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When Everything’s The Best, But Everything’s The Worst

Liverpool managed to cap a day of extreme personal anguish for me and my family with a slice of joy.

Manchester City v Liverpool - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Second Leg Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images,

Apologies to those still wanting to bask in the glow of Liverpool’s win. And to the site as a whole, whose readers are probably not terribly keen to listen to my personal story, but right now I just need to write to get it all out. And if my sob story isn’t your cup of tea, you should probably just go to YouTube and watch Mohamed Salah highlights on repeat or something.

But for those who are also going through any number of life’s challenges, I hope you get something out of this post.

As kickoff neared yesterday, I was sure that even a berth in the Champions League final for my beloved Reds would not be enough to bring joy to my heart. A mere four hours before kickoff, my wife and I received yet another setback in a seemingly unending series of setbacks in the form of another rejection letter from Danish Immigration. After months of anger, frustration, anxiety, sleepless nights, and depression, this answer was almost more than my soul could bear.

The cliff’s notes version is as follows: for the past year, my life has been in a state of perpetual limbo. First, I was waiting for Danish Immigration to approve an internship with a local company. When the company changed management (during the months of waiting to be approved), that offer was rescinded, and I was forced to change tactics. In order to be with my Danish wife, I had to apply for family reunification--a long and costly process. Five months after applying, we received our first rejection letter. And after nearly three more months of waiting on our appeal, we received another negative answer yesterday.

Without official residency, it’s impossible for my Danish Life to really begin. I’m neither here nor there. I’m allowed to be IN Denmark, but that’s about it. I can’t work. I can’t volunteer. I can’t get insurance. I can’t study. I can’t integrate in any meaningful way.

We don’t even know what we’ll do yet. It’s still too soon, and the emotions are still too raw. There is another appeal underway, but that could take the better part of a year with no guarantees of a positive outcome.

When Manchester City went ahead within the first two minutes, it only seemed appropriate. My ego isn’t so big to assume that they were doing this just to shit on me, personally, but when nothing has gone right for months, that’s how it felt. Of course Liverpool would blow a 3-goal lead on today of all days.

But then something funny happened: the collapse didn’t come. And not only that, the Reds were getting the rub of the green. Two Raheem Sterling penalty shouts were waved away. A beautiful curling effort from Bernardo Silva hit the far post, and bounced harmlessly away. A certain goal from Sane was incorrectly disallowed for offside.

Liverpool were fortunate to go into the half only trailing by a goal, and struck back shortly after the restart.

When Salah’s chip found the back of the net, I couldn’t believe it. I nearly dropped my laptop in celebration, and was near tears when I leaped up and hugged my father-in-law. A single moment in sports has never effected me on such a deep, emotional level before, and I don’t know if another one ever will again. The anxiety that had been building for months before the game was relieved, however temporarily, in that beautiful moment of magic.

From that point on for the rest of the night, I could put the bigger, more pressing worries out of my mind. I could dream of something big, beautiful, and tantilizingly close: European Glory.

Logically, I know a result changes nothing. Sports, in the grand scheme of things, are meaningless. But when we’re at our lowest, we have to squeeze as much joy out of the good things as possible. I still have a loving wife, who, for some reason sticks by me through all this horribleness. I have a great dog. I have my health. We’re not starving, broke, or homeless (thank Fowler for my badass Viking businesswoman wife). And I have Liverpool, one of the greatest clubs in any sport in the world.

It’s actually a lot when I list it out like that.

Of course, I want to move on with my life. The waiting is mentally and emotionally hard. I don’t know how I’ll manage to get through the road ahead, but having the support and community—including Liverpool Football Club—will surely help.

For those of you who stuck around, thanks for listening, letting me get that off my chest, and proving that “You’ll Never Walk Alone” is more than just a song.

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