Friday, 28 January 2011
Nothing else matters
A friend of mine, an Arsenal fan actually, was, a couple of years ago, having relationship difficulties. Don't worry, we never used the word 'relationship'. Things are never that bad. And we're not girls.
But, nonetheless, he was a troubled and distracted soul. One Friday lunchtime, when he was agonising over the latest twist or turn, I reassured him, or tried to, by saying at some point tomorrow, when you're at the Emirates, 2-1 up and starting to sit a bit too deep, or when it's 0-0 with five minutes to go and you think it's going to be One Of Those Games, you won't be thinking about any of this. All you'll be worried about is the match unfolding in front of you and all you'll be longing for is a winner/an equaliser/the final whistle.
A few minutes after that, of course, probably when you check your phone, all that relationship crap will start to occupy your mind again. But for 90 minutes, at least, you'll have been free of it.
Only football, for some of us, can be this consuming. And thank goodness for it.
Thank goodness, also, that it's only during the game that it overtakes us so powerfully and completely. In our real lives we think about it, we talk about it and we care about it. But, like Spinal Tap at Elvis' graveside, we have perspective - though not too much, hopefully
During the game, perspective is markedly, terrifyingly lacking. Everything else in our life shrinks to the point of trivia. The normally vital and much-loved elements of it become bargaining chips to be used in the only thing that actually matters.
We resort to Robert Johnson style deals. We offer up sacrifices. And it can get pretty diabolical. 2-1 up against Arsenal, Robin van Persie's just come on and looking a real threat, what have I got?...
Well I don't know about yours, but my dear old mum's knocking on a bit. If she wasn't such an avowed fucking atheist I'd tell her dad's waiting for her (we lost him in the last 10 minutes of the league cup win against Chelsea I'm afraid).
What else? Joyously, I'm the father of twin girls. They both have their own personalities, styles, idiosyncrasies, dreams etc. But, essentially, and sort of scientifically, they're the sort of same person? I'm sure I'm on the right lines, genealogically, here. So, what I'm saying is, even if there was just one of them from now on, in a sense, I'd still sort of have 'all' of them. Just in neater packaging.
What else? Well, thinking about it, almost exactly the same arguments apply to my bollocks. I'd miss whichever one had to go, but I'd get by. The similarities are spooky, actually. One's even slightly bigger than the other.
Right, so, that's a mum, a twin and a testicle vs three points against Arsenal. Deal or no deal?