Dulwich Hamlet, my local three-minute-walk-away team, agonisingly missed out on promotion yesterday in their Ryman Division One South playoff final away to Leatherhead. Leading 3-1 with seven minutes to go, they lost 4-3 in extra time.
I didn’t go. I had planned to. But I slept through it. Yes, I slept through a 3 o’clock kick off, like a total wastrel.
And I feel guilty. Very guilty! Which is absurd, and counter to much of this blog’s attempts to meander towards a more rationally aware controlled-irrational sporting consumption. I’m sat here wondering – could they have held on the few extra minutes with my voice joining the chorus of what I assume were increasingly desperate howls of “C’MON DULWICH!!”?
(I am aware that the most basic Beginner’s Guide To Chaos Theory suggests that the merest act of me waking up at midday, never mind catching the train, turning up at the match etc. would have altered the course of events and Hamlet could have been 5-o down at half-time whilst a tsunami destroyed Bognor Regis…)
I have clearly got myself a bit caught up with Dulwich Hamlet. I was warned about this, but I worried not. Me? The undercover researcher? A charmingly aloof football flâneur? What chance I’m going to get bogged down in what the anthropologist Clifford Geertz would no doubt label shallow play, in a regional sub-section of the 8th tier of English football?
Well, I seem to have. Bugger. And, indeed, it makes a silly sense that I should be feeling guilty.
But there is a limit to my guilt.
You see, football is not the ultimate ritual to me. There is one that I so adore, I so worship that even admitting it MIGHT be a sociologically definable language game is tantamount to stamping on a little deer’s face, repeatedly, whilst dressed like a Nazi stormtrooper…
Ladies, gentlemen & everyone else – I believe in Love! Courtly Love. Romantic Love. Heart-and-stomach-overflowing-with-aggghhhhh Love. I am told that reading Roland Barthes’ (whose Mythologies was a great influence on me starting this blog) A Lover’s Discourse can make someone stop using the phrase “I Love You.” Fuck that! I’m terrified of such a book! Bring me a copy of it and I shall bring you a glorious bookburning.
The reason I slept all of yesterday was because Seaneen, my girlfriend, and I had one of our impromptu all nighters of drink and fags and conversation. For about 12 hours we sat around, dreamily each others’, eyes burning madly at each other, hearts straining at ribcages. I don’t believe in Love so much as I believe in Seaneen. She is a magical goddess of a woman. Rationalism can go fuck itself. Religious nutters can blow up as many people as they like. Just let me and Seaneen survive. Thank you.
When it comes to Love I am as rabidly, simplistically, uneducatedly partizan as the average football forum user. And proudly so.
I feel almost dirty for mentioning Seaneen on a blog about sport. She is above it. And I certainly won’t be making any bloody football analogies*. I will not compare her smile (which is beautiful) to a not-forgotten moment from whichever World Cup is currently nostalgically fashionable. I will not compare her eyes (gorgeous, big, blue) with a monolith of a football stadium. I will not compare her intellect (quick, aggressive) with a deep lying foot-on-the-ball playmaker. None of it!
But I will tell you that, with the morning sun pouring down and Dog Kennel Hill Estate waking up, Seaneen walked out onto our walkway/balcony outside our flat. “There’s something I’ve been meaning to do.” She smiled, and pulled off her purple nightdress, and shook her knickers down. She turned slowly – vividly, perfectly naked. I melted inside. And now consist of 76% molten myself.
When we retired to bed at around 11am I had earnest but implausible notions of awaking an hour later to travel Surreywards for the Leatherhead game. I eventually got up about ten hours later. I missed the match. I possibly even cost Dulwich Hamlet promotion. But I woke up in the same bed as Seaneen (this name sends shivers down my spine) Molloy.
Oh, and she can write a bit too.
* – Apart from the title of this post. Ooops.