hanging on

There’s little like overcoming adversity or successfully holding off a hard challenge to win.  That precarious sensation of dangling by a thread, playing riskily, looking insecure and frail, liable to breach, yet still bravely battling through, hanging on.  I shivered partly through cold and partly through stress, sitting in the Tottenham ground today, my first match in attendance all season.  Most of the second half was tense as we endured significant pressure and fought hard to maintain our slender goal advantage.  One slip in the midfield due to a hopeless pass, a lack of forward options, and they were onto us, running through, asking questions.  Although, looking back, they created just a couple of clear opportunities to score.  One glaring miss which made us wince, squirm and cover our faces, hearts pounding in hysterical disbelief when the American player somehow slotted wide.  Waves of blue attacks kept coming right until the final whistle, when the crowd erupted, collectively exhaled and finally, nailbitten and fraught, allowed itself to smile.  It was a sweeter win for being such a close match, and I remembered how much games like this can fully consume you.  How they can become the most important thing there is in your life, how they can instantly be promoted up your league table of worries and neuroses, easing the others to the back of your mind.  How they can create the adrenalin surge, that righteous empowering jublilance.  It stays in the immediate aftermath, as you find your way out of the ground and walk back down the high road, replaying moments, discussing players’ individual performances.  Then you board a tube and it begins slowly to fade.  Gradually it gets shunted back down the league table of worries and neuroses.  Railway engineering works which complicate and disrupt your route back mark the beginning of real life remembrance.  People on platforms sneer in disgust and confusion at the information boards.   Ah, the crap.  Crap slinks and withers back into your nervous system, gets personal.  You flich at recent memories like you flinched at the missed open goal: the presentation of rare and brilliant opportunity; the careless idiotic spurning.

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