Football, Glory and Tears
England hammered Germany five one and millions of men and women were sent into a state of frenzy. Of uncontrollable energy. Words like 'Owen', 'Beckham', and 'Heskey' flooded their minds. The moment Gerrard controlled on the edge of the area and slammed the ball in on the stroke of half time was stopped, rewound, replayed, stopped, rewound, replayed. Notions of the war, Pearce and Gascoigne, defeats in the penalty shoot out, holocausts, Chris Waddle putting over the bar, Geoff Hurst, 1966 and all that were all recontextualised. This is history. An earth moving event.
People rang up Radio Five live in tears or jubilation. I have lived for near on thirty years. I've lived through the heartache. But I never thought I'd experience something like this. We hammered the Germans. The English are singing God Save the Queen. Hang all republicans. John Motson sees the scoreline and asks for a freeze frame on the score. He can't believe it. Suspended in a dream. He recites statistics from 1996, 1966, 1926, 1906, 1806, 1776, 1656. Defeat, victory, defeat, victory. Life is defeat, victory.
The word 'hate' is absent. It dare not speak its name.
I'm sitting in my mate's room. Watching the match. Disinterested. Germany score a goal. More and more disinterested. Not English anyway. Strictly speaking. Then England score. Michael Owen, what a goal. The crowd roars. I'm fucking English. My blood boils. I feel a force rising through my body. I roar. Get up on my feet. Stretch my sinews to their limit. Scare cats, old ladies living next door. My housemates smile. The word 'fear' is absent. It date not speaks its name. On the stroke of half-time Gerrard and that unforgettable moment. Receives the ball on the edge of the area. And one, two, three, into the next. One, two, three… and I'm raging, alive, on fire. We win five one. My smouldering insides have been gutted.
I am everyday people. Hate. Can't feel good without a victory. Can't feel good without fear. Without the notion that everyone must die for me to feel complete. Must be top of the world. Must be the best team in the world. Must look back and felt like I knew it all along. That one day we'd do it. We'd be the best. Better than the rest. Other people's misery is my happiness. By making others miserable I am happy. England will rule the world. We will crush everything and everyone. I will crush everything and everyone. An imploding dwarf star. Save me. Oh wont you save me. I'm drowning.
Someone rings the Radio Five phone in. Says this is going to keep me happy for the next month.