I haven’t always been the biggest fan of summer. There’s lots of reasons for that, I guess, but one that I know is still true is that I’m not a fan of heat. Which is a big problem when you live in the desert.
Given that Southern California had an unseasonably cold winter and a very, very nice spring, though, I won’t really be complaining too much. Because everything that came before feels like a win. And knowing that we got to the end of June with snow on our local mountains is extra awesome.
Which, I guess, is kind of what it’s like to be a Liverpool fan in this current moment. Or, at least, what it feels like for me.
This is my first time around the block with a championship Liverpool team. And the first time I had the occasion to celebrate a major trophy with the club. Given all of the things that the club had been through since I began following them, this felt unexpected - even as I was witnessing the improvement take place right in front of me.
It’s tough, I think, for me to remove the type of thinking that says we’re trapped in our situation. When things get really bleak, I can sometimes lock onto the belief that it will always ever be thus. Or, I guess more accurately, that any thing that looks positive is temporary.
Not because I don’t wish to be optimistic or that I don’t often lean on hope - I mean, this running feature column kind of says I’m probably at least a generally optimistic person. It’s just that in order to cope with disappointment, I think that I end up trying to protect my tender and optimistic, if wildly irresponsible heart from the crushing blow of disappointment.
So, when I saw the performances improve under Jurgen Klopp after he replaced Brendan Rodgers, I wanted to meet the results with a sense of cautious optimism. Because I knew that we’d seen this film before; new manager coming in and seeing a bit of a bump. Maybe even stringing things together for an entire season only to become nearly men.
Next season, it’ll happen. Next season. NEXT SEASON.
What happens when next season comes?
I’ve been thinking on that for the past few weeks because when we watched Jordan Henderson, flanked by Georginio Wijnaldum, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andrew Robertson, Alisson Becker, Joel Matip, James Milner. Daniel Sturridge, Virgil Van Dijk, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, and Mohamed Salah, hoist the most prized trophy in all of Europe, it was officially the arrival of That Season. We were no longer living in the winter of our fandom, but were completely alive in the fullness of summer.
Summer. In all of its warmth and joy. A season for sitting back and reflecting or not reflecting but definitely sitting back. Letting time slip by us with no real hurry to catch it cause, y’all, we’re Champions of Europe. If this is what it means to be a successful club - to be connected, for a moment, with the history of the club by finally being invited into exclusive room of other fans who’ve had the pleasure of rooting for a Liverpool side that is also the class of Europe - then please, sign me up for more of this.
An endless summer, then. Give me an endless summer. One that doesn’t have to remind of a reality in which Liverpool aren’t the Champions of Europe.
And just like that, I’m changed: give me summer forever. Not entirely because of LFC - I mean, re-discovering the joy of making trips to the beach and breathing in that salt air with my toes in the sand, is at least equally important.
But wanting to soak in every moment of being title holders seems like an appropriate thing to daydream about as I try to soak in every ounce of sun. Because summers were made for slowing things down, taking breaks, and appreciating the joys that can come unloosed within our hearts when we take a moment to just breathe.
And all I want to do, in this moment, is to breathe in the perfect feeling that comes when I remember that Liverpool Football Club are the Champions of Europe.