This past Saturday was tough. To start with, I was working with the kind of hangover you get from just slightly over consuming the night before. Nothing crippling, just enough to slow you down and question how safely you’re driving. With a sharp burr behind my eyes established, my only other problem that day arose from Liverpool’s 3-1 defeat at the hands of feeble Bolton.
Lost in the hype of another embarrassing Liverpool league loss was that Bolton played well and deserved to win. That Liverpool’s squad, through much of the match, looked at best nonplussed goes without saying. They deserve to be shot into space after that performance, but you can’t have everything in life. You also can’t support a club without your friends gleefully pointing out its every failure, no matter the scale. To this end, I endured two separate indignities related to the Bolton loss on Saturday afternoon. Each encounter would burn the ignominy of the defeat deep into my skin like a rancher’s brand.
The first came at my parent’s house, where I’d committed to help my mother with her blog for the afternoon. Seated at the family computer with a fresh coffee, I checked the final scores for Saturday’s game: 3-1 to Bolton. 3-1? How?
I yelled out, low and desperate, -Come onnnnnnnnnnnnn.
- What’s the matter? my mom asked, - did Liverpool lose?
I slumped into my chair and pointed at the screen, my groaning nearly inaudible.
- Three to one? she said, - Liverpool aren’t very good this year, are they?
- No ma, they’re not, I replied.
She started to smile.
- You could always pick a different team, she mocked. -Do you still wear your old jersey?
- Not really, ma.
- What about that Hotten-ham team? They have a nice one. Why don’t you try them out?
-Why won’t this work? she howled.
Why indeed, I thought to myself.
After my parent’s place I was due at a Laser Quest in the east end of Toronto for my buddy Darren’s birthday party. At 4:30 in the afternoon, rattled by fantasies of Spurs fandom, I entered the facility. The place teemed with screaming eleven-year olds, all of them sprinting about the place in fullback caps, skinny jeans and skate shoes. I’m certain I saw one of them pee in a corner. The smell was unbearable: vomit mixed with stale underwear and farts. I spotted a defeated father huddled furtively in a corner, attempting to read a Stieg Larrson novel out of sight from his son and his friends.
And then Darren walked in, a grin spread across his face. Darren likes soccer too, and by the look on his face he’d seen the day’s results. Darren’s from North Bay, Ontario, about four hours north of Toronto. It isn’t exactly a soccer hotbed, so naturally Darren supports United.
I couldn’t bear to hear him speak. –Just don’t even start, I blurted.
- You lost to Bolton! Bolton are terrible!
- Whatever dude.
- Whatever! You guys are the worst! Why don’t you go support Spurs! At least you’d still be supporting a big four club!
The truth was terrible, but the mocking was worse, and it wouldn’t stop. Laser Quest suddenly grew incredibly noisy. An alarm went off indicating that it was time for our group to enter the darkened, black-lit gauntlet. A swarm of rancid Rob Dyrdek clones charged towards the entrance where we stood. It was as though Darren had recruited every child at the facility to mock my team’s characterless results in unison and I was now about to die at their hands.
As I succumbed to their blows I thought, -Why can’t we just be consistent? Why can’t we just be good?
I hate Liverpool.