This turned out to be one of those weeks where life was unrelentingly harsh and confusing, with one trap door after another popping up as the days passed. Monday provided shock and terror in Boston, Wednesday the horrific explosion in West, Texas, Thursday the news of Anne Williams' passing just three days after she'd attended the memorial service at Anfield, yesterday the chaotic conclusion to the manhunt through a locked-down Watertown, and today, an earthquake in the Sichuan Province of China claiming over 150 lives. And this ignores the goings-on elsewhere that have become so frequent that they're not even treated as news.
It all makes sport either seem hollow or relieving or even more meaningful, depending on your inclination--I've got no interest in writing too much on the matter, as I'm not particularly clear on what my thoughts are one way or the other, and I'm not really in a place to tell you what grown men wearing athletic shorts to work should mean to you. Other than the fact that it kind of sucks to not be able to wear shorts to work and to get paid 1/45698th of what they do.
The world is scary, people can be even scarier, and during weeks like this, you'd be forgiven (or at least I forgive myself) for wanting to crawl into a hole for awhile. Part of that crawling into a hole impulse is a desire to just shut everything off for awhile, to be able to participate or engage in something so completely that the pain or sadness of whatever else is happening at least fades to white noise for a minute or two. It'll still be there when we check back in, unfortunately, but being able to distract one's self from events that are potentially so overwhelming that we can't possibly pay attention to them for every waking hour is occasionally necessary.
Liverpool's announcement of a minute's applause prior to kickoff asks that we pay attention for a brief period of time--a request that's fully deserved and justified--ahead of tomorrow's match, with recognition for the heroic efforts of Anne Williams, who fought for justice for her son, the other victims, and their families for the past 24 years right up until the moment she simply couldn't anymore, as well as the lives lost in Boston. Our minds will certainly float in and out, from Ms. Williams to Boston to Texas to China to football to our own loved ones and back again.
And then, hopefully in some way we can enjoy the distraction of the two hours that will follow.
Enjoying the distraction Liverpool provides has become a relative concept during the last three seasons, with more silver linings than positive outcomes and enough infighting and imagined superiority to convince you that it all really matters. And it does, I suppose, but on a day like tomorrow, when there's time set aside for remembrance and time set aside for play, we can maybe allow ourselves to engage in both without overdoing it with either.
It'll at least be a break above all else, and something that's not scary or confusing or chaotic the way so much of this week has been. Just probably in the way that Liverpool usually are.