Thursday, March 19, 2009

Fear and Trembling with Arsenal

"But Arabaham believed, and therefore he was young; for he who always hopes for the best becomes old, deceived by life, and he who is always prepared for the worst becomes old prematurely; but he who has faith, retains eternal youth."

- Soren Kierkegaard, who must've been a gooner in the years before George Graham

I'm reading this, and I'm thinking about Arsene Wenger and the promise of the next generation. Football's often wrapped up in the romantic, and there's nothing more romantic than the lure of the Next Big Thing. For four years, Wenger's been selling us the dream of a new team filled with Next Big Things, and for four years, we've experienced demented failure and constipated performances. A lot of us are pretty sick of it, and a lot of gooners are coming around to the idea that Wenger needs to leave for the Arsenal to acheive.

There are only so many bright tommorrows you can stomach before you demand a sunny today.

But then, I'm reading Fear and Trembling, and I'm wondering what it means to support a club. It is the prospect of watching a team of over-paid blokes running around and winning stuff? On the surface, yes, but deep down, I don't think so. Why do fans keep coming back game after game, beyond rational thought of better days? The Arsenal didn't win a thing for twenty years before George Graham, but they still packed the stands.

When Abraham was promised a son in his old age, he held onto that belief way after it was physically possible. A normal man would've gone crazy with disappointment. A sane man would've quietly given up his hope and learnt to play lawn bowls. And as I turn the pages, I'm wondering how a man of faith can hold an unwavering, irrational belief beyond all hope of fulfillment.

But then, I remember the Arsenal, and those performance against W.B.A and Blackburn. We shone like a Premiership winning side in those games. When you watch the Arsenal tear teams apart, you realise that that faith is still there, underneath the doubt and frustration. It doesn't go away, it doesn't attenuate. It's just buried, is all. When you dig it out of the earth, it'll still be just as you left it.

And Kierkegaard tells us that it's that faith that keeps you young; not positivity or realism, but the simple, unshakeable faith that can move mountains and quieten seas, and make a 130 year old a new father. It's the same faith that makes a guy hope for a title challenge despite a sickeningly shallow squad, and which allows him to see in our kiddlets the nucleus of a team that'll rule Europe.

I was planing to go somewhere with this, but it's a nice sunny day, and I might take a walk for a while. To summarise, it's the faith that keeps us young and keeps us grounded and gives us the strength to face reality. Because we know that, against all hope, the Arsenal will win the Premier League again.


Randy said...

Good stuff mate!

Keep it up

Connolly's agent said...

thanks randy