I did not get to see my beloved Chelsea win the Champions League for the first time in their storied 105 years of existence this past Saturday as I was in attendance at my niece’s wedding up in Appleton, Wisconsin. I monitored the match on my smartphone up until the time the service began, and by the time my wife and I were able to escape the madding crowd at the church for a respite before the reception, the game had gone to pens and as we were driving to my favourite old bar in Appleton, JIM’S PLACE, Didier Drogba was stepping up to deliver the greatest and final kick of his brilliant Chelsea career.
I didn’t get to see it live on TV, but I watched it as soon as my wife and I returned home to Mt. Horeb later that night. I still can’t quite describe how powerful and emotional for me watching the replay of the penalty kicks was. It was, for lack of a better simile, like watching the Packers win the Super Bowl, only far more intense.
A week later, and I’m still at a loss for words. What a wonderful and magnificent and magical win for my Blues. It was a win I never would have expected earlier this season the way things were going. The old guard of Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard, John Terry (up until his red card at Barca disqualified him for this final) Ashley Cole, Florent Malouda, Salomon Kalou and especially Petr Čech delivered the glory that had eluded them in Moscow in 2008. And for some of them it was and will be their last hurrah in a Chelsea shirt. Drogbra has already announced that he will be leaving, most likely to join his former Chelsea teammate Nicolas Anelka in China. Others will be also be gone as Chelsea rebuilds next season bringing in younger talent and building around Fernando Torres up front. But man, what a wondrous end to what was a tumultuous and troubled season.
Keep The Blue Flag Flying!!
Chelsea has come under a bit of criticism for how they were able to dispatch both Barcelona and Bayern Munchen. Critics howled about how we played defensive anti-football ((a prettified term for parking the bus)). It wasn’t pretty, but at the end of the day, it’s the scoreboard that matters in my view. The tactic Robert De Matteo installed for our Champions League matches worked. In games like these, who cares if the football is pretty or not, as long as your team wins. A win is a win, no matter how ugly. Scoreboard!!
Arsenal plays pretty football, or fancies that they attempt to, but at the end of the day and the season, Monsieur Wegner’s Ballet Troupe are on the outside looking in. Sure, they’ve got Champions League football next year, but now they’ll have to slog through the Neftçi PFC Bakıs and the FK Ludogorets 1947 Razgrads of Europe’s seething underbelly to get anywhere. If Arsenal had played a little more defensive football this season, then maybe they’d have been in the mix for the EPL title and the Gooners wouldn’t be spitting out all the sour grapes of their labours.
Team England hones their graciousness and dignity skills by learning to sing the Norwegian National Anthem.
This afternoon England begins it trek to Euro 2012 with a friendly match against Norway. By the time y’all read this, it will be in the books, and it will most likely have little relevance to anything but itself. But…there is hope that new gaffer Roy Hodgson will be able to galvanize a better sense of teamwork and team spirit in this game, and if he can, then and only then will they have a better than a punchers chance when they get to the Euros next month.
Steven Gerrard has been named skipper, And that is good choice. No real controversy there…and he’s a player that anyone can respect because he puts his heart and soul into the game. If he can prise their best out of the rest of his mates, and especially his Liverpool teammate Andy Carroll, then England will acquit themselves well…and maybe better than expected.
But…we shall see. In moments as I type this our Three Lions will stroll onto the pitch in Oslo and begin to sing:
Ja, vi elsker dette landet,
som det stiger frem,
furet, værbitt over vannet,
med de tusen hjem, —
elsker, elsker det og tenker
på vår far og mor
og den saganatt som senker
drømmer på vår jord….
Jimmie Johnson tames The Lady in Black for his 3rd career win at Darlington.
I know it’s all written down somewhere, with pen and ink, in a book, the old fashioned way, but….remind again why I found myself, after the hallucinogenic roar of the engines receded into a chamber of echoes, pouring out a half-full pint of SCHELL’S Maifest and having Nate/Scott/Jim the Bartender fill said pint with ice and set a bottle of MILLER Lite in front me? Why was that exactly again? Why did I pour that so-called beer into that pint glass full of ice and drink it?
Ah yes. Brad Kesolowski driver of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge took the checkers, and thus triggered the disturbing Polish Victory Lap scenario described above which is my tribute to Wisconsin’s Alan Kulwicki via Rusty Wallace and Kurt Busch. Unlike Godzilla’s name, I KNEW this was written down somewhere in the Book of Life, but I couldn’t for a moment place my finger on the page.
As for Darlington and the Sprint All-Star Race, my celebratory words for Jimmie Johnson are a bit more succinct: “Fais foutre a la vache!! Fais enculez chez Jeff Gordon!!” Nothing obscure about THAT!!
Tomorrow, I’ll be doing the triple. Monaco, Indy & Charlotte. Stay tuned.