Posted on Thursday, May 22nd, 2008 at 6:15 am
Author: Natalia Antonova
Author’s note to her faithful American readers: yes, I mean football as in “soccer.” “Soccer” is an ugly word and the rest of the world barely uses it.
I wake up today to a sad world. Sure, things may presently be peaceful in my corner of the universe, with birds singing and cockroaches scuttling happily about their business of scaring me to death. Yet there is a melancholy note in the birdsong and the scuttling of the unholy abominations known as blatta orientalis has an automaton, going-through-the-motions feel about it.
Precious is lost. And by “precious,” I mean the Champions’ League title. Well, for Chelsea, anyway.
There’s a reason why I don’t write much about football. My two favourite teams, Chelsea and Dynamo Kiev, are like the dorky, gifted kids at school, forever getting stuffed into lockers and denied the glory that’s their due. While Hollywood and modern technology have been busy fulfilling the “and the geek shall inherit the earth” prophecy, things are a little different on the pitch.
Last night, as I watched the Champion’s League final (held inside Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium, the hallowed ground where my father went with his father to see many a Dynamo Kiev away game), I expressed my hatred of Manchester United many times over. The expressions I used were creative, and not entirely suitable for this publication. In my defense, I’d like to point out that if it wasn’t for Cristiano Ronaldo’s face, I might have been more civil.
This might seem superficial, but I just can’t stand dudes who smile like evil ferrets advancing on a nest of baby chicks. One of these days, the fall of civilization will be traced to this smug, self-satisfied countenance. You’re laughing now, but you’ll be sorry later, as ashes fall from the sky, the locusts advance, and, somewhere, Cristiano Ronaldo continues to grin maniacally.
Let’s put it this way, if Cristiano Ronaldo lived in the States, he would have already made at least one sex-tape with Paris Hilton and/or Tom Sizemore, then gone on some third-rate reality TV show to brag about it.
You might argue that football is, ultimately, for the smug and the self-satisfied. After all, confidence is what helps plant terror in your opponents’ hearts, no?
While this is usually the case, I happen to think that there is a vast gulf between regular old confidence and nuclear-strength douchebaggery. Look no further than to the morons who buy expensive Manchester United jerseys without ever having watched a single one of their games for an example of the latter.
I’ve got no actual problem with real Man U fans (aside from the ones who are likely to crack open my skull in a frenzy; sadly, Chelsea boasts such supporters as well). My main problem is with the idiots who’ve decided that Man U is “hip” and “so hot right now” or whatever, turning Sir Alex Ferguson’s ego into even more of a loathsome juggernaut, and actually celebrating the fact that that Cristiano Ronaldo’s evil face gets to stare at me from video game boxes and book covers until I hastily exit Virgin Megastore, screaming in terror and revulsion.
“Oh, but Natalia,” you’re thinking right now. “Surely it is easy to hate the big winners. Surely you are just trying to be fashionably contrarian.”
Am not. I never hated Real Madrid. I never wanted to punch Beckham or Ronaldinho in the face. I never fought the urge to vomit when some guy in a Brazil shirt hosted an celebratory drinking contest a few feet away.
I am biased, but it’s a bias borne out of righteousness and serious intolerance to Wayne “Testicle Stomper” Rooney. Seriously, between having the Antichrist and Mr. Below the Belt and a bunch of pretentious non-fans on its side, Man U just doesn’t do it for me.
Oh, and they won on penalties this year. Lots to grin about there, Cristiano.
This entire Champions League debacle is the perfect example as to why I try to avoid writing about football. There’s just little joy in it for the likes of me. Hopes are slaughtered like heretics in a Medieval hell-hole. John Terry cries, and the cruel world watches. The management of Dynamo Kiev attempts to bribe referees with fur coats (sure, this was in the mid 1990′s, an era ruled by gangsters in Adidas tracksuits, but painful childhood memories die hard). One’s normally stoic boyfriend curls into a fetal position and repeats the word “why.”
A wise person than I once said that “life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.” This year, football has done nothing to disabuse me of the notion.
In the interest of fairness and good sportsmanship, I’d like to point out that I don’t particularly like Roman Abramovich’s smile either.
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