Sea of Heartbreak

author: Andy Nugent source: Panasonic DMC-FZ5 ...

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I can’t do it—just simply cannot do it. I know that through the magic of FootyTube, I could very well absorb the “highlights,” if that word can be used, of Liverpool’s recent defeats to Fiorentina and Chelsea. I missed both games due to typically communistic European practice of scheduling events according to a totally different time zone. (They use SMT—Socialized Metric Time—over there…a topic so hot, a conspiracy so deep, not even Glen Beck dares question the practice.) As a diehard Liverpool supporter (since about 2007), I know it’s my duty to watch the club, wherever they may ply their trade, whether in the Carling Cup or Champions League or—at some hypothetical (but increasingly less so) future date—the Coca-Cola Championship. And I know both those results carry dire implications for the Reds’ wobbly 2009-10 campaign. The loss to Fiorentina means Champions League qualification could turn into a mad scramble, possibly decided by goal differential with a French club or something terrible like that. Defeat at Chelsea puts Liverpool at the lip of the ankle-sucking mid-table mire in the Premier League. And even though you don’t pencil in three points in advance of an away match at Stamford Bridge, losing hardly serves as a title-contender credential, does it?

Then, there are the soap-operatic considerations. One of Liverpool’s clownish American owners blames manager Rafa Benitez for the club’s sluggardly performance. Much as I’d like to rush to the goaty little Spaniard’s defense, the fact that he replaced the reliable Xabi Alonso with the injury-riddled, 20-million-pound cypher known (but barely) as Alberto Aquilani more or less epitomizes his recent transfer-market performance. But I can’t really take sides in the annual Should Rafa Go? debate unless I watch the team…and yet, I just can’t.

Maybe I’ve just taken enough abuse at football’s hands of late. My futsal side, the Mighty Unicorns, went down to a one-goal defeat last Thursday night. On Sunday, Portland’s very own Timbers—after a fantastic, league-topping season in which they reeled off a record-setting unbeaten streak—flailed out of the USL-1 playoffs with a series loss to the evil Vancouver Whitecaps. (I recorded my feelings over on Portland Sportsman.)

 I don’t relish watching Liverpool lose, but watching the Timbers lose—that’s some personal shit. Emotionally akin to seeing one’s old high school girlfriend humiliated on national television or one’s little brother trampled by bullies. Scarring. So maybe I just need a little psychic space. A home to go home to, if you will.

What? USA v Costa Rica coming up? How retro and comforting—like listening to Led Zeppelin after a steady diet of angular post-punk or whatever it is that has replaced “grime”. Should be terrible. Should be perfect. 

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About zachdundas

Freelance journalist. Author of The Renegade Sportsman (Riverhead Books). Thank you.
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