Thursday, April 26, 2012

WM 2002--Goodbyes and Championship Pick

WM 2002To my dearest friends old and new,

Editor’s retroactive notes:

Sob. How sweet. Time for a swift walk around the block.

I can scarcely believe that within a few hours we shall have no excuse to talk to one another. What a tragedy! L A short month ago I found myself friendless and clinically depressed. Loneliness cuts deeper than any other adverse emotion, particularly when it descends upon an eccentric character such as myself. Contact buoys one’s perspective in so many subtle metaphysical ways. Hearing from every last one of you has kept me afloat…even those e-mails that respectfully indicated that the sender had no fucking clue what I was talking about. The World’s Game has brought us all together, and reminded a soul wandering astray of the undeniable importance of scope. Such a wide-open realm of possibilities we live in…wide as the perfectly manicured football pitches I’ve spent the better part of this summer staring at. The money is appreciated, but all of you have given me something that is impossible to quantify…you’ve once again revived my understanding of how incredibly large and complex this earth on which we all live is. Such a beautiful intricacy! Such a magnificent snafu! It’s filled with amazing people, all of whom I have privilege to know.

Editor’s retroactive notes:

Waaaaaahhh! Can’t take it. Need another walk around the block. Why are we all so distracted? Why is our instinctual reaction to all the inner-torment to spread more misery around? What fucking good does it do to drag others down to the level of your insecurity via some petty protectionisms? Why all the gossip, games, lies, exaggerations, and chest pounding? What precludes us from reaching out to one another in the spirit of good will and harmony? Sigh Since none of the questions posed fit the answer of “forty-two”, I confess to be thoroughly un-enlightened with respect to the deeper quandaries of the human race. Incidentally, should anyone be interested (which they’re likely not), these old “Goodbye” sections are excruciatingly painful to re-read.

The cheers echo all across this continent, through the heart of Europe, to the Southernmost tips of Africa and South America, all the way through Eurasia to the cradled islands of the Pacific Ocean. Great show, Lads. Bravo, boys. Gratitude to all footballers and football fans.

Editor’s retroactive notes:

Anyone ever have the feeling that the theme from “Nobody’s Fool” runs on a constant uninterrupted loop in their head?

The issue of who takes the ultimate prize almost seems immaterial. Nevertheless we shall press on with the Picks. The final match will be nothing more than a Pick. All bets are off for a game I wish solely to enjoy for its own sake. For those of you a little lighter in the billfold, I present to you the final chance to salvage some scratch:

Third Place Match—Turkey vs. South Korea


The collective Asian heart may be torn asunder, but it still beats. Like a good Korean Horror film, the undead will rise to claim their rightful inheritances. Betting against the hosts is equivalent to betting on a married man in a whorehouse or a cop in a donut factory. If you dare, I challenge you to lay money on a miracle. Go ahead and break some Asian hearts. Hunt the cunts if you must. All Yellows shall rejoice in the dying gasp of their representative. 

THE LINE: South Korea +2 Goals

Editor’s retroactive notes:
RESULT: Turkey 3, South Korea 2. The dying gasp was delectable to watch. It included twenty shots on goal (which felt like three dozen). It featured Lee Eul Young equalizing in the ninth minute and Song Chong Gug grabbing a meaningless bit of assuagement so deep into injury time that I had my thumb on the remote fully prepared for the “C-Span Switch”. The wily Red Devils did everything in their power to honor their fans, putting on a display that made P.T. Barnum look like Tom Hanks. In other news, lost a bit of money but gained invaluable experience…..blah….blah. The rhetorical device “Hunt the cunts” was inserted out of respect for Marine mates of mine who were generous enough to play “Hearts” with me. Though I’m more of a “Spades” man myself, I maintain great appreciation for a bunch of muscular hulk-like dudes who had absolutely no business inviting a long-haired and rail-thin piece-of-shit to their table. Semper Fi, do or die, Ou-rah, Ou-rah. What can I say? Was in a bit of a sentimental mood and wanted to thank all those who were welcoming at some point. Be welcoming if you can. Probability is on your side. J 

Supreme Champion of the Football Universe—Germany vs. Brazil

Germany vs. Brazil

Allow me to reiterate: ALL BETS ARE OFF. A bet against the Fatherland corresponds to self-mutilation, and not of the chic emo-teenager kind! We haven’t a chance without Ballack L L With any luck the earth will be destroyed to make way for a Vogon Hyperspace bypass and we’ll all cease to be anything but a whiff of hydrogen, absent the memory of how big a letdown this match was. My heart wilts at the thought of millions of Krauts getting hysterically drunk, their hopes and enthusiasm rising in tandem with their Blood-Alcohol content, only to realize that their team cannot match the spontaneous flair of the Samba Kings and instead settling on some really unsatisfying sex with a overzealous vamp they had previously been capable of avoiding. Ugh. Not good times!

None of this precludes us from viewing the Grand Finale with dreams, aspiration, and the very special sensation that emanates from a belly full of “liquid courage”. For this reason I obstinately refuse to put my money where my mouth is. I’d much rather wrap my mouth around a nice, cold tall one and refrain from thinking about anything so serious as spreads, exchange rates, and malicious attempts to play mind games with my mates. Let’s all give the world’s game the fond farewell it deserves. Grab some friends and some brewskis. Kick the rock around a bit afterward. Mannschaft über Alles!

THE LINE: Deutschland +1 Goal

Editor’s retroactive notes:
RESULT: Brazil 2, Germany 0. No travesty occurred here. I had a blast watching the game and reveled in the exuberation of a life turned around. If one might allow but a concise final foray into the realm of the spiritual, I again emphasize that this project’s concept was borne out of boundless desolation and despair. The exact same applies to the sequel that I’ll now proceed to mark up. Sure, I exacted some financial gain from the whole spiel, but to say that such writing was driven by the pure pursuit of dollar signs would be like saying that women fantasize about bathing in money when engaging in intercourse with an old fat dude. Okay….perhaps a better analogy might have suited my sincere point in that instance. Regardless, I’ve surely earned less in ten years than Paul Krugman rakes in for yet another hackneyed column entitled “I understand Economics, no one else does, and things still suck.” on any given Tuesday.  I’ve never even entered the vicinity of the outer solar system of making a living from words on printed page. The Simmons, Klostermanns, Pierces, Blunts, Eggers, and Mandees of the universe are conflagrating Red Giants to my infinitesimally small speck of dirty comet dust. A modest improvement in cash flow was not the primary motivating factor in sitting down to write: That would be the arduousness of crawling out of one’s bed. Not one among us hasn’t been there. The weight of an internal succubus bears down upon us, pressing down even the slightest impulse of will, a torrent of negative thoughts interrupting the signals to move we relay to our muscles. Nothing seems possible, for what could possibly yield something? If only we might realize that the mere act of initiating the endeavor constitutes victory. Within minutes the fear subsides, the task crowds out the visceral demons, and focus reigns.

Naturally, relief comes sooner when one engages in one’s own endeavor. Work that someone else arbitrarily deemed significant obviously presents a wholly different challenge. Thankfully that can always be pushed aside indefinitely while you compose a polished letter to an old friend, strike up a text you’ve been meaning to read, go for a run with a song you’ve gone too long without hearing, translate an article merely for your own edification, or….work on your own warped version of a document that comes straight from the heart. JJ

In a freakishly prescient sense, the sign-off “Kick the rock around a bit afterward” presaged the now trademarked “Go kick a ball with a stranger.” The latter phrase owes its origin to the 2003 Documentary “The Other Final”, climactically finished on the very day of the Germany vs. Brazil clash. Two Dutch filmmakers found themselves so frustrated with the qualification collapse of their beloved Netherlands that they elected to invite the two lowest ranked football nations for an exhibition match. On this day in 2002, the Caribbean Isle of Montserrat and the obscure Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan met in the thin air of Asia Minor. The result, much like the one above, was ultimately inconsequential. Go kick a ball with a stranger.