There’s a weird thing that happens to me on the eve of any big event: sleep becomes an impossible feat. It’s especially strange because I usually have no problems attaining sleep under normal circumstances. My wife marvels at my ability to fall asleep quickly and while it’s a gift I’ve generally understood to own, seeing that my sleep tracker’s data indicates that on an average night it only takes me 9 minutes to fall asleep only cemented that truth. Sleep and I are good friends it appears.
Yet before major trips or life events, my brain communicates to my body that sleep is not important. Which can be problematic cause, as it turns out, things like the ability to carry out a coherent conversation or to simply focus on tasks are tied to your body refreshing itself with a good night’s sleep.
Sleep is therapeutic and healing. Sleep is where we recharge. But sleep is also where we let ourselves dream. Where we restore the brokenness of a world that over indulges in the practical by imbibing in the honeyed sweetness of that distant vision, that impractical project, that foolish idea made real if only for a moment. Released from the gravity of our daily lives we see things new and this renewal fills us to meet the next day with vigor.
We live in dreams. And in this group, our dreams have come to life.
I don’t know many Reds fans that looked at this season and marked making the Champions League Final as a positive. We all had hopes, but while we may have recognized by the middle of this season that, on their day, this team could beat any team in Europe, not many of us believed we would be here.
Being surprised in our participation in this competition and lack of belief on whether we belong are two very different things. This team has built an improbable run, but they also certainly know they are deserving contenders for this title.
Brick by brick, inch by inch, this squad has laid the foundations of their march into this major occasion by twinning their natural gifts with their dedicated grift. Beginning with a gaffer that works tirelessly and begs that his squad give equally of themselves, to a group of players willing to leave it all on the line during each match, and ending with a fanbase that came good on their talk of European Nights at Anfield. They weren’t just memories pulled from a dead scroll - this generation was etching their own mythology.
And so, when the lads drew City in the quarters, the anxiety was palpable as every Red clung to prayer or superstition or both. But when the dust settled on the first 45 minutes at Anfield, it was clear the Reds weren’t just content to be invited to the big dance as it were. They came to win the damn thing.
They came to clutch, with both hands, that impossible dream.
We stand on the edge of the final chapter of this short story. Resolution still in the air. All tension, no release.
Maybe that’s why this time is so fraught with nerves and so many of us may lose sleep overnight: we are caught between this present moment and the unknowable future. Tethered in the suspense of what may yet come.
It’s like we’re looking out at the horizon after a storm, knowing the dawn is coming. Knowing that there is something beautiful that might be just over that hill, that last little bit of space left to cover. And what’s great is that come kickoff tomorrow, none of us will be alone in finally seeing what lies in space just beyond our line of sight.