Monday, January 08, 2007

Funny Old Games

I'm not sure the USA has a real equivalent of the wholly British expression: "It's a funny old game" but it really needs one.

Coined by one-time sensational footballer (soccer player if you insist) and alcoholic from back in the days when the two went hand-in-hand, Jimmy Greaves, he was referring to the twists and turns that often occur in a football match. But being English, he said it almost stoically, downplaying the emotion sporting events can create. In the USA I noticed after a recent crop of very exciting College Bowl Football (American Football if you insist) games, polls were everywhere crowing: "Were these the best games ever?" (considering the first recognized game was in 1869.) In England, the likes of Jimmy would have commented: "What a fine advertisement for the game" and left it at that.

This last weekend saw crashing defeat everywhere in my sporting life. My one-time obsession, Aston Villa, lost to Manchester United at the first hurdle of the F.A. Cup. The New York Giants lost to a last gasp Philadelphia Eagles field goal, thus eliminating them from the playoffs leading to the Superbowl. The New York Knicks, who are having yet another fast-becoming-customary dreadful season, at least spared me from another defeat - they didn't play.

Amid all that horror, I actually played in my first soccer game of 2007 on Sunday morning and scored three goals in a 8-4 victory.

So while I will be spending time in the coming days saying how "we" were robbed by United, or the referees robbed "us" by favoring the Eagles, I will also be saying how I scored the decisive goals in a deserved win in the one sport I actually participated in.

As Jimmy would no doubt say, it was a funny old weekend.

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