One sunset further behind
June 8, 2011 § 5 Comments
Watching France play the Ukraine the other night was a curious experience. The end-of-term-feel pervaded much of the tie — Andrey Voronin had clearly turned up in the expectation of a couple of rounds of Mouse Trap and a half-day — and, to be frank, I was only watching because I had better things to be doing and couldn’t be arsed to do them.
But there was, in the end, much to be enjoyed. Steve Mandanda’s hilarious fall-backwards-swing-foot-crumple in the face of a swerving Jabulani was a masterpiece of physical comedy. Marvin Martin and Younes Kaboul both scored on their debut, which is always pleasing, and then both celebrated like they actually gave a shit, which is increasingly rare. And Kévin Gameiro scored France’s first: an outside-of-the-foot snapshot that was, I suppose, an elegant larrup, one of those lovely little hits that say “thwap”.
Football rushes endlessly forwards, refreshing and renewing itself. Those things that matter — the great goals, the game-saving tackles, the inspired substitutions, the whizz and the bang — are remembered. They become history, are threaded into the tapestry of the game for posterity to squint over and fuss about. But there are many more moments, like Gameiro’s goal, tucked away in a meaningless friendly and overshadowed by a brace from a debutant, that simply vanish unnoted into football-as-it-was. Uncelebrated, unloved, and almost unremembered, they are the detritus that falls through the gaps. Football’s rejectamenta.
Goals that are simply quite good, or that are overshadowed by later goals, or that are disallowed, but don’t affect the result. Outrageous pieces of skill hidden away in pre-season friendlies. Brutal fouls that are swallowed up by a successful advantage. Hilarious misses that get tucked away a moment later. Magnificent, futile tackles. Beautiful passes to players in offside positions; stunning control once the ball gets there. Penalty saves eaten by a retake. Much of what happens on the last day of a season. Anything that happens in a third-fourth place playoff.
Washed away — to misappropriate Rutger Hauer — like tears in rain.
This is a plea for recognition of the goal that is circumstantially diminished, for the miracle that has no valency, or for the coulda, shoulda, and woulda moments, that might not make the end of season montage or the Youtube compilation but nevertheless have a value, be that one of unrealised ambition, modest understatement, or glorious pointlessness.
In a world dominated by the relentless pursuit of the bestest and the winningest, there must be a space preserved for the abandoned and the forgotten. The stories of ancient civilisations are built not only from the military adventures of the god-kings but from shards of pottery and the strata of midden-heaps. And the story of football as we experience it is not, whatever Sky tell you, one of silverware and thunderbolts. It is one of ordinary footballers trying and doing ordinary things, for the entertainment of ordinary people
Right, people, this is where you come in. Twisted Blood needs you to dredge up the rejectamenta and send it our way. We’ll put a space on the site aside for it, or maybe set up a tumblr or something. Doesn’t have to be video; drawings, prose, poetry, or whatever you like. Email twistedbloodblog [at] gmail [dot] com with your suggestions or questions, and we can start letting a little light into the dusty corners.