To all my valued and treasured old friends: Know that the depth of our fellowship shall endure, even if it is yet again time to allow this website to lie fallow.
Living a life centered upon valiance engenders all manner of inconvenient endeavors, impractical commitments, and insanely long thankless hours. It remains well worth it. Better than living the life of a mediocre professor. : ) As I’ve often written, live lionhearted or don’t bother living at all. It’s a vast, empty, and godless universe. Those not cognizant of this fact live their insignificant lives on the tenure-track. Hell with them.
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.
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.
No other explanation suffices to explain how in the hell the Hellenes (80-1 odds prior to the tournament) are now one valiant miracle away from capturing the only continental title that matters.
This means we can all look forward to a few years of truly competitive African Football….maybe even a lighthearted Sportsbook courtesy of your friendly bookie JJ Before embarking on such an endeavor, I still must figure out what is consistently funny about Africa. You have my word that I’m on it J That being said, I insist upon laying down the law. Ahem. Africa and Europe provide the only worthwhile regional tournaments. Fuck your insipid CONCACAF Gold Cup. What shit could I possibly give about a tournament that will perpetually come down to Mexico vs. The U.S. Juniors? The Copa America never fails to escape my interest. The Asia Cup and the OFC Nations Cup put me straight to sleep. Viva Afrika! Viva Europa!
It wasn’t your fault that your boyfriend was hopelessly crestfallen over some below-average expendable mare. There we are. Before getting into any more trouble, let’s expend some words on Vicey’s wretched pursuit of a proportionate soundtrack for his schmaltzy farewells. The preceding words were written to Jan Garbarek’s “Twelve Moons”, spinning interminably on the old trusted JVC “Multi-Bass Horn”. Back in 2008, the Economist devoted an entire holiday double issue to the reasons we love music.
Bottom line? The notes stimulate certain unreachable dormant neural networks that would otherwise be inaccessible. Your mind contains over 300 Octillion separate neurons. To put that in perspective, that’s roughly the amount of grains of sand on earth or number of stars in the universe. Moreover, there’s very little you can do short of drinking yourself into a coma or snorting cocaine five times a day for fifteen years to kill them off.
Merely because their not readily accessible doesn’t mean that you cannot gain passage through the proper stimuli. Music happens to be one of hundreds of thousands of incentives for you to infiltrate the dark recesses of your mind; the hitherto quartered offed and insurmountable barriers. I earnestly hope you allow your own personal melodies endow you with the license of penetrating your own impervious barriers. Now we’ll progress to the Top Ten songs that inspire me to write a proficient “Goodbyes Section”:
Every four years the beautiful goes global, giving us the specific countermand we need to defeat that defeatist query. Booze, the eternal companion of sports viewing, also helps. Every other two years, the Europeans provide us with a comparable opportunity. To those of you who skipped over my Euro 2004 commentary, please hang with me in two years time for Euro 2008. It won’t be the same without you, and I sincerely mean that.
Caught up my work and soon headed towards a bright shiny future, I now have the honor of watching my country win its fourth European Championship with the best cohort of internationally minded friends anyone could ever ask for. Many of you I’ve known for years. Others I can hardly wait to work with. No matter the outcome of Saturday’s match, it’s into the unrelenting sunshine with all of us
You were deemed syndicate members because you are journeymen like me.
Every two years you find yourself in a fresh situation with loads of new exciting developments to report and tons of fresh quick-witted jabs to deliver. To all of those that I’ve met during my travels, my sojourns, and my more extended stays I merely wish to convey to you the following: The whole past month of furious writing was just for you. To all those who have found their place in life, and to those who continue to seek, glad we could share a global tournament over the past thirty days. JJ
May we all meet again in two years time, regardless of where on this planet life has decided to lead us. May we all once again congregate to celebrate the beautiful game and its universal appeal. May we all yet again wager money, level puerile insults, and catch up on the cell until the sun threatens to rise or set. The spectacle shall return. My sincere hope is that not one among us will be too busy to revel in it.
For those who are hopeful that my newfound nationalism will enable me to applaud the U.S. Men’s side…….sorry, I don’t do treason.
Should the States meet my beloved Mannschaft in any international competition, a scant few nanoseconds will be required for me to determine my loyalty. Sorry, Yanks. Women are acceptable, but I cannot enlist in Sam’s Army. They have ways of making me talk….and I’ve always liked talking to them. It’ll never happen.
May we continue to speak with one another in the spirit of enjoyment and discovery. To hell with the future one is expected to “win” for oneself. Although I hope these past three weeks have been something of an entertaining distraction for you, a larger hope is that I may still be considered a true friend; one that you may call anytime; one that you may always rely upon.
A decade has passed. Many of us have grown old together. Even though the responsibilities of adult life have shifted our priorities, we’ve retained the priceless character traits levity, perspicacity, and (of course) true heart.
I thank my wonderfully beautiful syndicate members for every last detailed reports on the new locations, new careers, and new families. Though I write a similar iteration on this theme every year, it has been an especially touching one. My heart sings at the news of your triumphs; triumphs of the lionhearted over an all-too-often petty and unkind world. You sharp ones deserve every last bit of success you presently enjoy.
More importantly, this Shadow Scholar will ALWAYS be here for you. I refer to you ‘on the brink’ of your individual aspirations, because I will not allow you to fail. Whatever anguish and dejection currently ails you, I will not allow you to face it alone. Your friendly bookie will never stand pat, picking you up and carrying you on his shoulders if he must. No one gets left behind in our circle. Absolutely no one. This world has place for all of us yet. We’ll strive until the very end.
There’s a very good reason winnings aren’t disseminated until the end of tournament. It takes me the better part of three days to calculate over 500 bets taken in U.S. Dollars, Canadian Dollars, Australian Dollars, Euros, British Pounds, Polish Zloty, Swedish Kroner, Czech Kroner, Swiss Francs, Mexican Pesos, Argentine Pesos, and a whole host of ridiculous African currencies. Christ, now you at least know why I’m so adamant about preserving the single currency.
Consider that for a moment. No gentlemen will be prompted to enter their wagers until the sultry calefaction of the brutal Summer compels us all to make insipidly insane decisions…like buying a ticket for “The Fast and the Furious—Part Six” in order to spend at least one hour in an air-conditioned movie theater. Sorry to augur such unforgivable stupidity, but it will happen.
Your friendly bookie ultimately likes communicating with you in a sincere fashion. After all of the sardonic shadowboxing, there comes a climactic time for heartfelt words.
Like any quixotic dreamer, I’m absolutely nothing without you. In a world inundated by “information overload”, you took a few minutes to, at the very least, casually browse through my words. It doesn’t matter to me how paltry your numbers are. It will never matter ; )
An individual can pour every last morsel of his or her heart and soul into teaching and looking after others, only to feel as if all the thoughtful advice was useless. As the years pass, even the most lionhearted amongst us grows cold and cynical. Our eyes are no longer able to recognize the “bright stars” in our limited field of vision.
The misleading cliché so often written about Robert and those who chose his fate was that they lost the battle. However, to attach the connotations of a fight to the whole process serves to mislead. One has as much control over one’s mood as the weather above. The objective is never to forcibly resist, merely to endure. I’m aware that a few simplistic words mean nothing to those who lie crushed in a compact heap in some shade-drawn little prison of room, the weight of the world gradually compressing the space into an ever-tinier cell. The only advice one can dispense is to hang tough and sweat it out. You will feel better soon. Even if no one can reach you, you will feel better soon.
Thank you for not graffiti blasting the comment section. Thanks for not resorting to the tactics of “internet trolls”. Thanks for not actively promoting the Syndicate on your Tumblr account. In short, thanks for remaining the mature and thoughtful brilliant minds that make you Syndicate Members.
Twelve years in and 19 Chapters complete, we still have each other. That means everything. Your friendly bookie once more takes a blushing bow and exits the stage bursting with pride at what we’ve accomplished together…and it’s all thanks to you.
The Black Stars have blown it in two consecutive semi-final rounds, in addition to losing to Egypt in the 2010 Finale, fumbling it away to Cameroon in the 2008 Semis, and shockingly failing to attain the knockouts in 2006.