice of my friends. I was, for the first time in a long time, genuinely upset that I watched a football match. Even the terrible errors and lack of concentration that led to the defeats against Chelsea and Manchester United in recent weeks didn't leave me so disappointed in the performance.

It was in that hopeless state of mind that, late on Thursday, a friend informed me that he had just run into an Arsenal supporter in his office. That person, it turns out, had successfully put time at a standstill for more than 24 hours. He still, even at that late hour, knew nothing of the eventual outcome of the Arsenal vs. Porto match. He was eager, as was I the evening before, to settle down and enjoy the Champions League venture later that night. I am, as a rule, a staunch defender of people's rights when it comes to the media blackout to enjoy their football.

But I felt I must act. My gut reaction was a reply that was well-reasoned, it seemed ... just. Even for a pacifist.

"Kill him. Now. Don't hesitate. Just end his life right here and now. End it all. No man should have to go through ... that."

1 comment:

Steve Santos said...

Fantastic post. I find myself doing the same thing on most Champion's League weeks! I normally cave and get the Barca result though!