Thursday, May 26, 2005

No team can play a final like Liverpool...

I am writing this red and blurry eyed in school. Thankfully it is my first week in school and there are no lessons to teach. This morning I sat witness and watched what I shall call the best game of soccer I have ever seen...EVER.

It had to come down to that one team. LIVERPOOL.
There is simply no team that can play a European Cup Final like Liverpool.
All these years I have heard of their past glory from my dad and my uncles. All these years I have read in the newspapers about their European pedigree and the nights where they enthralled not only their fans but their opponents as well. All these long years that I have supported Liverpool from Ian Rush to Robbie Fowler, Peter Beardsley to Steven Gerrard, Micheal Owen to Djibril all culminates to this night where I watched as they fought tooth, bone and nail and staked their claim as European Champions.

It quote a friend...UNBELIEVABLE. And as the TV commentators paused to allow those of us sitting riveted at home to soak in and listen to the strains of "You'll Never Walk Alone" ringing around the stadium, in celebration of such a momentous victory. I could not help but feel my skin tingle and a slight welt of tears in my eyes. What I had just experience was soccer at its its purest, undistilled form. I knew ths morning that my deed was sealed. I will be a LIVERPOOL fan for life.

Let me digress to just explain for the benefit of the non-soccer fans who read this.

"You'll Never Walk Alone" is the official anthem of Liverpool Football Club. The fans sing it at every game that Liverpool plays and it has become synonymous with the club. The song itself is a warm and stirring tune and there are matches in Europe where the spectators have been known to sing it even though it is NOT a Liverpool game! In a sense the song, when sung by a chorus of passionate stadium spectators is a heart rendering and emotional.

The lyrics of You'll Never Walk Alone:

When you walk through a storm hold your head up high
And don't be afraid of the dark.
At the end of a storm is a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark.

Walk on through the wind,
Walk on through the rain,
Tho' your dreams be tossed and blown.
Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone,
You'll never, ever walk alone.

Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone,
You'll never, ever walk alone.

Very meaningful eh. I just read in the papers that the fans sang it at half time when Liverpool was losing 3-0. I believe the sung could be heard in the players dressing room. And if must have touched each and every player and even the couch. To have fans such as these, who believe in you and who'll never let you walk alone...

Oh...what I would give to just be there on that magical night. Thank god for Ch 5 and Starhub cable for giving me the joy of watching my team as they came back from 3-0 down. When no one else had given them a chance. I have never seen a final like this. This match really gave us soccer at its purest...and I shall list the reasons why.

1. There were two teams who were determined to play soccer without gamesmanship. There were no diving incidents or vicious tackles. No crazy captains determined to hassle and threaten the eferee for bad decisions. A well played game between two top opponents of the game...with respect for each other.

2. Referee's decisions were spot on! Save for a few minor incidents, the referees and linesmen really got it right.

3. The fans. Oh my hear them sing and sing. To see the fans stay the course of the game... (shame on you fellows who I heard left the pub early when you knew it was 3-0)

4. The way the game flowed...and the emotions felt during the game. It was so sad at half-time. But when the first goal came of Stevie G's head...suddenly the belief was back. And then Smicer's long range effort skidded in...and suddenly "We're BACK!" Totally unbelievable when Xavi Alonso smacked the save penalty rebound in. All around the world Liverpool fans stood as one... And when it came down to the penalties and Seginho and Pirlo just had to know. Destiny was on our side.

Hail to the new legends of Liverpool. And my deepest respect for AC Milan as well. For you played the game to the truest of you heart. If not for 6 minutes of lapses, the cup is well and truly yours. But such is the sport we call soccer... as an old legendary coach, Brian Clough puts it, "It only takes a second to score a goal."

Thank you both teams for giving us all such a wonderful 90 minutes and for reminding us all about the magic of soccer. Away from conglomerate take overs, oil rich owners, arrogant managers, managers who fight and claw one another, managers who bring the game to disrespute. Last night, both teams and their managers gave us the perfect match. True sportsmanship.

Someday I hope, I will walk on the halo-ed grounds we all call Anfield. For now Anfield's finest have taken the cup back and I will spend many days savouring this moment. This is the stuff of legends...a cup final that will be talked about for years and years to come. A match of truly epic proportions and a script which no two teams could ever write for a long time coming.


Monday, May 02, 2005

Of Sharks and Dinosaurs

Ever since I was a young boy...I've loved sharks and dinosaurs.
I still do.

I try to say I don't know why...but maybe I do...
Allow me to write these things down...

There was a book which came out when I was about 8 or 9. It was the "Reader's Digest book of Sharks". I never got a chance to own that book...but I remember it was always the first book I browsed in the book store. I loved the photos and the description of sharks in the was fascinating. I remember my other love then was Dinosaurs...and I had an uncle who gave me a book on that. Its funny how a simple book with vivid descriptions and colour illustrations of dinosaurs can do so much to stir a small boy's imagination...

I remember reading...and memorising dino facts. In my head...battles were fought between triceratops and t-rex. There was a documentary my dad taped...about dinosaurs. And I'd watch it over and over and over again. I remember it was Christopher Reeve who hosted the show... other idol... SUPERMAN.

But not just the prehistoric...but Sharks too. Sharks are AWESOME.
And the most AWESOME of guessed favourite...


I think I had to be JAWS the movie. Started me down this road. Thanks to Steven Spielberg...swimming never became the same again. Even on lazy saturday mornings...I did pretend there was a shark in the pool! some great white could actually survive our chlorinated public pools...not to mention god knows how many kids have peed in i dunno what else adults do in them pools....

But yeah...I remember. The ominous music...DA DUM...DA DUM...DA DUM...and it would play in my head everytime I went swimming. Even now...sometimes I hear it...and I laugh. Heh heh.

But you have to admire you know...the power in that impressive body frame...the sleek lines...the way the fin cuts the water...that massive bite...its the perfect being. Built for the kill.
I love the way it lazily swims in the water knowing it's the ultimate...and then the sudden burst of speed to surprise its opponents.

If I could be born again...I'd want to be a Great White.

Maybe I have a fascination with favourite dinosaur? Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Funny how as a young boy...I would identify myself with the biggest baddest animals...was it a latent predatory instinct in me?

As a side note...JURASSIC PARK ranks as one of the all-time best movies in my list. I remember watching it as a 14 year Lido cinema. I stared mouth Steven Spielberg once again cast a spell over me. To see the took my breath away. The life-like. I've watched Jurassic Park close to 10 thanks to Channel 5 too...who likes screening it over and over...hahaha. Oh yah...that day at Lido...a whole row of RGS girls seating in front of me...made it amusingly memorable too. You can imagine the cacophany of screams...
I think Steven Spielberg was right to make them Raptors more scary too...damn fascinating stuff...

Thank you Mr Steven Spielberg...for casting your shark, dinosaur and UFO spells over me.

A bit of psychoanalysis...
What does it say about small boys who love predators?
Favourite animals were Shark, T-rex, Tiger...
Is there a trapping towards power? Did I aim to be top dog?
Or just a morbid fascination towards what death could be like in the face of these beautiful animals....

Yes...I use the word beautiful. These predators have never been ferocious to me. To me...they were beautiful... I admire them. If I ever came face to face with any of the the wild...not the zoo. I think I'd just stand and admire...and if I get a way to die! there you have it. Of Sharks and Dinosaurs.
If anybody out there wants to buy me stuff next time...make it a shark. =)