People have told me that time is a flat circle. And maybe I haven’t lived enough time in order to truly experience it in that way - look, 36 isn’t young but it also isn’t exactly old. But I genuinely turned my head askew when I encountered that phrase.
I mean, I get it: in terms of the poetic construction of it, the phrase is pretty perfect. It communicates this sense of ennui that is beautiful. Do things ever change? No. Things just cycle back, eventually. It’s somehow both despairing and super chill.
Understanding its philosophical implications, though, doesn’t help to reconcile the fact that I’ve only had one experience with time that really makes sense. Which is that it is relentless, unstoppable, and yet also impossible to move when we really wish it to.
Time is, in short, the captain (now, then, always) and we are all just along for the ride.
Looking at a stretch of time with no Liverpool football on offer is, to me, a dreary experience. I fear that the entire time will drag because my favorite weekly, 2 hour entertainment window is suddenly gone. And without matches, it usually means less to talk about or obsess over. In short, less for me to do or concern myself with.
When looking at my annual calendar to play for the year ahead, I’d come to look at July as kind of an empty period as well. No major events, generally, take place during this month and I usually look at it as a slow period.
This year, though, has seen this month blow right by me. We’re in the back half of the month already. A mere 11 days away from seeing it completely in the rearview. And what that means is that not only is this month that I expected to use as a recovery month from a truly difficult year, thus far, at work, but it also means that we are standing right on the edge of a new Liverpool season.
Looking back, I wondered what happened to move this month so quickly. And while I know there were a couple of events that helped, the broad strokes answer is that I got by with the help of good people in my life. I got by thanks to my friends.
Liverpool Football Club is special because the fans are special. I’ve heard that a lot. And this season has allowed me to see what that means to the results on the pitch.
The second leg against Barça at Anfield. The traveling Kop against Spurs. That Champions League trophy is a testament to how the Liverpool fan base can work in tandem with the players on the pitch to create a moment of magic. The 90 minutes against Barça, in particular, are going to stand for a while as my favorite moments as a Liverpool fan.
But off the pitch, the fan base has given me so much, too. I’ve written about the kindness of fellow Liverpool fans, and I know that most of us have likely experienced the weird moment of being spotted in a crowd wearing LFC gear by a fellow Red. The feeling that the distance - especially among foreign-based fans like me - between here and Anfield was somehow closed. That the amorphous, yet absolutely tangible thing that is fandom is so incredibly real.
So as we look at a period that sees the last real weekend of no Liverpool matches in the immediate future finally and firmly behind us, I want to thank all of my friends here who helped get me through this dry period. The month flew by because things were chaotic at work and because my personal life hadn’t ever settled since being upended in April with the passing of my grandfather. The month flew by because life doesn’t stop to check if you’re ok or if you’ve found time to rest or grieve or make peace with how things are. The month flew by because time runs like light pouring through the slats of the blinds and onto your face when you wish you could have just a few more moments of rest.
But the month also flew because concerned people, good people, wouldn’t let me sit still and alone in isolated spaces of my own making. And so we’re here now, on the edge of a new season. Not quite there, but definitely much further along than when I first looked at the impending break from Liverpool Football and felt the energy in my flag. We are on the edge of the brilliant light of opening a new campaign as the defending Champions of Europe. I can’t wait to walk into that reality with all of you.