Football and fiction: move and be moved.


Janie In My Heart


A two thousand word story I wrote about a guy who needs to explain to an 8 year old girl that her mother—the love of his life—is dying of cancer. It all resolves as they watch the memorable match between Liverpool and Chelsea in which Torres scored two goals, back on Nov 7, 2010.

Read it on strange bOUnce (June 18, 2012).

Today I had a chance encounter with an extremely rare creature: a fan of my writing! She’s an elderly lady who received a copy of this story through my father. She loved it enough to pass it on to others, and we had a nice little chat about what I’m writing these days and about why she loves tea (it’s a social lubricant for her).

Some days I wonder why I write when it’s so hard to get anything published. And then some days are like this.

On a sadder but somewhat related note, young West Ham footballer Dylan Tombides passed from cancer today. A hammer in the heart.

Four goals four years ago

Apparently 4 years ago today, on April 6, 2010, I was back at my parents home in London watching Barcelona and Arsenal play in the Champions League. I was a grad student, so it was okay to take random weekdays off. Anyways, my mom was in the next room over, the kitchen, and I’d keep on telling her, with disbelief in my voice, “he did it again.” She’d come over to see what all the fuss was about, and see a replay of some guy kicking the round thing into the rectangular thing (not her words). I’d tell her that this was Messi.

My current readings are from an Irish novelist of two centuries since past, and I wonder if perhaps his use of the language is not affecting my own writing. If this be the case, it would not certainly be a bad thing, for his work is most wonderful, but I then must wonder what else of his writing may come to affect me. For one thing, the dreams of his characters are dark. A certain good doctor has been introduced, though, so there may be hope for me yet …

Toronto. Rice wine. Night-wandering. Bottle service. Dance floor (bad knee). Dubious activity. Two AM street meat. Empty wallet. Everything else full. One turns thirty. A decade. A drop in the river.

While I love the sight and smell and feel of the printed book, it seems that I have difficulty reading them. Perhaps the paper and ink, the magics bound within the form, distract me; the pages on a screen turn so much quicker.

And I’m Injured …

A week ago today I sprained my MCL. That was the night before starting the new job. I have no crutches and the people at work had never seen me walk before, so they must be wondering if this is just the way I am! 

The timing is not bad though: I hope to be back in action by the time the snow melts. I can sprint on the exercise bike already. Also, my self-diagnosis was spot on, if you trust my sports doc (I once had to explain to him why his theory didn’t account for all of the symptoms, and he did accept my counter proposal) …

Physiotherapy starts Wednesday. The important thing is to strengthen my knee properly, maintain the highest level of fitness my reduced mobility allows, and get working with a ball as soon as I safely can. It’ll be a close call as to whether I’ll be able to go right into preseason training with the team or whether I’ll have to do some extra catchup. Either way, I’ll work hard, and carefully, to put myself in the best position possible.

My Big Sam Moment

Ahh, Feb 14th. I remember. It was the year 2012. Everyone was busy watching some Champions League match involving a team called CF Barcelona or FC Barcelona, or something like that. But not me. No, I was in the Bobby Moore Lower watching Mark Noble convert a penalty against fellow table leaders Southampton. And I remember the nerves as we went down to 10 men, the palpable anxiety in the air, the tension the tens of thousands of us bottled, threatening to drowning the place. And I remember the assurance, the calming feeling that spread through me and those around me, soaking up the pressure and sending it far away, when I looked to the touchline and saw the figure of Big Sam standing there in his black coat. I remember thinking, “If he has this effect on us, what must the players feel when he stands up like that?”

Cats are, as always, the writer’s worst enemy. Had to hide in a crypt to get anything done.

Some things seen and heard in the away stand at Craven Cottage on New Year’s Day. I’ve also got a video of the last 5 mins of the match, when we were pressing for a point with only 10 men.

A bit of footage I caught at the Boleyn Ground on Boxing Day. Despite the result, I don’t think we played to poorly actually, all things considered. There was a period in the second half when it looked like we could have won the game, and going into the match I wasn’t sure we’d ever be in that position.

I’ll be going to Fulham on New Year’s Day (my first away match!). Winning that game will be a lot more important than getting a result against Arsenal.