Sunday, June 27, 2010

calls of the contest

i wouldnt say i have world cup fever, per se. perhaps i had a world cup 24 hour virus during the first week of round one. maybe the world cup runs after the first USA match. but not a fever. i have watched a few matches, only the later games, and enjoyed the spirit of the sport. but aside from the USA, i cant say i have any obligatory allegiance to a particular club. i do hope that mexico wins, based solely on the fact that im from california and growing up not only was one of my best friends mexican, but i do dearly love burritos. of course, being black, i try to root for the african teams. but when they inevitably get eliminated there is hardly any sense of loss in my heart. i go on unaffected. such is the nature of contest.

but what i have taken close note of, is the way the referees call the games. on multiple occasions i have seen a team robbed of a goal or a goal that should have been reversed get counted on the scoreboard. it seems that, unlike most other sports i watch, there is no conferring between refs to ensure a score, a foul, or a call is justly deserved. if the ref makes a call, the call stands, and sometimes this call will remain a mystery, as the refs themselves, protected by the lords of FIFA, dont have to justify their decisions.

in an early USA match, a goal was scored by an american striker but the score wasnt added because the ref called a foul. who the ref called the foul on remains a mystery, as the replays clearly showed no foul was committed by an american player (and in fact, a foul was clearly committed by a player of the opposing team), but no matter how much the american team protested, or how emphatically the question was posed just WHO the foul was on, the ref stayed mum. not only would he not engage the players in a discussion on what, who, and why the foul was called, he wouldnt even entertain the idea of explaining his decision. as the FIFA rules state, he has no obligation to reveal who the foul was on, and as the clock kept running, the american players had to eventually concede to the fact that they, as well as the commentators, the spectators, and the world viewership, would never know just why that goal didnt count.

earlier today, with the score 2-1 in favor of germany, an english player kicked a sweet 20 yarder into the goal. it should have tied the game and the two teams should have went into the half with the match tied 2-2. but because the ball hit the top post and bounced into the goal, the ref called that it didnt count. this, even though on review, the ball very clearly bounced at least a yard and a half into the net. now, this replay is shown on a screen at the stadium, and repeated multiple times on television, but once the ref made his call, it stood. there was no backing out of it. england went into the half down by one goal, and with their second half strategy reflecting this deficit, they were eliminated from the cup. bitter and dejected, a stink is sure to rise on their london shores upon return.

and now, watching the argentina and mexico match, the first goal was scored by argentina. when the replay was shown, it was obvious the argentinian player was offsides. decidedly by two yards or more, yet the goal counted. the mexican players, deservedly frustrated and protesting the goal, pleaded with the ref to look up at the screen, at the replay, so he could see with his own eyes what the rest of the world saw. the ref refused. he held his whistle in his mouth, he threatened to pull out his yellow card, he ordered the players back onto the field. now im not going to say that argentina wont eventually win, and that that unfortunate goal will be the deciding factor, but at some point, you have to wonder if there is such thing as justice in the sport of futbol. even if argentina go on to win 6-0, the dark cloud of that non-call will hang above the history of this match.

but i suppose in many ways this reflects life. there are no replays in life. no make up calls when you suffer the fate of a bad decision. no refs confer to deliberate whether an action you made, or an action against you, was fair or not. time doesnt stop so judges can study a replay and determine what is reasonable and what isnt. once it happens it has happened and we have to live with the fate of things. we cant pick the wrong lover then say, "oh wait, that person misrepresented themselves to me, i want a do-over." we cant trip into a crosswalk, get plowed by a car, and then have time rewind so we can attempt to cross the street again, this time without any slips-ups. we cant take back the things we said. we rarely have a chance to say the things we didnt get to say.

so in that respect, i suppose the sport differs from most others. we have to live with the decisions that have been made, and the consequences that befall them. hopefully in the end we can consider the contest fair and just, and that the final score reflects the efforts that were made. its a shame things dont work out, but we have to face things as they are given to us. cest la vie. onward and upward.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Golden Age

I get this feeling that everything is rushing at me. My boss at the bar, with her text hissing into my phone every morning. The deadlines I set for myself in order to practice my craft and the dull buzz I hear when I sit down to write. The dumb television shows and magazine articles I read while half asleep and taking a shit. The electric bill the cable bill my rent and my drinking habit. My heart spidering out in new directions and the bleeding insects caught in its web. The collapse of old industry and the frightening rise of another. The threat of success and the lure of failure. The fearless cowardice and all the pride attached to it.

All this rushing at me as I pay for two sangrias at a bar on 4th avenue. And she takes hers and puts it to her smiling mouth and her lips embrace the straw and on the flat screen above her head Germany scores a goal against Ghana in the world cup. Her eyes never leave mine and I feel my phone vibrating alive in my pocket. The bartender mentions a trivia night and I say yeah I'm thinking of starting one where I work and ask him how his is going and he says its stellar and I take a mental note of this.

We are in line at dmv and she’s cracking wise about people in the waiting area and I'm filling out a license renewal form and security guards stand in front of a hanging flat screen showing the early matches highlights. England and USA advance in their group and the guards groan at the Ghana/Germany score. When I get up to the counter the lady ask if I want to take a new picture for my license. I stammer out that ill do whatever is easiest and she says that wasn’t what she asked. I say no and laugh nervously at how slow I can be and she paperclips a paper to my form and tells me to move to the waiting area and ill hear my number called.

I'm sitting at home and this rushing has hit a wall. Or perhaps it was just too much all at once and like a stopped up colon I'm paralyzed by it. The TV is on and my computer is on and I'm chatting and reading and worrying and my cats are sprawled out on the floor begging I turn on the ac and a beer bottle is expiring before me and a single dollar bill in on my desk and I'm afraid to touch it. I have to wake up early and be at work early. I have a deadline on the horizon that I've made no strides to meet. I’ve got tense muscles in my shoulders and neck. My shirt sticks to my skin and my forearms are slick and shiny. I want to sleep but I cant. I couldn’t if I tried.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

forced entry #223

i got on the train at 14th street, had walked there from 23rd down 7th avenue. the station was so hot the walls were sweating and the dull buzzing from the lights got muffled in the humidity. people stood along the platform shifting in their damp clothes, looking down the tunnel every so often, searching for oncoming subway lights, the relief of an air-conditioned car. i walked to the front and waited while leaning on a beam that was covered in cracked, eroded paint that chipped and fell in the heat. like sunburned skin peeling away. it finally arrived and with it a barreling wind that blasted through the station like hot breath. i got in the car and found a seat and opened up my book.

the first thing i notice is that there was no ac. the second is that the floor near my seat is sticky. the third is that there is no ac.

i take a deep breath and let my shoulders slump and scoot further into the corner. at the next stop two women get on and one sits down next to me, beckoning her friend to sit next to her. the one next to me is large and wearing brown stretch pants and a huge tshirt that hangs in folds over her belly. her friend is wearing jeans and a jean jacket and her shirt sparkles pink beneath it. the hips on the one next to me push me further in the corner but i dont mind, i like the cushiony feeling of them against my leg.

she begins to fall asleep and her head lolls from side to side with the swaying train. her friend remains awake and looks at all the advertisements lining the car. i can see beads of sweat on the sleeping woman and her eyes fluttering and i wonder if she is having a dream and if so of what. is it hot in her dream? is she thinner? the train stops and she opens her eyes and slowly looks around then lets her head fall limp again and her eyes close and the dream resumes.

when i get to my stop and get off the train people rush by me to get on. i overhear one person say, shit there aint no ac on in here, and it makes me wonder why no one else seemed to notice before. as i walk up the stairs and the train begins to speed away i take another look into the car and see the large, slumbering woman. her eyes were still closed. i hoped she was still dreaming.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

yummy in my tummy

there are two of them. one of them is in an aluminum bowl with a cardboard lid and the other one is in ten by ten styrofome box. i havent opened either, but im assuming one is filled with pasta and the other with buffalo wings. i will open one, but which one i havent determined yet. they both taste so good. i cant eat them both. i just dont have the capacity.

im at war with warm food.

*UPDATE: i opted to open the wings first. it was a good decision.

forced entry #415

i have a friend whos birthday is today. he's turning thirty six years. in some context, that's pretty old. but in others, hes still a kid. its funny, as the years go by and we grow in age, we are simultaneously reminded of how old we are getting, and how young we still are.

when i refer to people in their mid twenties, i do it in a fashion that suggest they are still infantile in many ways, that supposes they have much to learn, and that there is still an innocence about them that, if they are smart, they will treasure and not take for granted. at the same time, when i was in my mid twenties i felt mortality begin to close in upon me, the suffocation of adulthood had begun to settle, and i assumed a weariness that has yet to go away.

now im closing in on my mid thirties and the sensation of time falling away too quickly always leaves me in a panic. i wake up with this sick sense of urgency that i never felt before. the feeling of unaccomplishment pervades in me. i have to get things done. if i dont it will be too late.

my friend though, he has other ideas about life. another year comes and goes and he maintains the slow, steady pace he has been on since i met him in high school. he still lives with his mother. he still brags about the things he will accomplish, the dreams that are never quite in his reach, the goals he hopes he'll eventually achieve. for work, he owns a small, insignificant car detailing business, which he inherited from his brother ten years ago, and proceeded to squander as the decade wore on. what was once a two thousand dollar a week business now maybe nets him fifteen hundred dollars a month. he commutes to the city from the suburbs, every night, to meet with his friends and drink cheap beer while hitting on women who are getting increasingly too young for him. hes been doing this since we were sixteen.

i tell him to move from his mothers place. i plead with him to escape [thats what it would be, an escape]. he agrees that he should, but then goes over the list of reasons why there is no way he can. he explains how he needs to save money for a place. how he ruined the little bit of credit he had when he was younger, so its difficult to find a place of his own. how his small number of clients are all over the bridge or through the tunnel, not far from his mothers place, deep in the dull streets of suburbia. he says he cant find anyone who he would want to live with, then goes over the failed attempts hes made at finding a place with friends he COULD tolerate [all those friends eventually found places on their own, hes the only one that remained defeated in the ventures]. finally he admits that, at this stage in his life, the prospect of moving out and onto his own, is a profoundly frightening pursuit.

i agree, it must be.

i wonder sometimes if its too late for him to move. that he is so deeply settled into this rut, that it would be harder work to get out of it than it would be to just go on as it is. hes let his childhood firmly wrap itself around his entire life. his security blanket is attached to his skin. he goes no where without it, he cant. he is a shining example of a person in arrested development.

oh well, this just came to me as i sat down at the old computer. i dont fault the guy for it. maybe id do the same thing if i could. happy birthday bro, i hope you never see this post.
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:gray matters: by jkg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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