I type with fingers still startled that they witnessed live football this weekend. A feast I will never, ever take for granted again.
The magnificent return of Germany’s Bundesliga. AKA Football without handshakes, spitting, and… fans, was a boon for my sports-starved soul. Yes, I missed the pageant of game day. And without the roar of the crowd, the football most certainly dipped in intensity, lacking the hysteria-induced adrenaline that encourages players to snap into every tackle, add superhuman power to every shot, and throw the inexplicable but obligatory elbow when defending set pieces. But it was still football, and it felt gloriously life-affirming to have my Twitter timeline engaging with something more than Toilet Roll Keepie Uppie vids, news of Kyle Walker's latest Sex Party, or a thread on corner flag disinfection strategies. That alone was enough.
There may have been a barrage of negativity about the eerie echoes and rusty match fitness but, let’s focus on what the new normal is, rather than what it is not. Engrossing, exhilarating, calming, and perhaps most important of all, for 90 minutes, we were all connected in a positive, human way that only sports can provide. As a newly-minted lifelong Schalke fan, I watched the team I now “proper hate,” Dortmund, smash four goals past us, playing exhilarating football, born of a true team idea, with movement, vision and bombast. When they opened the scoring with a backheel, a sweeping team move that was finished ruthlessly by Erling Haaland, I will put money on the fact that if you were watching, you peed in your pants just a little bit.
2. This Week at Men in Blazers is filled with Creme De La Crap
Sam Mewis joins us this Wednesday afternoon on INSTA LIVE for Budweiser Happy Hour. Send us your questions for the World Cup- and NWSL-winning champion.Talking of NWSL, our weekly team-by-team previews continue today with the Chicago Red Stars. Look for that video on our social around noon.
WGFOP: The Bald returns today. This week, I will call one of you people back who leaves a message on our hotline (646) 450-9472. Leave us the best question and you could be besmirched.
The MiB Conclave is currently sifting through the hundreds of magical #PLLookALike Contest, Presented by Jagermeister entries we received over the course of the last month. To those of you who entered, thank you very much for your creativity. Strong late entries for Egyptian King Mo Salah and Pep. Later this week, we will announce the winners, each of whom will receive one of the custom “Livin’ The Nightmare” mugs I use on the television show.
Troy Deeney has also been vocal. “When people cannot answer very simple questions you do start to panic,” Drake’s stuntman said, whilst also pointing to a terrifying and important difference between Germany, where the curve was flattened with strategy, discipline, and testing, and Britain, where it has not been. “We have to try to believe [government] advice that we’re being given that we’ve reached the peak, but there’s still an incredible number of people losing their lives through this. The death toll in the UK is anything between 33,000 and 38,000. That’s filling our stadium and then filling it half again. It’s a sobering thought.”
b. While a number of players urged caution, others… not so much. This weekend’s assortment of Premier League players living recklessly included Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi who was arrested at 4 a.m. with a model, and Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette who allowed himself to be caught balloon huffing on social media. Both men etch their name onto the Kyle Walker Memorial Hall of Shame. What I do admire about footballers is they never seem to break lockdown for mundane reasons like picking up a packet of Pringles, laundry or anchovy pizza. It is always to make love to a supermodel on piles of cash in a room built of real gold. Dedication and commitment in its own way.
I will finish with a very powerful idea from Britain. “What is the last normal photograph on your cell phone?”#LastNormalPhoto A haunting and beautiful exercise. Mine is actually a shot of me and the MiB staff in our office watching Manchester United’s final game smashing 5 goals past Austrian duffers, LASK, behind closed doors. When I look back at it, first of all, it feels like it was a year ago. Second, I remember the feeling of angst and fear that gripped us as we watched. Like a city under siege from an assailant we had underestimated and did not comprehend. So much has happened since then.
I loved this related Raven from GFOP Daniele Clay, who wrote: “On your last podcast you mentioned a German word for COVID reopening talk (Öffnungsdiskussionsorgien). My son and I tried our hand at crafting a German word for COVID sad; that sad nostalgic feeling you get when you remember a time or moment pre-COVID where everyone was together, shaking hands, hugging and sitting next to each other; Ausgangsperrenseelenkrank. (Before-lockdown-soul-sickness).” That feeling. I have it every day.