Thursday, June 17, 2010

When the fun is set aside ...

We've spoken at length about the tidal wave of fun that is the World Cup. For those who don't believe us, just wait until after a) the first round of matches and b) the group stage. For the permanent record, as I typed that, Argentina struck again, for the second, on 33' as an Higuain header found its way. The player was correctly judged to be onside. (A sidebar within a tangent: I think, on a whole, the officials in this tournament have been good and frankly quite trustworthy thus far. Indeed, as with any human judgement, there have been spots throughout that could be questioned. But yes, I do believe they've done well and let the matches progress as they may. In particular with consideration to the offside rule. If you'd like to prove me wrong, by all means, please do so. I'm forgetful. And I have a short attention span.)

But I digress ... World Cup, fun, high-fives, back-slaps, shoddy defending, swerving horns, dignitaries and all that. Right? Right.

But football really isn't supposed to fun. It's supposed to unhealthy, spirit crushing, anxiety driving and distraction causing torture. Yes, indeed, it'll be sprinkled through with enough opiates to keep us coming back but the net sum, whether we identify it our not, has very little resemblance to actual fun.

And thus, with that ancient and dusty curtain firmly drawn in front of us for two more months still, we have just been given our first true hint of what lurks behind. Patiently waiting for its call and the first lines in a new script, the 2010/11 Premier League season, a rookie to the cast (thought all expect it to 'catch-up' to the experience of its predecessors in short and rather prescribed order), has just been given his blocking order for the coming season's performances.

The fixture list is up and waiting for your digestion.  Please, don't forget to chew. Tell your friends and family members to plan their weddings, births and other children's birthday parties after consulting with this, yeah?

First thing you'll notice? The first Match Pricks Derby of the season is the first act. After that old man with his blistered hands and hunched back goes through the groaning pains of raising the curtain in time for the Charity Shield (best start now, old friend, I want a good view, snorefest though it may be), it's Liverpool vs. Arsenal on August 14. Sure, they'll probably slap it on down on Sunday for TV, but still, let us daydream that our two empires are still grand enough to cling to center stage yet a little longer.

Heading into the second half of Argentina vs. South Korea. 2-1 to the Argies.

" ... And it's all left to play for!"

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