Here’s the thing: watching Liverpool Men play in 2022/23 has largely been a painful experience that (if you’re like me) you haven’t really enjoyed and would rather forget. The team has been lacklustre, the players—when they aren’t injured—haven’t been clicking, and, quite frankly, even the press conferences have become a thing we all just slog through, hoping to see light at the end of the tunnel (in the form of either a train or the end of the season).
All that being said, this is something that every team that isn’t swimming in highly suspect money goes through (which isn’t to say that Liverpool isn’t a richer club than most!). To actually live through it, though, instead of looking back and saying things like ‘remember that time we finished 7th in the league’ is difficult, to say the least.
So what exactly do we do as we face game after game after game, not knowing if we’ll see a glimmer of past (see: last year’s) glory or if we’ll see whatever it was that the team put on display for us yesterday? I personally think we should embrace the idea of everything that’s happening being very bad performance art.
Here’s what’s true about both bad performance art and whatever Liverpool Men have been doing:
- No one actually knows what’s going on.
- You’re obliged to show up anyway (because it’s your friend or your team).
- No one is having any fun whatsoever.
- You find you can’t talk about anything apart from what you saw for days afterwards.
- Commentators have so much to say about it, and almost all of it is nonsense.
I’m not saying this framework is a winning one, but it does help. For instance: I watched this weekend’s game marvelling at the statement Liverpool Men were making on the general malaise of the world in 2023. That particular attitude helped so much that I’ve decided we should apply this strategy to pretty much everything we’re dealing with. It may not make you happy, but it does mean you don’t dwell on things for quite as long.
Of course, there are limits to this approach. For example, if you’re a writer for a large conglomerate of sports blogs that keeps gutting said blogs with zero warning or clarity on what’s going on (a completely hypothetical example, obviously), it’s hard to feel anything but anger and frustration. But perhaps this too is performance art—a piece about late stage capitalism—and we just need to keep slogging away until we see the light at the end of the tunnel.
And hey! At least football (or something masquerading as football) will always be there for us.