Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Some people believe football is a matter of life and death...

So goes the famous old quote from Bill Shankly, "...I'm very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that."

Well, while I might not go so far as the Liverpool legend, football (yes, yes, soccer) is a very important thing indeed. And it is the reason why, after work on Friday, I took a seven hour train ride from Edinburgh back home to Basingstoke. Sunday, you see, was a big day for Southampton - the team that I have supported, and, up until my move north, been a virtual ever-present at home matches since the age of 6. It was the last match of the season, and the Saints, as Southampton are known, needed to win and hope that other results went their way in order to avoid being relegated to the third level of English football for the first time since 1960. Such importance, I felt, warranted a second trip home in a week (I am already flying down this coming weekend for my grandfather's 70th birthday).

Anyway, 90 minutes of tension, agony and, ultimately ecstasy started at 2pm on Sunday, during which I shouted so much that not only did I get a sore throat, but I also gave myself a headache. But a 3-2 win was enough to keep the Saints in the Championship, and it was all worth it. A 20,000-fan pitch invasion followed as celebration, and my ridiculous 14-hour round trip was not it vain.

I tell you this not because I think that a Southampton match will be of a great deal of interest to anyone reading a Tampa Bay Rays blog, but more as an explanation of why I didn't see any of the Rays series with the Red Sox over the weekend. Well, actually thats not entirely true, as I did half-watch some highlights from game 3 when I got back last night.

It doesn't seem like I missed an awful lot, three distinctly underwhelming performances, and three defeats. Still Scott Kazmir made his long-awaited return, and while he only lasted 4 innings and got tagged with the loss, it sure is nice to have him back on the mound again.

The Rays have now headed off to Canada for three against the Jays, and then return home for 3 against, I think, the Angels. I have another travel-filled week ahead, so I doubt I will be able to watch more than one of the six, and I doubt that will be live. Still, normal service will be resumed just as soon as I am sure what is normal anyway.


Russell said...

Congrats to Southampton.As a Derby fan the season has been somewhat devoid of tension! I guess we'd both probably like to have George Burley back?

John said...

Yeah, I would imagine that only getting one win is not a fun way to spend a season!