Growing up, I felt connected to my family and enjoyed my friends, but I felt that those connections were limited and did not extend to the place. There was enough on television, in magazines and books and dreams to realize that I thought there was more fun to be had by leaving that home.
Even though I knew I wanted to leave home, after leaving, I never really thought much of home as a geographic boundary, but as a gathering of the people with whom I wanted to live. Recently, I have felt a soft rushing of love for and connection to a geographic boundary that has become my true home: Columbus, Ohio.
A major part of my love for Columbus has to do with CCSC and Mapfre Stadium. I am proud and overjoyed to be able to watch professional and international soccer matches in a stadium that is within walking distance to our little house. I have become more connected to Columbus by passionately following and rooting for CCSC. I am rooting for my team and my town.
In the past, Emily and I used to attend matches alone and we enjoyed the sparse attendance. We would sit where we wanted. We might share an entire section with a handful of other fans.
Now, I am frustrated by the lack of attendance at CCSC matches. The new owner of CCSC has done a great of job trying to integrate CCSC with Columbus history and culture. An updated badge and local beer options at the stadium are only a couple of the changes that increases my love of my club and my home.
The geographic boundary that home designates only outlines the space in which I want to be with family and friends and fellow fans. Emily and I share our Mapfre home with a couple friends: Section 106, Seats 22, 23, 24, 25.
I wish more people would come to visit and sing and have a pint and be massive and be proud of their home.
After the frustration of an international break, finally Arsenal would be playing this weekend. Not only were they playing, they were playing Liverpool at 7:45 on Saturday and I didn’t have to do long a run before the match. I am training for the Pittsburgh Marathon and this weekend my training schedule allowed me a break from a long run.
After I completed my run last Saturday, I started getting excited about Arsenal v. Liverpool. I knew that I would start my day with soccer and cocktails. Either because of poor or wonderful planning, I forgot to eat anything before heading to Hendoc’s. So, for breakfast I had donuts, beef jerky, a couple Bloody Mary’s, and beer.
There is something wonderful about spending a beautiful, sunny, early spring morning watching soccer and drinking amongst one’s peers. The sun shined more brightly with every Arsenal goal: 1-2-3-4! Arsenal 4, Liverpool 1.
So after Bloody Mary’s, beer, and an Arsenal victory in a big match, I left Hendoc’s with a wonderful glow. The rest of the day included eating wonderful, bad food, drinking a bit more beer, and supporting a local movie house (Studio 35) by attending an afternoon showing of a documentary about The Ramones – “End of The Century”.
It was a pretty good day: I lounged and overindulged, sang along to songs from my youth, and allowed myself to think that Arsenal still had a chance to move to the top of the league. The sun, alcohol, and processed food can really put the sparkle in one’s brain chemicals.
Even though I did not have to complete a long run this weekend, I did have to get complete a long-ish run. I wondered what my run would be like after such a fun day.
As I was running on this Easter Sunday, I decided that I was completing my first Resurrection Half Marathon (R13). If I remember the R13 next year, I will make a point of putting around 10 ground rules in stone. The gist is that starting on the Friday before Easter, you begin to eat and drink to a point that by Sunday you will need to be resurrected to get through the slog of 13.1 miles.
Today I did not feel great. I started a bit late. Once I got going, I felt as though I was reborn: I have made it through an international break, Arsenal will play weekly through the end of May, CCSC’s season is up-and-running. I am the son of god!
I’ll tell you one thing you can’t do: You can’t put your shoes on, then your socks on. – Flavor Flav
I planned on wearing the tie during much of our trip to London, but before we left one of our dogs decided to chew the tie a bit. So, I was left with the socks and other ties to wear.
As we were preparing for our first match (Arsenal v. QPR), I decided to that I really enjoyed these socks and that these socks would be my good vibe socks and I would wear them to all of the matches we were attending: Stevenage FC v. Cambridge Utd., Fulham v. Briton & Hove Albion, West Ham v. West Bromwich Albion.
We got to watch the match with friends we haven’t seen since December. Local food (trucks) and local (Ohio) brewed beers are more prominently offered at Mapfre Stadium than we have had in previous seasons. Our team crest has been updated. All of this has been done by the new CCSC owner to emphasize and have pride in Columbus, Ohio. It’s good to appreciate your home and, by bringing “home” to CCSC, I think we fans may feel even more passion for OUR team.
The sun has started to warm our town. The season has begun. We won our first home match (2 – 0). My feet feet great.
Saturday, February 7, 2015 was not a happy day for Arsenal fans.
Early in the match, Arsenal was unable to get possession or hold possession. Initially this did not cause worry. Since the Man City match, there is a belief that Arsenal is a new team with more than one way to play. The Gunners could lay back, “park the bus” a bit, and wait to strike on a counter-attack.
This actually did happen and Mesut Ozil scored after a beautiful 3 pass sequence.
After Arsenal scored, however, it began to appear that The Gunners were not just waiting for a chance to counter-attack: They simply could not consistently hold possession. To me it appeared that outlet passes were just a second late or at a slightly wrong angle. This lack of precision hindered a quick break or enabled an opponent to break-up the pass.
Why was Arsenal having so much trouble stringing passes together and holding possession for a sustained period?
I began to think that Arsenal was either having trouble with basic geometry, e.g. lines and angles, etc. or they were being affect by the Theory of Relativity, e.g. matter moving in time and space, speed of light, etc.
The passes were just off because their muscle memory for angles, space, and speed was off by 1 second. They could have been off less than 1 second or their reactive measurements were off 1 degree or less. So, the passes did not find Cazorla, Welbeck, or Walcott in stride. The passes forced them to pause and when you pause in football, you don’t have control of space. And to win in football, you need to have control of space.
So I thought it was Euclid and Einstein that was against Arsenal. Then as the match continued to slowly unravel, I noticed that every time defender Laurent Koscielny seemed to show up on the television screen, something bad had just happened or was about to occur. Koscielny conceded the corner kick that led to the opponent’s first goal and he chose not challenge a header that led to the second/winning goal.
I work as a counselor. During a men’s group that I co-lead this week, we were working on “Accumulating Positives” which is part Dialectical Behavior Therapy.
The idea of Accumulating Positives is being conscious of the need to partake in pleasurable experiences during your week. If I spend time with people I like, eat yummy food, have healthly sexy-time, do good work, etc. I will be happy or at least happier than if I didn’t Accumulate Positives.
At the end of group, the clients went around sharing the positives they would accumulate this week. As a way to bond and express a universal cry, I joined in: This week I will think and read and talk with others and watch television programs about Arsenal vs. Tottenham. On Saturday, I will watch the derby.
When I am accumulating positives, I don’t think one should focus on hate. When I accumulate positives, I don’t focus on hate. I focus on how much I LOVE to hate Tottenham.
Diverticulitis can cause severe abdominal pain, fever, nausea and a marked change in your bowel habits.
I have experienced pain and discomfort on-and-off for over a month. This week, finally, it reached a tipping point. The pain became too much and too constant. I spent 2 days off work and I spent much of the day Friday at my physician’s office.
I ingested and was injected with a variety of radioactive liquids. Blood and other fluids were removed and considered (I asked that the bandages be the color of my blood and heart: Arsenal Red – plus a little White)
I left my physician’s office with a plan and goals to meet. Take these drugs for 2 weeks and say “goodbye” to enjoyable food for a bit.
To increase the malevolent nature of my predicament, one of my medications (Metronidazole) will cause extreme illness if I drink alcohol while taking it. What level of evil must one reach to create such a drug? If you still believe in a god, than this must surely lead you to realize your god is one humorless prick!
During this time of discomfort, I have wanted to write about soccer, but because of the exhaustion related to my illness, I thought about soccer, but didn’t feel motivated to write.
Today Arsenal played Aston Villa. Villa has not scored a goal since the late 1950s. Arsenal recently beat Man City which has caused fans to experience the required amount of (ir)rational excitement of a “corner turned”, a “new dawn”, a “return to glory”, a belief one day we will be able to drink beer and cocktails regardless of the medications we are taking. Typical Arsenal reaction, eh?
The typical Arsenal reaction for me is to experience a bit a nausea and discomfort in the colon. It all makes sense now, but I don’t think my condition will show up on a CT Scan or that my doctor can prescribe anything better than what my barkeep can serve.
It is another FA cup weekend. This weekend, unlike 2 weeks ago, smaller clubs got positive results against big, large, enormous clubs. The big clubs were tamed, humbled.
On Friday, as I got home from work, opened the wine, and began to cook Chicken & Shrimp Piccata, I got to watch the final few minutes of Man Utd & Cambridge Utd. I love combining lemon, capers, and wine with my football.
After the game ended, the television coverage lingered on the jubilant Cambridge fans. The announcers noted that the fans would not be leaving their seats or the stadium any time soon. The announcers went on to report that that the stadium stewards would not force the crowd out of the grounds. This was a time and place to allow everyone to soak in the joy, to let the event take seed, to linger in the moment, and to move from being in the moment to nurturing the memory that would become the story repeated for years to come.
The result of the match was Manchester Utd nil Cambridge Utd nil. The game was a draw, a tie. Cambridge did not win. They will get a replay at Old Trafford and chances are Man Utd will trounce Cambridge in the replay. But Friday’s result was enough for an entire city to celebrate.
On Saturday, there were even bigger upsets, greater moments and memories. Middlesbrough beat Manchester City (who won EPL title in 2013-2014) 2 – nil. Bradford City beat Chelsea 4-2 at Stamford Bridge. Bradford was playing at Chelsea, Bradford was losing 0-2, and Bradford came back to win 4-2. Chelsea’s current squad cost approximately £200,000,000 in transfer fees. Bradford City’s transfer cost: £7,500.
In the states, every March a small school will upset a bigger school during the NCAA Basketball Tournament. In recent memory, the biggest upset in American Football would be Appalachian State beating Michigan in 2007. I don’t think there is any comparison in American professional sports.
Even the college upsets in the States do not really compare. While a college town will bask in the momentary glow of the upset, it is not the “town” that actually won. An institution, i.e. college, in the town won. Also, all college towns have some degree of a “Town and Gown” split. There will be enough “townies” in every college town who hate the eggheads enough that an upset won’t bring joy, but only increase the bitterness they have towards the kids in their Volvos with the Deadhead bumper stickers (cliché alert and I’m dating myself).
An FA cup upset appears to unite a town. There is a history that connects the football club and the town. The vice president of the Bradford’s city council for mosques Zulfi Karim respond to the victory over Chelsea: It’s the best news Bradford’s had this century.
The century is young, but everyone will be talking about 24 January, 2015 for decades to come.
March will be here soon. I love March. Spring is right around the corner. St. P’s Day is always a good excuse. And CCSC start the 2015 season on March 7.
CCSC had a solid 2014, but youth and naiveté was exposed painfully and immediately and coldly in the first round of the playoffs. By “coldly”, I mean the home playoff game was Mt. Everest Cold. It was quite chilly.
Besides just being excited about being able to watch CCSC in 2015, I actually think we might have a pretty good team this year.
The days are getting longer. March is getting closer.
Yesterday, Arsenal played a wonderful match. Just as I wrote that I purposely stopped myself from reporting the opposing team. As a fan who wants to see beautiful, determined play every match, I momentarily want to act as though the opponent doesn’t matter. I react with the same level of thoughtfulness and reserve regardless of the opponent or the result.
Whenever Arsenal play a wonderful game or a wonderful half or even string together a few sublime touches it doesn’t matter, in that moment, the opponent. For Arsenal, however, it has been about nothing but the opponent(s) for the last few seasons.
I’m a wonderful singer in the shower. When I attempt to croon in public, Emily raises a finger to her lips. It does matter where you perform. It is easy to sing by oneself.
For the last few years, Arsenal have appeared fragile, brittle against the top EPL clubs. They’ve lost 6-0 (Chelsea), 6-3 (Man City), 8-2 (Man U), 5-1 (Liverpool) in the not too distant past. Last year, Arsenal teased fans with the prospect of a return to glory. From August to December 2013, Arsenal had won 11, tied 1, and lost 2. Top of the League! And then they began to play the top clubs: 3-6, 1-5, 0-6, 03.
Yesterday: A match against a Big Club at their ground. I won’t speak for the rest of folks at Hendocs Pub, but I hoped for much and expected little.
I got more that I could have dreamed. Arsenal played like a team I remember seeing in 2004. They did have moments of beauty (as always), but they were also hard and defensive (a vague memory).
Arsenal shutout The League Champions. Arsenal played an away match against a Big Club and won. Emily let me sing all the way home.