On the Eve of a New Start

This… this wasn’t the article I was planning to write.

I had been waiting, chomping at the bit for this weekend to arrive. I’ve had to suffer through lackluster performances in international games, games missing the emotion that I’ve been spoiled with week in and week out. I was ready to take on this blog and welcome new arrivals to the Premier League, and remind people in the States that they’re not alone. There are more and more of us every year discovering the beautiful game, and how the claim that “soccer isn’t a sport/won’t catch on/etc.” is slowly being shut up. (Ever notice how the anti-soccer folk are always just tremendous douchebags? I don’t ever see large outcries of people questioning the droning boredom of baseball as a sport…not to mention all the flopping in the NBA.) This weekend was something I had been itching to arrive since I had to resort to internet radio in my car for the 38th and final game of last year’s EPL. I *needed* this.

Then something happened that changed my mind, making me feel like the selfish prick I know I can sometimes be.

Tottenham, as of my writing this, 17 hours before the first kickoff, is the only club postponing its opening match against Everton, due to sustained damage from the riots in the north London area that included the Spurs ticket office. This, along with England’s friendly against Holland midweek, are the only two matches scheduled to not be played. Selfishly, I’m hoping it stays this way. Unselfishly, I’m also hoping it stays this way.

We’ve read countless articles about how sports brings people in communities together. We’ve heard it to the point that it’s sickening, the overcoming-the-odds story that leads to glory in the face of peril. I’m not going to write about that, but in the last week, I’ve seen a lot that tells me that England needs the Premier League to start as normal this weekend more than ever.

See this article from CNN.

In the face of needless violence and ransacking, gone to the point where it is no longer for any consistent cause, the English people, as many have said in that article, are ready to push through and reclaim their communities. Combat disorder with civil order. It’s a remarkably stoic, bull-headed English trademark. No blame. No complaining. Furthermore, no outward signs that these reprehensible acts have shaken them to the point that everyday activities will cease.

I fully admit I don’t know every singe detail involved in these protests/riots/what-have-you. But I know one thing. Football is as intertwined into the English culture as rain, tea and Doctor Who. Delaying the start of the grandest football league in the world would be delaying the deep breath and nod of the head signifying a return to the normal routine. They have not been beaten by chaos. And while things may not be fixed just yet, while there may still be work to be done and problems to sort out, the Premier League’s kickoff is a reminder to the people of England that no amount of disorder can disrupt the things that define who they are as a culture. That they must always endure and persevere.

If anyone can understand that, it’s the English people.

Keep calm and carry on.

blog comments powered by Disqus