Saturday, April 23, 2005

The most wonderful time of the year.

There's a lot to be said for springtime. Some folk enjoy the budding nature of trees and stuff. Some people like opening day and freezing their nuts off at ballparks all across the northeast. I love the climax to the English football season. As April turns into May I start having crazed phone conversations with family and friends about obscure mathematical probabilities and the consequences of events that influence other events that would set off a chain of scenarios that would either determine failure or success.
This is part of a national obsession. In the spring of 1998 I was on a train with friends returning from a Norwich game at Reading. We were heading back into London for our post match revelry. I don't even remember the score, it was a crappy game between two teams that had nothing to play for. We got into conversation with a respectable gentleman. He asked us about some of our players and so on. We asked if he was a Reading fan "oh no, watch that lot? you must be mad! I just got tickets for the game a few weeks ago when your lot were in trouble. I thought it might be a fun game to watch, you know, someone might get hurt". By hurt he was meaning that either Norwich or Reading might be so desperate for survival that one of the teams might suffer a near fatal defeat (as opposed to actual physical harm). I love that. I love looking out for the winners across the leagues but also looking for the casualties. This year it looks highly likely that my beloved City will be one of those casualties. As I write we are mounting a crazy rearguard action which involves actually winning games. This has not been part of our plan this season but hey? Could work!
It all comes to pass around the third weekend in May. Cup Final day. Still my holiest day of the year. I shall find a bar in NYC and get drunk at 10am on a Saturday whilst watching the game.
The most wonderful time of the year, yes indeed.

12 comments:

jamie said...

even though the final pits bleeping Arsenal versus fecking ManU, i still look forward watching. as for the Canaries, i don't want to jinx anything (i am a Red Sox fan after all; World Series win be damned), but they've been playing like a team on a mission, and their final 3 games (@ Southampton, Birmingham, @ Fulham) are favorable, especially if they can get a draw from the Southampton/Crystal Palace tilt on May 07. i feel for you boys, especially given that Norwich have given away points at inopportune times (cf. vs. Manchester City), but at least there will be some excitement over the last few weeks rather than a foregone conclusion.

Mondale said...
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Mondale said...

Indeed, It is better to die on your feet etc...
We should talk about watching the Cup final. At least this year I can happily support the 'Arse' without the moral conundrum of last year.

jamie said...

and there's even a decent chance that Ipswich may not make promotion. i have to think that a combination of Norwich staying up and Ipswich staying down would be cause for major celebration in parts of East Anglia and the Northeastern US.

Listmaker said...

count me in!

i of course say this a month ahead of time but give me a chance!

hey, let's have a belmont stakes party. who wants to cook up some crabs?

weasel said...

We..are..staying..up...ohhhmmm.
We..are..staying..up...ohhhmmm.
We..are..staying..up...ohhhmmm.

My new mantra. Jamie, it has to be Arsenal for the cup; they are southern, they have that nice Mr. Henry (I used love his brother Lenny's TV show), and Manchester United are a bunch of chavvy bastards about 47 years overdue a for a ropey charter flight to Munich.

Mondale said...

Hey weasel, don't hold back on the old Munich '58 gags!

Listmaker said...

i meant a preakness party. man, i'm an idiot.

Mondale said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mondale said...

What's a preakness party?
Are you up for the cup final? it may involve travelling to the upper west side at 9am on a Saturday morning.

Listmaker said...

yes, i might get up early to see football. we'll see, won't we?

the preakness? horse racing in baltimore. the second race of the triple crown. we get drunk on the preakness drink (check handwashings' recent post) and eat crabs and gamble.

Jim said...

I must admit, I know little about English soccer (football?). As an American, I grew up in a country that never really understood soccer. With all the kids playing soccer in the States, how do you explain the virtual blackout of professional soccer here?

Having said that, public TV used to broadcast an English premiere "game of the week" while in High School (late 70's, early 80's) and my best friend and next-door-neighbor was a huge fan. He followed the teams and we played our share of pick-up soccer in our area.

My son played soccer through middle school and into HS before dropping it his soph. year. Since then, I've not followed the sport much at all, although during the World Cup, I worked with an English chap at Unum and he was absolutely rabid for the sport and tolerated my ignorance in our conversations.