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The Absurdity of Fandom

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Disappointing results are part of the game. Sometimes you just have to sit back and enjoy it.

Spartak Moskva v Liverpool FC - UEFA Champions League Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Another game, another disappointing result. Such was the story after a lackluster 90 minutes against Newcastle. For me, it wasn’t even close to the worst sports result of the weekend, nor even the lowest scoring for my sides.

Although Liverpool are the team I care the most about, they are not my only love. I grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee and went to the University of Tennessee, where college football (the American variety) reigns supreme. I don’t love (American) football like I once did, and as I have physically moved away from the region (and how!), I’ve moved away mentally and emotionally as well. Still, I was excited to finally see my Vols in person with 102,000 of my closest friends after a 13-year hiatus from Neyland Stadium.

Tennessee repaid this effort by giving back none of their own, ultimately falling victims to a 41-0 drubbing from the University of Georgia. They threw an interception on the very first play, and then spent the next 59 minutes and 54 seconds attempting to one-up their own ineptitude with new, and creative ways of failing. (I could go on, and indeed did, until scrapping the long stream-of-consciousness rant because who gives a shit about this on a Liverpool site? It’s not like I’m talking about sour cream on tacos, you know?)

As Jurgen Klopp might say, “These things can happen.” And they can. Over a long enough timeframe, you’ll see great performances and terrible ones. For every Istanbul there is a beach ball goal. For every 4-0 rampant win over Arsenal, there is a shameful 5-0 drubbing to Manchester City. So it goes.

As much as we fans feel entitled to effort, and in turn, results, we are guaranteed absolutely nothing. When we pay for our tickets (and in many cases, transportation, accommodation, etc), we’re not guaranteed a win. We sing and cheer, and hope that our positive vibes are enough to help the home side, if only marginally. But ultimately, we’re paying to support the teams we love, we’re not paying for their success on the day.

I could be more upset and disappointed. It was a long time between trips, and a younger me would have been running rapid-fire through all 5 stages of grief. But the weather was great, the atmosphere (right up until it became clear blow-out territory) was great, and there is always something to be said about returning home (sweet home).

It’s important to not place too much value on these games. I love Liverpool. I’m irrationally upset when they lose or draw a match. I look forward to their games, and a big win can be a highlight of the week. However, there are far more important things in my life. As I get older, I just try to enjoy the good wins, and shrug off the bad beats.

I’m confident there are many more good wins ahead for this Liverpool side (I can’t say the same for the hapless Vols), but even if this isn’t the case, we should still try our best to appreciate the best times.

It’s now the international break, and the perfect time to have time to reflect. Form is only as good as your next game, and that cuts both ways. Liverpool have three massive games in the space of eight days on the other side of the break. Win the first against United, and the negative feelings accumulated over the last month are suddenly forgotten. And if not, there are two more chances in rapid succession.

And as we watch the generally boring slog that is international football this week, perhaps we can be even more appreciative of our unique brand of never boring football. And more appreciative of Jurgen Klopp, who, despite his faults, is the best. And more appreciative of the fact that we haven’t lost one match by 41 points. Not one.