Monday, August 10, 2015

The Irrepressible Nate Clyne

(Editor’s Note: Some years ago, Colin and I started this blog. A few people read it and enjoyed it, we had a great time, we improbably started appearing on local radio thanks to Peter Wilt, then it kind of fizzled, some domain squatter took our URL and it all went mostly silent. Here’s a new post for the first time in three years. This is being published without approval or consent from Colin. I didn’t want to insult him by actually bothering to ask him. He has his own fun thing going on now over here.)

The discussion turned to calling Nathaniel Clyne “Nate” sometime Sunday after the sixth or seventh unchallenged pass from midfield was sent directly out of play. The three of us watching over buttery, salty breakfasts and bloody marys didn’t count the number of simple passes played out, though six or seven in the match seems like a conservative recollection. So finding a way to warm up to the new Liverpool guys offered a welcome distraction from Stoke-Liverpool, which was not in line with the hashtag/emoji-fueled Twitter celebration of the glorious Premier League’s bash-a-riffic return.

So baptizing him “Nate Clyne” was the way it went. Three guys at a Shorewood soccer bar on one Sunday morning might not represent a worldwide consensus, but some second-half field testing yielded a promising start. Nate Clyne … Nate Clyne. Say it enough and you picture the guy Nate Clyne likely is once you get to know him. Nate Clyne would help you learn how to surf, even if you’re nowhere near an ocean. “Let’s go over to Nate Clyne’s place. He’s got a couple extra boards.” I’ve never surfed in my life, and I doubt I ever will. But who’d bet against a guy named Nate Clyne making something happen to change that?

Nate Clyne is two crisp syllables. Hard consonant tats and clacks are in there, sure, but they’re unintimidating. Rather, they’re inviting, like a guy whose parents have a cabin up north that they never seem to use. Nate Clyne invited everybody up. Are you going? You’re gonna go, right? Can’t miss a weekend with the guys up at Nate Clyne’s cabin. He’s roasting a pig. Gotta do it.

Nate Clyne is a guy you’d talk to, and it’s certainly a guy you’d talk about. I’d want to be friends with Nate Clyne. Cheering for him is easy, and describing him is even more fun.

As my friend Kurt said during our Nate Clyne workshopping session, two syllables in his name make it easy to describe him too. The Amazing Nate Clyne or The Relentless Nate Clyne. The Irrepressible Nate Clyne. Say all these things aloud, and soon enough that online shopping cart at Liverpool FC dot com will be full of Nate Clyne shirts and baubles. Is there a Nate Clyne keychain? It’s doubtful the world will lack for one much longer.

New signings in a new season lead fans to cheer for the fresh faces wearing the familiar shirt. After all, who didn’t get onboard the Ryan Babel and Andriy Voronin hype train back in the day? So much like Andriy and Ryan were (at least initially, in some circles) beloved at Anfield, it’s time to usher in the new guys and get comfortable around them. Please welcome the friendly and approachable Nate Clyne to Liverpool Football Club. And smile for Bobby Firmino and Jimmy Milner. Joey Gomez is here too. These aren’t new signings that have to prove themselves to you. It’s far too late in the season for that. No one’s going to prove anything. But these guys will teach you how to surf or get a beer for you when they’re up and headed to the kitchen anyway. And for fun, they’ll throw in competent defending on a set piece, if we’re lucky.

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