I’ll be the first to admit it: summer was never my favorite season. Wild, I know, to be coming from a Los Angeles kid, raised 5 minutes from the water. A Son of an Island Nation, whose lungs craved the balm of the salt air after a long day. I am very much a beach boy that, quite simply, was never all that fond of beach season.
And there’s a lot to that, I guess. I am also the son of immigrants, party to the reverse side of the Immigrant Work Ethic™ that is lionized in stories about my people: my siblings and I were latch-key kids. And while that’s not a story that’s new or foreign to Americans in the working class, it is one that often gets short shrift in society that is in love with our labor while exhibiting a disdain for us as a people. The paradox is deflating.
But the net effect of our being latch-key kids as immigrants in a country that is, to put it extremely graciously, ambivalent about our existence is that summer meant being trapped in our home all day. My family were never fully out of status - my father came here on a work permit and myself, my mother, and my sister came on Visas under family reunification - my mother always knew that the ramifications of CPS happening on three school-aged children home, alone, in the event of an emergency, went beyond losing her children. It could mean deportation. It could mean permanent separation.
And so she always asked us to exercise caution. To limit any kind of cooking to microwaveable items - which necessarily meant cooking even when she was tired to make enough left-overs for us to re-heat. And to always, always remain indoors.
I always thought that the itch and excitement that came with the fall and the return of school was because I was a nerd and while I know that’s at least partially true, I cannot deny that part of my disdain for summer is still largely informed by the sense that nothing happened for me, for such a long time, during that season. It was true boredom and aimlessness.
Liverpool-less breaks bring me back into a similar headspace. Summer is traditionally, in America, dominated by baseball. And while I will always have love from my hometown Dodgers, my affinity for the sport has dimmed as my obsession with Liverpool FC has intensified. It also likely doesn’t hurt that the Dodgers TV deal - which removed any games via over-the-air networks - basically means I’d be more likely to travel abroad and catch Dodger baseball than I would living in Southern California.
Still, the fact remains: summer is right now the season of heat and no Liverpool football which I cannot abide.
Which is why news of pre-season being in full-swing brings a broad smile to my typically dour face. The photos of the lads returning to Melwood providing me with a much needed boost. There’s Daniel Sturridge posting on his Instagram about how great it is to be back among his brothers. There’s James Milner wearing Andy Robertson’s number in training like a proud uncle. There’s Loris Karius - not at Melwood, but in Los Angeles! - gifting us with the most amazing workout montage since Rocky IV’s Hearts on Fire moment.
I am, unabashedly, given over entirely to the prospect of seeing my beloved Reds once more march onto the pitch in their attempt to win all of the trophies. And, for the first time in a long while, to have that be a reasonable expectation given the structure of the team is filled with top-class talent from the front-office and extending all the way to the vaunted staff at Melwood’s kitchen, where the legendary Carol and Caroline ply their trade like no other.
We are sitting, then, at this warm glow buoyed by the intoxicating hope that comes with potentiality. Everything is yet to play for because nothing has been played yet. And our expectant hopes coursing through our veins to fill us with energy.
I’ve learned over the years to embrace summer, of course. Thanks to having access to my car and then looking forward to seeing old friends from high school when we went off to college, summer became a respite. And I now take much more opportunity to - despite living much further away - to relish time at the beach and to allow my lungs to once more be blessed by that ocean air.
But it is all a prelude to that most glorious thing: Liverpool Football Club back in action. And so, Reds, enjoy this time and enjoy the break. We’ve made it to the start of pre-season and that means it’s only a few short weeks before our lads walk onto the pitch. We’re standing on the edge of our wild and incredible next adventure.