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To drink or not to drink??

I watched our  2006 quarter final against Portugal  in the pub.  KO was 1am.  It was well and truly a night of two halves.  The first segment was the pre match part.  Much ale was consumed and Vindaloo And Three Lions were sung and much frivolity abounded.  The second part was from kick off onwards.  Where earlier people had danced jigs, waved flags and scarves, and paraded their jolly demeanour to all and sundry, the mood changed completely.  Joyous excitement was replaced by  unreal calm and anxious scowls at our teams inability to impose themselves on the game.  As extra time drifted towards it’s inevitable conclusion, which meant no immediate conclusion, Leonard Cohen’s Everybody Knows came into my mind.  You can be sure that when he wrote his darkly brilliant anthem for bitter twisted betrayed lovers, World Cup quarter finals were the last thing on Len’s mind!  But with another penalty shoot exit impending, the languid sinister mood of his tortured whispers accurately described the esssence of our slow sad shufffle across football’s bridge of sighs.

The shootout having reached it’s inevitable conclusion, the majority of the pub crowd quietly drifiting off into the night. My mate JD said exactly the precise words that were in my mind.  “We are never going to win it in our lifetime”  An accurate observation.  Those moments were as sickening and horrible as any  football moment I’ve ever had the misfortune to feel. Feeling as bitter as Len sounded, I drank three pints in about ten minutes.  JD and I sat mumbling to ourselves and each other, bathing in the aftermath of the delicious nightmare.  The scale of my misery wasn’t eased by the fact that, like now, I never expected to win the tournament.  At that point a Frenchman came to talk to us who was, well, too French.  He was so French we felt that he wasn’t French at all and was caricaturing a Frenchman for a laugh.  He was good looking stylish and had all the mannerisms of the French stereotype.  He was waiting for their game against Brazil and had come over to commiserate with us.  A really top bloke but it was hard to talk with him because of our depression and the scale of the Frenchness was hard to get past. A quirky end to a horrible night (and early morning) of stomach churning inevitable loss. 

SO to 2010.  I am yet to go the pub for an England game in this competition.  If we get knocked out could I feel as bad as I felt last time?  OR if we get knocked out would it help if I was surrounded by other depressed souls?  OR as this could be the last chance to get out and experience it should I just go?  OR, we might win and….no, that’s a ridiculous prospect.  What should I do?  To drink or not to drink?  That is the question.

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