Thursday, May 28, 2009

Deja Vu, C'est La Vie!

Before all the readers see the pictures and run off, this article IS about football, and I don't mean 'Soccer'. But I have to relate the two after yesterday's UEFA Champions League Final took place in Rome between Barcelona and Manchester United (the team I support).

Manchester United came into this match on a roll, much like the 2008 Miami Dolphins rolled into the playoffs. Barcelona's defense and efficient ball movement proved too much for the United crew, much like Baltimore's stifling defense and efficient ball movement proved too much for Miami.

Miami starts with an 'M' and has three syllables. Manchester starts with an 'M' and has three syllables. Baltimore starts with a 'B' and Barcelona starts with a 'B'. I support Miami, and I support Manchester. And they both lost the biggest games of their respective seasons. And in both games, the stars/leaders were shut down.

Pennington threw 4 INTs and was visibly shaken. Christiano Ronaldo missed on several shots early and then was completely flustered, and starting acting out.

There were more reflections than I wish to list, but the deja vu was ever clear, and it reminded me of the grim reality of the 2008 season. That it ended suddenly, harshly, and without much fanfare. And I remember the day it ended. And I remember how I felt. No matter how realistic you are heading into it, it still burns on the way out. And, like many bloggers/commenters, I couldn't deal with those feelings at first. I was too angry, too disappointed. I didn't even go on the Sun-Sentinel blogs for a few days and when I finally did, I waited even longer to leave any comments.

But at least I wasn't in Rome, or anywhere across the pond, for that matter, when my beloved United lost badly, 2 to nil. After the match, one United fan didn't take that week off that I did for the Dolphins loss, and promptly killed four people. And in 2007, Manchester United fans, upset after one of their players was ejected from the match, got into it with the Italian coppers. See the image below (look away from the blood to see the stadium seat about to sock the other guy in the back of the head). So, Dolphin fans, I relate this question to you. What is the most disappointed you have ever felt as a fan (of anything, not necessarily the Dolphins)? And have you ever killed anyone, maimed anyone, or polished off a fifth of absinthe due to the resulting depression of that disappointment?

I can tell you that after the 2007 season (which, fortunately I was unable to watch most of), I took my family on an extended trip to the coast and did nothing but doze on the beaches and see the sights. I did not turn on a TV, make a phone call, or check my e-mail for two weeks. After the 2008 season, I did almost the same thing. Nobody died during these trips, but a lot of money was spent primarily to avoid any kind of stress at all. That's how I deal with these things. How about you?


  1. The Knight who says Ni!May 28, 2009 at 9:08 AM

    \nWhy so many fans of the most boring game on the planet get so violent has always boggled my mind. That\'s like killing someone for losing in Parcheesi.  :(

  2. knight, all sports are subjective when it comes to who follows them, but this level of soccer is definitely not boring.  Soccer in general, especially if Americans are playing, yes, can be boring, but not the creme de la creme.  No way you can call Christiano Ronaldo 'boring'!
    The game moves at real-time, which no other sport (besides swimming, which actually IS boring) does.  How can you call a sport with no time-outs, no walking allowed, and so much running, jumping, kicking, falling, heading, tumbling, scissor kicks, free kicks, penalty kicks, fans in scarves, wielding knives, literally lighting each other on fire, whilst pounding 20 or so beers and singing in unison, whilst the whole event is covered by two extremely drunk old commentators who spend more time talking about players who are not in the game because of their ingrown herpes scandal in the local papers boring?

  3. One thing I must say about soccer fans, especially English ones.  The last 2oo times I went to sporting event in the US, the crowd couldn't even get the 'wave' going, much less pull off some of the tributes that the soccer fans can.  I went to a match at Euro 2004 in Porto where the english fans created a tribute to one of the players where at least 400 fans were holding up placards that created a giant sign.  Try to get your average dolphin stadium attendees to do that.  Damn, the Jets can't even get four guys to hold up J-E-T-S in the right order!

  4. email is optionalMay 28, 2009 at 1:31 PM

    Chuckle. A lot of people over here think American football is boring. It takes 3 hours to wait for an hour of action and the players are so soft, they have to wear pads. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder?
    Anyway, back to the blog subject. Sporting disappointments - there's a Pandora's box full of pain best left unopened? I expected United to win last night, even though Barca were slight favourites, but they were second best on the night, especially in midfield, where they seemed to miss Fletcher (something I thought I'd never say) more than perhaps anyone expected? By contrast, I really didn't think the Fins would beat the Ravens, even though we had put together a good late-season run.
    I think with defeats, you just have to shrug them off, hit reset and wait for next season. The great equaliser in American Football is the draft, the scheduling and the salary cap, meaning even a 1-15 team can start the next season with some hope! (unless you live in Detroit)
    As for the ultimate disappointment, well, being a fan of the England soccer team does harden you somewhat (1966 was a long time ago!) but the 49ers beating the fins in the Superbowl (the first one I watched) tops my list. To cap it all, someone had slept in my bed whilst I'd been away at the weekend and when I crawled into my pit at 3am, there was puke in the bed. I have no fond memories of that night at all.

  5. LOL.  Now that's the sort of story I  was hoping to read!
    What I found bizarre was how the ref let almost anything go for 80 minutes and then started calling everything against United/Renaldo, when they were getting stomped on for most of the match.  Of course, Ronaldo's lack of subtlety was ridiculous, but the Scholes foul was laughable.
    I think the absolute lack of ball control from Anderson/Rooney and Ferdinand were the underlying issue, along with Ferguson fielding the wrong starters.  Barcelona put in a small, speedy, defensive minded group, and United put in all their tallest, slowest to match up with them, and they ran circles around us.  That and they were completely shell-shocked by the first goal and looked amateurish afterwards.  The second goal was amazing though.

  6. That dreadful night took place in a "bachelor house" filled with recent graduates, so you get the picture. Another amusing (& gross) story from there was that we also had a lodger staying with us - a big, drunken, smelly, rugby-playing Welshman (are there any other sort?) - and shortly before he left us, he disgraced himself. It wasn't a big house, but had a huge bathroom, so we used to air our laundry in there to dry it. After the deaprture of our lodger, I realised one of my shirts had gone missing. It truned up stuffed behind the S bend of the loo, and had some very suspicious skidmarks on it. Full marks for drunken improvisation (let's be generous - we must have ran out of loo roll?) but he coulda used his own shirt?
    Back to the match .... the whole thing was bizarre. Where to start. Well, they did start well, but the first goal knocked them for 6 as you say. As a team, they didn't play together or individually up to their talent level. The passing was atrocious - we gave the ball away too easily (partly self-inflcited, partly Barca pressure), the defence was poor for both goals and in general play, allowing Barca too many chances because they didn't close players down, the midfield failed to win the ball or provide quality balls to the strikers, the strikers were off target. Apart from that, it went ok?
    I think it was just one of those games. After seeing Chelsea survive over 180 minutes against Barca (they got the winner in added injury time), I thought United would have a blueprint for beating them. But truth is, the United midfield was much weaker than Chelsea's on the night and we were less convincing in defence too. Also, I'm not sure if United would have scored if they were still playing now. Fergie put a lot of blame on the defence. This season was a wierd one. We looked invincible for much of the Premiership, but had a distinct wobble when we looked like we'd crossed the finishing line and it all started (to go wrong) at the back. Vidic, who looked like a rock all season, seemed to lose the plot, but the whole back four were very unreliable. We didn't have a total melt-down last night, but it was less than convincing and reminded me very much of that wobble. Truth is, if you don't play at the top of your game in a contest like that against a team like that, you aren't going to win. No doubt the best team on the night won, but United are much better than that. Can I come in off the window ledge now?

  7. PS Scholes can't tackle period. I wish he'd been on in the first half though. We needed his calm head, ball control and distribution.

  8. I went into having not seen Barcelona play all year so I didn't really know what to expect.  I didn't realize Thierry Henry was on their side and I did actually say 'uh-oh' out loud when I saw him coming out of the tunnel.
    I'm not sure what United could have done defensively agains the second goal.. Van Der Saar tried to close the angles for Messi(sp?) but the ball went straight from the foot of the passer to the sweetest possible spot on his head and the ball was indefensible from that point.  Other than them taking away the cross, it was one of those magical plays.
    But your analysis of the team-play was spot on.  I've actually thought Vidic and Ferdinand were both shaky for the last four matches (the only ones i saw).  Vidic has been shaky in EVERY game I've watched, but he's bad ass on Playstation 3, lol.  Plus he's Serbian and my wife is Croatian, so I kind of have to support him by default (in sports, not in life)!

  9. btw, I never see parcheesi anywhere anymore...

  10. The Knight who says Ni!May 28, 2009 at 3:23 PM

    I was just trying to rile you Brits up.  :-P

  11. Did that guy get stabbed in the forehead?
    The good news is that after that seat hits the guys friend, they can get 2-for-1 stitches at the ER.
    Bad news, the THIRD friend now has to leave the game to take them to the hospital!

  12. The Knight who says Ni!May 28, 2009 at 4:23 PM

    If you look in people's closets, basements and attics you will find a plenty. LOL

  13. I played 3 yrs of soccer in high school,and loved it,but it bores the hell out of me these days..Strange b/c it's 90 mins nonstop,and in American football(which I'll watch NONSTOP b/t Thurs and Mon),the ball is ACTUALLY IN PLAY less than a forth of the said 60 mins,(which is actually a 3hr avg broadcast),the other 2hrs and 45 plus minutes the ball just humps the turf,(ahhhh what a life).. 
    I like watching the American National team,when it's a game of meaning(World Cup)etc,but the games are too few and far between to hold most Americans attention,with too little scoring,and lousy acting perfomances of flops..
    But yagotta love the fans,@least the civilized ones!!

  14. Avoid me @ all cost after a Dolphins loss,and the work week SUKSS!!!
    CAN'T watch sports/highlights/news/anything until"OUR"FINS next attempt @ VICTORY!!

  15. And yes,I have watched sports/highlights/news/anything since the playoff loss!!
    ONLY b/c I watched my taped replay of AFCeast division clincher daily for two weeks after the loss,and several times since..

  16. I can't decide whether ROTH looks like Frankenstien,or BabyHughey in that SS OTA photo..
    Someone said he resembles the Knight of Ni,(I could see that too)!!
    Put a couple bolts in his neck,and I see PeterBoyle with his thumb on fire..