Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Healthy Pain

Healthy Pain

Some people believe football is a matter of life and death. I'm very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.
- Bill Shankly, legendary Liverpool manager

These days only Liverpool's performance can give me the emotional ups-and-downs that a lovesick schoolboy would experience. I didn't watch the all-important Liverpool-Everton derby last night because I have become superstitious: everytime I watch my favourite team play, they tend to lose.

So I decided not to tune in to ESPN last night and went to bed early. But it wasn't a very restful sleep: I dreamt about the match all night. The dreams were incoherent but they all seemed to indicate that Liverpool had won. I woke up at 5am with a cautious anticipation of a Reds victory.

I immediately checked the results from the web and was quite overjoyed that my intuition was proven right. So the hope for Champions League qualification next season is still alive for Liverpool! But there are eight matches to go and we're still 4 points behind Everton. Bolton, a point below us, is also breathing down our necks.

It's going to be an emotional roller-coaster ride until the end of the season. There will probably be many depressing mornings when I'll wake up to find that Liverpool has lost or dropped points. Sometimes I wished these things didn't matter to me so much. But like being in a romantic relationship, one has to take the pain and the joy together.

I suppose it is good to suffer a little bit of "healthy pain" sometimes. When you are down, you realize how vastly different the world appears to you. And you begin to gain a better insight into the mental state of someone who is plunged into deep depression. Imagine how infinitely more hopeless and lost, such a person feels. Imagine how difficult it is for him to snap himself out of that self-defeating state of mind.

The good thing about being a fanatical supporter of your favourite team is that you learn how to handle the emotional upheavals that come with victory and defeat. Especially defeat. You learn how to lift yourself up again and look forward to the next match. For there's always a next match to look forward to; a next season to get things right. I guess we need to learn how to approach life with the same kind of optimism too.

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