Thursday, May 17, 2012

Napa Valley Roller Coaster: Reflections on Survival Sunday in the Barclay's Premier League

photo by Omar G!via PhotoRee

Correspondent Scott enjoys a good glass of wine.  He must have enjoyed several while writing the following:

It was a cruel joke that Survival Sunday fell on Mother's Day this year, forcing fanatics like the staff members of Farlieonfootie to juggle maternal appreciation and football fandom.  And like any cruel joke, some were left laughing and some were left crying.  I speak, of course, of the players, coaches and fans of certain EPL teams and not of our families who have long since resigned themselves to our pathological devotion to the sport which allows, nay forces, us to spew forth on these pages in the form of cathartic rants, bemused observations and the occasional (usually accidental) insightful analysis.

And what a Sunday it was!  In the course of two hours, dreams were crushed and fulfilled, fears were realized and vanquished, all while the city of Manchester rode a punishing blue and red emotional rollercoaster that saved its most dramatic architecture for the very last.  For Queens Park Rangers, Arsenal and maybe even Tottenham, the ride was tumultuous but ultimately exhilarating in that "holy crap that was scary but let's do it again" kind of way.  For Bolton and Newcastle, however, the ride ended in nausea with the former needing a year minimum to recover.

For some teams, such as Liverpool (Merseyside superiority notwithstanding), Swansea, Chelsea and Blackburn, tamer entertainment more akin to a turn on the merry-go-round was on display.  With not much to play for and most everybody watching the spectacle of the Manchester Matterhorn, the toddler side of the park was, not surprisingly, uneventful.  With Liverpool underperforming again and Blackburn losing again, there was nothing to write home or to farlieonfootie about.

But I did feel like a kid at Disney after the Manchester City v. Queens Park Rangers game - I had just stumbled off Space Mountain for the first time and wanted desperately to do it again.  Unfortunately, much like the lines formed by the droves who similarly craved to careen through the blackness again, the wait for another day of football like this will feel (if not be) an eternity.  Instead we will have to savor the sensation of this most brilliant day of football like a heavenly cabernet you never want to completely swallow.

The Manchester games were, indeed, a magnificent blend of red and blue grapes offering up a decadent wine aged for 9 months in an English barrel of stadia.  Purple to the eye, with viscous legs and translucent body, the nose hinted at a terroir about to be conquered after 44 years of subjugation.  Each sip waded further into a kaleidoscope of flavors - skill, effort, talent, money, competition, frustration, retaliation, shame, hope, determination and stamina.   But the finish was the most memorable of all - a long-lingering and succulent combination of victory, defeat, euphoria, disappointment and, yes, even schadenfreude. 

This is farlieonfootie for May 17.

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