Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Spurs at West Ham, Feb. 25th, 2013

This Is the One Where I Am Sincere, and Happy About That, and It's About Sports

         This is why I ditched my carpool, drove home from school really fast, threw on my strip and scarf, and waded through bullying Sam Allardyce-isms to finally, ecstatically reach a 2-3 result. What was the cost of getting home to watch? I missed the first two goals, but I waved my scarf and sang to "Nice One Cyril" while blazing north on the 99. The squad could not cope with West Ham's brutal pressing for the twenty first-half minutes I took in. Each time the ball landed at the feet of anyone but Parker, slow and back to goal, they were quite comprehensively muscled off. I had a snack at the half. Nothing changed, and Joe Cole scored in a way that seemed very embarrassing for all Spurs involved. It was as if they'd all peed themselves at once, and somehow another man profited from their collated incontinence. 

      But then Sigurdsson looked good! And Bale, of course, nailed it. Half on my unsteady, padded rocker, I half-screamed at his strike. Seated in the middle of the day 7,000 miles and a bunch of time zones from the action, yells of a more full-throated variety are difficult to muster. But if I didn't produce it, I felt it nonetheless. I gave a clap, texted my mom, made a drink with gin, and pretended like I hadn't still felt the nerves all through that extra time. Their historical deficiencies, the frailty and fear and proclivity for disappointment and inability to produce feelings of security, were unabated still by the Welshman's arrow. I knew that somehow Jaaskelainen himself would race/lumber to the opposition box and equalize for them, plunging his debt. 

     One man is basically scoring all the goals, if you haven't heard. Dembele's strike in Lyon and Sigurdsson's epic bundle seem exceptions to the rule. Adebayor is meant to be the tip of the proverbial spear, yet it is the poisoned barbs beneath the dulled head doing the damage. In the main, the work of the team instrument is being accomplished by a single component, though Lloris has been great at the way back. The others have ranged from forgettable, though not without very special moments of nice-ness, to more-than-solid, without being overly productive. No matter the individual quality of each member of the back four, any sort of attack turned towards them yields a disgusting amount of anxiety. Despite the quality of our center backs by themselves, I would like to see the unifying presence that will accompany Kaboul's return. Caulker is very good; Vertonghen is very good, at least when he plays at the center of the defense; Dawson is decent, and provides occasional offensive support, though the team's counter-attack is pitiful in its sloth. 

     Examples are often shown of the extent to which the fan "loves" the game. How do I love the game, or the team? Purchasing ephemera, singing songs, deliberating on having to drive an extra day, an extra eighty miles. After watching the (uggggh) VICE (aaaaaabaaarfff) "Rivals" video piece on the animosity between, or, more accurately, emanating from, A.F.C. Wimbledon and/upon M.K. Dons, I want to visit England even less. If the plane dropped me straight off at the Lane and picked me up two hours later I will have considered the trip complete. But how does the game, or team, love us back? Anxiety, frequent emotional hollowness, grumpy-ness, and having to get up very early on weekends to watch something you fear might be a crushing loss, and feels like a crushing loss even when it's not. A hangover deepening and sharpening as the goals from rather twinky fellows in red shirts pour in on your mom's birthday, when she wanted to hang out with you and watch soccer at a bar on a Sunday morning. And then once it's 5-2, and it'll be 5-2 the next time when you wake up at 4:30 on a Saturday before having drive an hour North to take a four-hour train to the Bay, you feel even worse about not getting a particular woman's phone number at the party the previous night, and the rest of the day is just awful. 

     But today felt great. The tying goal against Manchester United a couple months back, when I had to wait for it to show up OnDemand and the epic soup I'd crafted disappeared down the drain amidst overheated glass, inspired the same feeling. The conclusion of the dramatic narrative, where we get to win this time, where it's our dream and we're taking it the fuck back. Catharsis and amazement and satisfaction, even when broke off from the uncertain surrounding rubble, are what we ask for, and what is seldom delivered. Yet when I fell asleep out back after the match, The Wings of the Dove half place-held on my knee, the Spurs scarf still hung about my neck and I was smiling.