Better than life
Here's another philosophical brain-dump for your displeasure. It relates to the comments section and the ongoing civil war (although one or two are probably just trolling and loving the attention). It concerns the constant battle between what some of the regular readers define as right or wrong in terms of supporting the team and discussing and sharing viewpoints, including processing the teams evolution (or devolution for some). There isn't a right or wrong. Just opinions, which (on the internet) can sometimes be a mixture of half-truths and wind-ups. Here's mine. An opinion rather than a wind up.
As a footnote, I keep coming back to all of this. It's like discussing football isn't enough, there's a meta debate that constantly consumes it all. It's a consequence of what we have - social media and the rest of it - meaning we're not just sharing perspectives, we're also critiquing how we all communicate them. It doesn't detract from any of the actually football. We're all just blessed (cursed) with way too much time on our hands.
Many among us are obsessed with being correct - all of the time. So much so, they'll sacrifice enjoyment just to be associated with their certainty that it will all go wrong, just in case it does. Twitter is the perfect outlet for this particular mindset but it's hardly a new one. It's been ever-present and predates the internet. You'll read it all online but you'll hear it at football grounds and in pubs and school playgrounds too. It's far easier to predict failure than it is to hope or wish or even predict glory. The nature of football (for most) is that your team isn't likely to have that much tangible success. For most it's impossible, for an elite few it's a possibility but you still have to contend with those above you that are expected to have it and usually do.
For some peculiar reason, the ones that do predict failure are far more vocal with their complaints and finger pointing. Being 'positive' seems to be tagged with the label of 'hope' and therefore deemed to be wishy-washy and fantastical. It's as though suggesting a team or player can improve is pure fantasy but stating he will never improve is accepted as undeniable evidence because in the present moment, there are questions that remain unanswered. The finality of failure makes it a far easier target to aim predication at because failure can be defined with a lot more (dis)comfort. It's also measured by how they define something that is arguable 'good' and positive. Say a winning performance, even a 4-1 win, can be subjected to complaints. Where do they draw the line? Where do you draw the line with them? Blurred lines everywhere you look, right?
Hence why these types of people/football supporters are constantly disparaging their own team and thus miserable. Although they're content in that misery. They'll more likely to enjoy that aforementioned association. Their doom-mongering protects them from being publicly hurt, as ego is the primary weapon at play.
In what is an escapism, these football fans seek to avoid wearing their heart on their sleeve. We can't blame modern football for everything. Free speech is still attainable. Hate speech shouldn't be part of the freedom. I think the memo has either been lost or rewritten for some.
Football is serious business for sure, especially when you consider the amount of time invested in watching and following it. But it's still an escapism. The point is, we're meant to use it as a tool to detach ourselves from real life problems that are unquestionably more serious and mundane. Yet somehow, we've managed to allow real life ethics to leak into what should be a place of social solace where primal emotions can be released without question (almost without, it's not quite the 1980s anymore). The escapism has being infiltrated and regulated by the very thoughts that plague us when working/paying bills/swearing at London Underground staff. Maybe modern life has made us so numb with our comfort, that there is no real escape. Just another alternative to moan about.
Sure, sometimes 'they' are right about players or managers. Aren't we all? We can't love or connect with everyone (much like in the real world away from football). But f**k me, you can't just decide everything and everyone will fail just because the odds are favourable. There's being a realist and then there's sucking the soul completely out of it. They don't have to be one and the same thing. Otherwise, what exactly is your personal end game with it all? Where's your moneyshot? Is it when Spurs win silverware? Is everything leading up to that moment redundant? Irrelevant? When does one decide to feel content or God forbid, happy?
Some like to compare it to religion which is also a distraction tool for those that don't wish to entertain science and fact and have accepted what is probably one of mankind's 'greatest' conditioning bubbles created. They want answers but don't wish to question the ones they're given. A mass control mechanism. It's another form of escapism but one mostly made up of superficiality that never really changes.
I know, you might accuse me or others of walking around in a daze, never questioning anything and forever being high spirited, preaching from the gospel. But I wouldn't say I'm always positive. I'm balanced with my perspective and that apparently is just as bad as not being constantly angry or negative and seeking responsibility to pin blame onto. Also, if the happy-clappers are accused of being like cult members drowning in kool-aid then at least we still believe in something as opposed to those that behave like sceptics, p*ssing on everyone's parade. But sure, they'll also argue they're being 'balanced' in their own way. Realists, right? They'll claim they're grounded. I'd say football exists so you can dream about reaching for the heavens. Otherwise, how exactly can we refer to it as an escapism?
The start of last season still remains the best ever example of disparagement from recent years. Grown men on Twitter crying over our lack of depth in midfield, stating Palace and Stoke had better teams than us, suggesting we were destined for a mid-table finish. Slating Pochettino for not giving us an indefinable style of football. Then we get Dier, Alli and the resurgence of Dembele and so on. We get an identity and Poch completely overhauled the culture of the club in terms of training and player mentality. Unpredictable is football. Just because it wasn't outlined or made obvious at the start doesn't mean it won't happen (it did). It also doesn't mean we can't just let football take us on that journey, without the necessity to road-map it like a project you're working on in the office.
Unlike the traditional churches some might worship at, we really do get to experience miracles at grounds up and down the country. But the non-believers, because they can't see the evidence right in front of them from the off - they conclude it will never happen. It doesn't exist. This isn't religion. Unlike the existence of God, we witness the proof play out in front of our eyes, of both good and bad quality - every weekend. Football delivers answers to all of our questions all of the time. All we need to do is wait. Prayers work whether you choose to whisper them or not.
Kane is another example of the sheer unexpectedness of it all. Nobody predicted his progression and success. Proving we know very little about how the future can sometimes pan out. Which is why faith works in football. So have a word with yourself and keep it. You might enjoy the escape more. If you choose not to, then good luck with your wasted time, struggling to differentiate between real life and what Tottenham Hotspur can provide you. An opinion of course, one you'll agree with / ignore.
But I hear you, I hear you say the parallels between football and life are so closely connected that it's hard to keep them separate. The disappointments are unavoidable (in life or following your team) so you're naturally guarded, constantly defensive because once more all of us will be let down on the pitch and off it. That's true. I can't argue with it. It can all get intertwined because for many of us, life and our escapisms are one and the same thing. We end up using both, to bounce our emotions off and wait for either side to provide a moment. Be it watching Spurs score a late winner or pulling a bird in a club just as you were about to give up and go for a kebab.
We all accept (consciously or subconsciously) that we're constrained in work and commitments to progress our lives and we have to make the best of everything that allows us to break free from the things we are anchored to until we retire (or die). Be it alcohol, drugs, sex, countless other forms of entertainment. So do that. Break free and don't conform, but try to separate football from the rest. Lower your guard and feel the pain rather than attempt to completely avoid it. What's the worst that can happen? Lose 5-1 away to Newcastle? Guess what, it's happened and it's forgotten and off we go again on another journey. That's the ultimate beauty of it all; we get to experience reincarnation every single year. The miracle of football. Whilst back in the club, there's always another Saturday night to try your chat up lines.
There is a deeper philosophical conclusion to all of this, which ties itself back into religion. An acceptance. Regardless of how we choose to live it, we accept that we have to experience good times with the bad ones. Those that follow Spurs around the world, to be that loyal means that regardless of the results, you'll follow the club unequivocally. You accept the defeats along with the victories. It's belonging that matters more than the questions and their answers.
So you either try to enjoy your countless lives or at least seek some personal redemption in a couple of them. You might even smile occasionally. Or you don't and just continue to watch the game in the nerfed state you've chosen.
In the end, it's stalemate. Neither side will change. And here's the kicker, I've written all of this for nothing. Because in the end, both sides of the spectrum need each other to retain a sense of balance - even if sometimes opinions are exaggerated or stretched beyond the point of sanity. Because somewhere in amongst it, the person you're arguing with might just have a point deeply buried in their knee-jerk or happy clap.
It will never end. It's in our nature. Football, politics, religion, whatever.
Onwards then. Please do try to keep it non-personal in the comments gentlemen. If you don't mind.