We all live our lives as good as we can, and if we are lucky then large periods of it are lived relatively worry free (and many of us are not going through a nice period at the moment – maybe the injury of our very own nr.14 earlier this year was an omen of what was to come this calendar year?).
When I was thirteen, during a moment of contemplation (and realisation that classical education was not for me), I came up with the five ‘V’s’ of happiness and aims in my life:
- Vriendschap – Friendship
- Meisjes/Vrouwen –Girls/Females
- Vrijheid – Freedom
- Voedsel – Food
- Voetbal – Football.
Voetbal has always been a great source of happiness and had a central place in my life from as long as I can remember. It still amazes me how so many people have made this sport so central to their lives.
I spoke to a colleague the other day about her dad who is fighting an unwinnable battle with cancer. He was taken to a hospice in December last year and she feared his life would be over soon; but he has an iron will, and his love for sport and football in particular, keeps him hanging on. When I spoke to her last week, she said he had lost so much weight and hardly ate any food any more, but he was in good spirits because the Rider Cup was on over the weekend and his beloved Man United were playing. That made me quiet, realising once more what deep power sports have over the happiness of people.
Football, and for us in particular, our club Arsenal bring so much joy and ‘hope for better’ and often, subconsciously, functions as a surrogate for our hopes and dreams in ‘real life’. And we all suffer disproportionately if and when our team does not live up to our (often unrealistic) expectations. I understand how a defeat, or even a hard-fought for draw against the Spuds, can make fellow Gooners feel down. I would be a liar if I said it did not affect me.
But we cannot let this happen. We played a League game and there are 32 more to come, and we have to take the rough with the smooth. In two months time this result will not look so bad any more and other teams will drop points against the Spuds too (whose manager will get them more and more to play his way).
There is not too much to say about the game, which I only saw on quite a bad stream. They set up to play us on the counter and we dominated them for most of the first half. Our midfield was trying to find the gaps and it only seemed a matter of time; and then came the injuries to the two more defence minded players, which put us out of our stride. It took us time to get back into the game in the second half, and then they scored a goal that could/should have been avoided. But that is football – it isn’t perfect all the time.
The crowd comes once again to life and the players find the inner-animal to fight back. We manage to put them under pressure but their defensive shape is impressive and they seem to hold out. But then comes the scrappy equaliser and we fight on for the three points. Ten more minutes and we might have done it. One more substitution and we might have done it (but they were all used up). So it ends in a draw and we feel disappointed because this Spuds team was there for the taking.
But this season, as every previous season, will have many twists and turns and key is to keep believing and supporting, whilst enjoying the ride as much as desperately wanting our expectations to be met.
Supporting Arsenal in a happy way is becoming more and more of an art these days. And we should all take a bow to Terry who buried his fine farther last Friday and still manages to cheer us up. Now there is a Man in Full. :)
Come On You Rip Roaring Gunners! Let’s make The Canon roar and take on the Turks with passion, power and deadly precision in two days time.
This is The Arsenal – By Far the Greatest Team and we supporters support you.