Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Your Goal: Watch Some Shit

I need youse to just shut the fuck up and cool those jets for a second. Listen, I'm about to switch on the 'hard sell' here, and I want your assurance that you'll sit quietly and follow along. At the end of this nonsense, you can feel free to walk away and never look back. But gimme a moment to bite your ear off.

We all love the sports. The sports are good. We idolize larger-than-life behemoths and we worship the laundry they wear on game days. We're obsessed with the drama that unfolds before our eyes, the ultimate reality show that allows us to bask in the vicarious glory of victory and sulk in the shadows of defeat. It's our natural escapism, our group therapy, our emotional outlet. We are the sports.

And as we approach the end of the European soccer season, I promise you all of these things and more, asking only a limited amount of work from you in return. You liked the World Cup, right? This shit's better. This shit is the shit.

Both in domestic and continental competitions, it doesn't get more awesome than what will transpire over the next month. Right here, right now -- these are the Jesus Jones moments. So I beg you, kind folks, to watch a few select matches over the course of the next month, and if you don't enjoy it, if you don't feel even a modicum of desire to get involved, then it'll never happen for you. Like gay porn.

Let's review where we're at...what's up for grabs? Domestically, with three (or four) matches left to play in the season, there's a hot two-team race at the top of the Premiership, a fight for a few spots in European competition next year, and a crowded five-club house at the bottom of the table to avoid relegation to the next division.

Chelsea and Manchester United, the same two teams in the hunt for the Prem title, will also square up in the FA Cup final on May 19th, 10 days after the sides meet at Stamford Bridge to possibly decide who wins the league. And on the continent, four teams remain in the fight for the title of Europe's best, including my beloved Liverpool. The Reds take on the Blues today in the second semifinal (ManU took a 3-2 lead on AC Milan yesterday at Old Trafford with the help of a Rooney Tunes brace), and I'll be down at the Red Lion today with my Gerrard #8 jersey to punch Don Fiedler in his John Terry-lovin' face.

Chelsea, already holders of this year's Carling Cup, is looking for an unprecedented quadruple (Prem, Carling Cup, FA Cup, Champions League), while ManU is looking for the treble (Prem, FA Cup, Champs League). This is serious business. Come May 9th and May 19th, these two clubs will figure all that out, and possibly May 23rd for the Champions League final, but that'll most likely be a 2005 repeat of Liverpool and AC Milan -- creepier still that Liverpool beat Chelsea in that 2005 semi. The second legs are next Tuesday and Wednesday on ESPN2, so make sure to set your TiVos for the onslaught of greatness.

But the big battle is for the bottom. Can you imagine how awesome it would be to watch the Royals, Devil Rays and Nationals battle it out to ensure a spot in the Major Leagues next year? The bottom three get relegated to the next division down, and only one slot is confirmed -- Watford sucks. Then there are five clubs within four points of each other, each with three matches left. Charlton and West Ham are currently in the drop zone, but the woeful Wigan and Gary Sheffield United are just two points clear, and the United States of Fulham only three points. For these five, every single point can mean the difference between millions of pounds and toiling away for a year at a shot at promotion. This is why soccer is great, and you're nothing.

(I won't even bring up the race for the Spanish Primera title, because we don't get a chance to watch too many matches here, but there's some serious shit goin' down there too.)

It's baseball season, it's the NHL playoffs and it's the NBA playoffs. The NFL Draft is right around the corner. Primetime season finales are around the corner. There's a ton of shit going on in the world, I get it. But these are the glory days; these are the times when you tune into a random match on Fox Soccer Channel and end up watching a game that sends a club down to the minor leagues, or clinches a Europe spot for another. This is heartbreak central and elation city.

It's also the showcase: Chelsea, Liverpool and ManU are all still on the hunt for the Champions League trophy, three of the hottest teams in the world. Chelsea hasn't lost since January 20th (when my Reds beat 'em solidly), and Fiedler and I were there to witness their birth to good form. Too bad they're goin' down in three hours.

That's all I got. Just a public service, letting you know that the best thing going this month involves something you already wrote off because of a funny parody from The Simpsons.


At 5:12 PM, Blogger ethan said...

please tell me the empty blue and yellow seats in that pic are made with legos.

At 5:21 PM, Blogger Lozo said...

you lost me at "European soccer season."

At 5:28 PM, Blogger NAME: Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

When is World's Strongest Man season?

At 8:35 AM, Blogger DannyNoonan said...

"Can you imagine how awesome it would be to watch the Royals, Devil Rays and Nationals battle it out to ensure a spot in the Major Leagues next year?"

MLB wouldn't really be the same without the Yankees though. And the way they're looking...

Okay Ace, I live right next to a soccer bar and I will watch one game amongst these drunk hooligans. It is an awesome bar and I have enjoyed some rando games there in the past. They have a special where you get a shot of whiskey, a domestic tap and a cigarrette for $3. So what's the one game I should watch, when is it [a weekend hopefully], and what does it mean?

At 9:08 AM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

Yes, Noonan! They say, if you can reach just one...

You wanna watch three matches for sure -- and you can TiVo them if you're not at a TV. Next Tuesday is Liverpool/Chelsea's second leg, at 2:45. Not quite exactly like this, but Liverpool basically needs to win by two goals. Then on Wednesday ManU and AC Milan play their second leg, and Milan's got better odds having scored two away goals. The third match to keep on your radar is the FA Cup final on May 19th -- ManU v Chelsea in the first FA Cup final in the new Wembley, two best teams in the world. You'll wanna watch it. (Chelsea and ManU also play on May 9th, could be for all the marbles.)

Chelsea/Bolton and ManU/Everton are big games this weekend, pitting four of the top 6 teams against each other -- but they go on at 7:45 am, so I doubt you'll get out for those lunchtime affairs. Arsenal/Fulham on Sunday at 11 could be a fun match to get out and watch -- Arsenal's got a great rebuilding project workin full of young stars and Fulham has more Americans that the US National team.

At 9:29 PM, Blogger Freudian Slip said...

Gotta love the simpsons :)


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