I woke up the other morning, fixed myself a bucket of coffee, just another Wednesday in the life, until I found this brilliant unprompted missive from the Captain in my inbox. Here it is for your enjoyment (edit – with video added):
I was watching the EPL review show this weekend (had a wedding and missed all the games), and I witnessed something that just made me feel, well, strange. I was enveloped by an overwhelming lack of familiarity and it was quite disconcerting. I’m going through a lot right now: no real home, living in Mass and NYC, soon no job, school; it could be any number of things causing me some kind of misplaced anxiety, manifesting itself during what should be a moment of relaxation. I’m watching sports and I’m half in the bag; this is normally butter! What is it? As I place my half-full Bud Heavy to my lips, it hits me: I FEEL LIKE AN AMERICAN. I feel like someone watching a sport primarily viewed by people residing in countries many, many more centuries older than mine (I say “many, many” ’cause I don’t really know how many). Not only are Europeans more experienced in class and etiquette, but also in anger and violence. These people can have a senseless riot where reason and human rights go right out the window, but then apologize and JUSTIFY it all in the same breath. Impressive stuff.
Anyhow, the moment in question where the weight of my culture came bearing down on me was (and I’m sure you saw this), when Adebayor scored for Man City against Arsenal. Adebayor, after banging home a solid header past Almunia, sprinted the length of the pitch and did about a twenty foot victory slide ending triumphantly in front of the away fans from London. Well, bedlam doesn’t quite describe how the Gunner fans reacted. Let’s use an American term: Batshit fucking nuts! Not only did the try to kill Adebayor, or any reachable Man City fan on the other side of the away fans’ barrier, they tried to kill each other. The report is several Arsenal fans sustained minor bumps and bruises along with a security guard knocked unconscious. Adebayor only suffered a bit of Carling to his dome. He’ll be just fine. Physically. Though, from what I’m reading, he’s facing quite an occupational hazard: a hefty fine and possible suspension!
For me, this is so unfun (not a word, but I never claimed to be good at this). And that’s what I mean about feeling so American. I’m not trying to say this as someone so plugged into his political beliefs and the world around him. No, I consider myself rather uninformed politically. However, I do know that I’m a Northeastern hick, and that is very different from being a Southern, or Midwestern hick, which many Europeans view as the majority in this country. It’s VERY different! Religion, race, abortion…even sports. Yeah, we both like football, but I like Pro football. I like superstars, spectacle, and nationally televised drama. I could give a shit about college football, and hey, I’ll go one better, I REALLY DON’T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL! Not now, nor when I was in high school. No one does. Why? ‘Cause it’s fucking shitty and boring! People from Oklahoma, Texas, even Ohio, care more about high school games than the pro game. Ok, I know, “But come on Capt, what about America’s Team!” Sure, the Cowboys are a big draw, but Texas is a big fuckin’ state. Why don’t you go a little north of Dallas, or west, or fucking HOUSTON, where there is a pro team. These cud-chewing bumpkins could care less, and they’d also kill for Jesus! There’s that too.
But while sitting on my couch watching highlights of Arsenal/Man City, I felt a kinship with those crazy bastards. I felt, like I’m sure most Americans, sane and retarded, Coastal and Interior, might: WHAT’S WRONG WITH TAUNTING THE FANS OF THE OPPOSING TEAM?! What more, if you are the fans being taunted, keep your shit together, and don’t start a riot! Now by European standards, this was not a real riot. The police were minimally, if at all involved, and no one was killed, but just the same, what the fuck?! And then, the English media treating the act as pure devilry, demanding serious action be taken against Adebayor. Me, and my new friends, Amos and Zeke, feel like not only the EPL, but the whole country is taking this way too seriously. And yeah, I know the backstory plays a factor. Arsenal traded away Adebayor after last season, but, for christs’ sake, all the more reason! I mean, I know he won’t, but if Brett Favre does a Lambeau Leap after throwing his third touchdown pass for the Vikings against the Packers in Green Bay, do you think he’ll be crucified professionally as well as personally? Maybe, he is Brett Favre. He’s got his share of enemies. Wouldn’t that be great though? Fuck the Packers! Yeah, anyway, not only is it fun to jack up opposing fans in sports, but it’s also ballsy as hell. Say what you want about T.O., but posing on the star in Dallas stadium after a 49er’s score was awesome. I also hate the Cowboys. How ’bout a random NHL reference? In a ’70′s playoff game between the Bruins and Flyers, Boston’s Phil Esposito skated over to the home Philly fans after a goal, and started bowing like an opera signer. He was showered with food, bottles… shoes! Yeah, shoes! And people went a bit nuts, but you know what? FUCKING COOL! What a moment! And I’m pretty sure no one was in danger of serious injury. Here’s another example: Any, ANY Sox/Yankees playoff game. Say some shit goes down in the stands, which it has before, you know whos’ responsible? THE FANS! Short of a player going into the stands, the fans and security guards should be held responsible.
It’s all relative I suppose. Look at the NBA meltdown at the Palace between Artest’s Pacers and the Pistons. Yes, that was out of control. Players in the stands fighting with fans is fucked up. But it had to get to that level for people to really say anything. University of Miami and FIU had a crazy brawl after a football game a couple of years back, in which helmets were being waved as weapons; again, this is fucked. But I think our perception is accurate. Even people who feel George Bush was only a little stupid, also can see what aspects of team sports are fun, and which are disrespectful and/or dangerous.
Being a big fan of world football, and a big fan of Arsenal for that matter, I can see how this was disrespectful. I can see that because England, like most European countries with domestic leagues, takes such strong measures to isolate home fans from away fans, that this could be construed as a dangerous action. That said, I thought it was quite a moment, even as an Arsenal fan! To watch our former striker, feeling slighted by the North London squad, sprinting well over a hundred yards, dramatically sliding the last ten, to celebrate what was a quality goal! It was one of those “moments”! A moment, where you’re like, “damn, that was bold!” What’s wrong with that?! Some Yankee advice to the folks across the pond: beware of strangling the fun out of your league. Players and fans alike will make it known they don’t appreciate the unwanted chaperoning. How about the NO FUN LEAGUE; a popular term used to address NFL fans’ disdain for commissioner Roger Goodell. But then it’s that whole American vibe shining through again. The truth is, the English fans, as well as the general European populace agree that he was way over the line, and should be disciplined. Harshly, perhaps; though I’m sure the Man City folks would prefer only a mild form of swift discipline. Three of their strikers are now sidelined with injury – including Robinho.
I’m just saying that I’ll be muting the T.V. when watching Sky Sports World, and they address “what punishment will be administered to the Togolese striker for his classless act inciting away fans to riot.” I mean, I know for the most part we’re a nation of rubes literally in its infancy, but hey Brits, go buy a six pack of Silver Bullets, pick up some slut from the Jersey shore, and watch the Bills and Lions battle on a special edition of ESPN’s Thursday Night Football. You will not witness any one person worthy of a Knighthood, but it’s a pretty good time.
Thanks, I needed to get that off my chest. Along with, GO MOTHERFUCKIN’ PATS YO!! Did you see that shit?!!! WHOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!
posted by Peter