Sunday, October 28, 2007

Football - The Hooligan Reasserts Himself


I suppose some explanation is warranted when a posting starts with an exclamation, but I fear what you'll think of me. Frankly, when I started this blog, I wanted to make it one-stop shopping for anything and everything that appealed to me. Ok, maybe not EVERYTHING, I may be a Hooligan, but I like to think I'm discreet. And I was beginning to think it was a little too adventurous - food and wine and sport and opera??? I was thinking we'd focus more on the Cultured and less on the Hooligan. But today, the Hooligan reappeared.

Like so many of my days, it all started rather harmlessly, as I was trying teaching the local orphans how to read and write. Sure, it can be a thankless task, but I don't do it for fame or adulation. No, I do it because it feels so good to give back. Well after my time with the little urchins...umm, orphans...I hurried to meet my friend Bryan at Fado's. Arsenal, defender of liberties and all that is good and holy in this world was taking on the Liverpudlians a/k/a the Scousers. Well, perhaps not exactly, but that is the fan-base of Liverpool, another top team (but not the top of the table kind of top, like Arsenal) in the Barclays English Premier League.
The game was very tense. The referee awarded a dodgy free-kick to the home side and Arsenal were quickly down 1-0. Though the boys in red valiantly battled back (no wait -- Liverpool wore red at home, Arsenal were wearing white with maroon shorts and hooped socks. For the record, my friend Steve is a very big fan of hooped socks. For the non-Britishly inclined, "hooped" = horizontal stripes)...wait where was I? Oh yes, as the boys in white with maroon accents valiantly battled back, they could not break through the Scouser defense. Wave after wave of Arsenal attacks were unsuccessful, each one causing the tension to reach increasingly dizzying heights. But then, when in the 80th minute, Fransesc "Cesc" Fabregas (a/k/a Cesc Pistol or Fab4) scored to draw Arsenal even at 1-1. Pandemonium ensued. The bar erupted (to be fair, it was also pretty loud when Pool scored too) and I screamed. After a quick high-10 with Bryan, I lept of my barstool and hugged a man I did not know (I'm not ashamed to admit, I enjoyed it too). Then in my zeal, in one fluid motion I jabbed the air while giving a menacing stare in the general direction of a Scouser sitting at a nearby table, then banged my hands flat against the wall nearby, which gave off a loud, most satisfying "Ka-thump!"
And then "Ouch!"
I managed to hurt my left thumb in the celebratory process and I'm relatively certain that the ka-thump played a vitally important role. Though the game ended as a draw, let the record show that the boys inspired many with the fierceness displayed at Anfield today. They inspired with passion, they inspired with persistence, they inspired with grit. And though 3800 miles away, their heroics inspired the return of a certain Hooligan, which in turn inspired a certain "Ouch!"

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