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Selecting my football team

I am changing my football allegiance. If I were English, I would attract unending scorn from every fan in the nation, as I will be switching from Tottenham to their arch-rival, Arsenal.

In hindsight, it was entirely foolish of me to declare which team was “mine” before I had a chance to see them in action. True, I stated my loyalty in a fairly low-key manner, so I could probably even plausibly deny ever having made that statement. But in any case, now, that I have watched a number of games, I realize that, with a potentially limited time horizon, I should be following an exciting team, and forget about the boring one which I kind of followed a decade ago for the sole reason of my favorite striker having played for it for a couple of years.

Last night’s Arsenal – Tottenham game in the Carling Cup was the last straw. The Spurs played without a couple of their best players (Lennon and Berbatov) and, in my opinion, played beyond poor. Defoe is a complete zero. Keane is not only a complete zero, but a whiner, complaining about every single call, even when clearly at fault himself. Robinson is a mediocre goalie – he must be number one for England by some sort of default, due to lack of competition. Not a single player demonstrated any mastery of the ball.

The Gunners, meanwhile, were playing with largely their young second team. Henry (who is one of the best forwards in the world, for my money) was not even on the bench; van Persie is out for several weeks; a couple of other regulars were not playing either. But the team was a joy to watch, with youngsters Denilson, Walcott, Aliadiere providing plenty of excitement. Second-string goalkeeper Almunia made a couple of fantastic saves. Somewhat ungainly Adebayor is an excellent forward, winning balls all over the field. Fabregas and Rosicky, who entered the game sometime after the break, are tremendous in midfield. A fun team, coming strong in this half of the season.

So, that’s it for me. Being somewhat a free-agent as far as football fandom is concerned, I feel no shame in jumping on a bandwagon of a team that I think can be a pleasure to follow for the next few years. Consider the last few months a probation that Tottenham did not pass…

I do feel like apologizing to those readers of this blog who do not follow football. Let’s see, what else can I offer today?

Not too much, apparently. The weekend is approaching, but we have not yet formulated our plans for it. We are, however, actively reviewing our travel plans all through August. Also, this week, several friends have indicated when their prospective visits to us could take place, so we are working that into the schedule.

We have keenly observed over the last several weeks that it is virtually impossible to find a dented or scratched car on London streets. It is unlikely that the English drive so well as to never get into accidents that cause scratches and dents. It is much more likely that a damaged car is not taken on the road until it is repaired.

Why would we be paying attention to this? you ask incisively. Well, our car is now a rarity, brandishing several wounds. One is a result of a small accident on a roundabout – totally the other driver’s fault ;). The others are a testament of our complete ineptitude in exiting the narrow opening of our driveway on a daily basis. I have gotten used to a different judgment of how far away the objects are on the left of me, but, apparently, not on the right. Natasha is the opposite. The back and the front of the car have been spared so far…

I am taking it to a Russian shop imminently and expect to pay quite a fortune for repairs and paint. Maybe, I should swallow my pride – it is already heavily undermined by the fact of sustained damage itself – and continue driving around as is. Otherwise, we may end up needing new repairs soon after completing this round. On the other hand, it is possible that there is some law against driving a dented car, and we simply have not been officially caught breaking it yet…

The saddest part of it is that we have not formed any attachments to this car and are even considering replacing it with something more pleasurable (before anyone says it, I admit, it was not my finest hour when I selected this car). But I cannot help but be concerned that any new car will suffer similar fate…

On a more positive subject, Becky is starring in her own “talk show” tomorrow. Not on TV, mind you, but in her school. Every form (that is British for grade) has occasional assemblies (think общественное собрание ). An assembly can consist of just a series of announcements, but it can also be a presentation. Becky’s class (also known in England as homeroom) is doing theirs tomorrow, as a talk show. The topic is “Famous Women”. Becky is the host. Her guests are going to include Rosa Parks, Marie Curie, Marilyn Monroe, the Spice Girls, Serena Williams, Mme Tussaud, Margaret Thatcher, and others. Some girls are playing the part, while others are pretending to be biographers of their respective subjects. Pretty cool idea!

For those who wants to check the answer to the puzzle in a previous blog entry, it is provided here. If you want to try solving the puzzle yourself, please read that entry.

The answer:

The fish belongs to the German (who incidentally lives in the green house, drinks coffee and smokes Rothman’s). If you decided not to try your own hand in solving the puzzle, you may find it interesting to simply follow this sequence of clues that logically leads to the only possible answer: 7, 9, 13, 4+5+1, 8, 11, 12+15+3, 2+14, 6, 10.


  1. sasha

    The writer (and goalie) Albert Camus thought that football mirrored accurately the human condition, and in this sense he was certainly right.

    Your first awareness of the fact that it might be interesting to follow your local football team tends to occur at a developmental stage of childhood that eventually merges the two things into one. The football team becomes you, your past, your history, your present and your future. No matter how ridiculous this can seem, it’s impossible to throw off this emotional attachment, this basic umbilical cord.

  2. Ilya

    So, in other words, SKA Rostov – champion!

    Or, rather, most of us grew up in a culture that was not conducive to the phenomenon described in that paragraph. Otherwise, how to explain attachment to Barcelona or Man U that is common among Americans of Russian descent?

  3. sasha

    i am still following

    Herr Klinsmann was indeed the last bright moment happened to spurs.

    Arsenal is most exciting team to watch in english premiership, it is no wonder they almost have no english players on their squad.

    fox soccer channel will show arsenal vs midllesbrough game saturday noon.

    all american viewrs can watch.

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