22 May 2008
We Won! We Won!
Well, of course I mean Manchester United have won the Champions League. It had nothing to do with me. Then again, maybe there was divine intervention in Moscow on behalf of a woman on the other side of the planet, clad in pyjama pants and a Man Utd shirt, wrapped in a blanket, racked with nausea and praying with white-knuckled fervour. God, of course, works in mysterious ways.
Although I set my alarm for 4:30am, in time for kickoff, I half-planned to sleep in a while longer. But after being tormented by dreams of a bizaare 12-3 Chelsea-United scoreline, I got up to watch just to relieve my misery. I'm not going to provide a match report here; there are many better ones out there, written by people who didn't view the match in pre-dawn bleariness. I wasn't persuaded or concerned by the respective goals from each side; I'd seen it all before, in 1999, and somehow felt the last minutes would be crucial. And was more prescient than I could have known.
Full-time came and went, and the score was locked at 1-1. So it continued through extra time. We were going to penalties (and as it was getting on past 7am, I was worried about being late for work). It wasn't supposed to be like this. My calm countenance prevailed, mostly (I think part of me had even given up), until the regulation penalties had been taken and we were locked at 4 apiece.
So then it was up to Giggs to take the sudden death penalty. Back in 1999, I was familiar with the whole United team; thanks to fan magazines, I knew a little something, like favourite film or most admired player, about each player. But now, apart from Giggs and Scholes, they're all mostly unkown to me. So for Giggs, after coming on as a late substitute, to take this penalty had a wonderful circularity to it. I rocked backwards and forwards, buried my face in a pillow, and screeched like an animal as he powered it home.
Then there was Anelka, for Chelsea, oddly enough another of the players I'm familiar with, from his days at the Gunners. I barely saw him lob it straight at Van der Sar, who deflected it. It was all over, and we'd won.
It took a while to sink in, as these things often do for me. But if this omen proves true, things should be on the up for me soon. For now though, I've a day at work to snooze through. The say elite sports involves sacrifice, and it's true; because the game ran so late, I didn't have time to put on make up this morning. That, combined with the early start, means I've showed up at the office looking like Alexander Downer. If my life is about to get much better, it won't be because I'll meet my soulmate today.
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