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The Real Thing

Replacing it will not be easy.

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

On Sunday, I was fortunate to sit in on auditions for friends and partners of mine. Watching different people walk into a small hall and take place on stage is educational for keen observers. The various ticks, smiles, facial expressions, questions, and breathing patterns can often be everything and nothing at all. When a person walks into a room with a presence before delivering lines in one perfect take, a decision has already been made. It's the same with job interviews, and I was fortunate enough to read a colleague's musings on the internet a few years back detailing my successful audition for a teaching position. It appeared that I was the right candidate as soon as I stepped into the room, and even though there was certainly no happy ending, it was the first time I could actually read the thoughts of someone who hired me. This weekend, one man experienced this on a far grander scale.

We've all experienced some form of loss, and it's odd how our memories of what once was are usually condensed into a few key moments regardless of how we feel about them. We do remember lots of things about the past and the people who populated it with our highly advanced systems deep within our medial temporal lobes; it's how we are. Yet there seems to be something uncanny about how we can forget to pin down exactly how things were after continuing to move on from the past into the present. Some may scoff in retort with the sharpest memories known to humankind, for they are the ones who remember everything. Both cursed and fortunate, they can remember the the most slender of slights and seemingly insouciant acts of kindness. Everything is recorded and noted, willingly and otherwise.

What is true and genuine, by that I mean of incontrovertible quality, is paradoxically common and rare. Good is all around us, but snaring it for regular use is far more trying than it should be. Perhaps that's why the send-off Steven Gerrard received was of such magnitude — loyalty isn't easy when you're that good. Prolonged farewells are uncomfortable for me as they engender unnecessary introspection for an individual already prone to it. However, this weekend of goodbyes felt appropriately coincidental. The enduring legend during my adult life as a fan will no longer play at Anfield and an esteemed cultural favourite shaped by the mind of Matthew Weiner concluded somewhat fittingly. Some will disagree that these two were what their supporters claimed, but for many, parting with them will not be a simple task. Replacements help, of course, but the problem lies in locating adequate successors.

One of the most storied clubs in world football has repeatedly found that time indiscriminately exposes and certifies figureheads, strategies, and players. Steven Gerrard was no false idol, and indeed merited his adulation. We may not have realised exactly what was lost for £75 million last summer but certainly know now. Liverpool must ensure that two consecutive summers are not riddled with mishaps in a sport where definitive welcomes and farewells are permitted twice a year. Game of Thrones and Philippe Coutinho will ensure that this seemingly lost soul won't have to look far for the real thing, even if it may not always get easier as you move forward.

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