When I was kid, I simply thought any team could win the league, I didn’t know how the world was. Today, I am a child again. It is a blessed feeling; a feeling like no other.
I’m sure if you looked at a word cloud of football rhetoric, money would be the biggest word. It dominates. It is both the warp and the weft of the modern game. We’re told every day that money dictates and even defines success, but as one Leicester City fan said so succinctly, in reaching to describe how he felt at this most incredible moment, “You can spend money, but you can’t spend this.”
He’s so right. And that is the lesson to take away from this most incredible of seasons. Positive memories and the emotions they stir, stay with you for your whole life. They paint your inner emotional landscape, they are the fire in the hearth of our soul, despite being utterly existential and as impossible to grasp, as it is to make love to a rainbow. And yet they elevate our existence if you open your heart to them, if you can shed the cynicism and acridity that modern existence seems to have elevated to the status of moral requirement.
As I get older, I feel more and more strongly that freedom and time is the real wealth, possessions (vinyl records aside, obviously) are fripperies and being obsessed with owning things is some sort of delusion or hypnosis. Maybe it is the hot breath of mortality on the older person’s neck that makes me think this way, but never has life seemed more about the intangible and less about the material than it does now.
And this is why Leicester City winning the Premier League resonates so deeply and feels so profound. The victory, achieved against all prevailing norms, against the status quo, against, what I feel in my guts is an immoral financial value system, is almost a biblical parable. It feeds dreams, hopes, even your sense of well-being. Like seeing a small child stroking a purring cat, it is an entirely positive thing to have witnessed and when all the money is spent, when all the bling has become bankrupt, the happiness of this moment will remain, immortal and inviolate.
Now, I can hear you thinking (it’s a talent I have and by the way, she doesn’t want to go out with you) that this is all hopelessly naive, romantic hippy nonsense and that money might not be able to buy you love, but it is very good at acquiring all the stuff you need to stay alive, like food and drink and quality underwear.
And that is of course true, but when something happens that feeds our non-material selves, we need to hug it close to us and feel its warmth because, at the end of our last day, life is not about stuff, it is about spirit. And, by god, today, thanks to Leicester City, thanks to Claudio, the spirit is high.