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5.10.2005
When Saturday comes?

Phone rings. It has done it before. That bastard. Just when I was about to start watching football. ďWhere the h*#& are you? You are supposed to play here nowĒ, my friend is annoyed in the other end. I can already see the script. Deep down he must know it as well. I kindly ask him is there anyone else around and does it look like the game is about to start soon. My friend is a sort of a rocket scientist but still it wasnít hard to realise that Queens Park Rangers stadiumís gates were shut with heavy iron chains and the stadium and streets were empty. It wasnít because supporters would be boycotting the game after they heard I might be back from an injury. The game is just not till Monday.
Rocket scientists arenít that clever after all. Or this one maybe just jailed with the past. He says it comes from his backbone to turn up every Saturday three oíclock to the stadium. He admits, though, that sometimes itís been quite stupid since it was away game day. Apparently sometimes the clock has also failed him after couple of pints. However, football for him has always happened when Saturday comes. These days the fixture lists are closer to rocket science. Some traditions are gone. Now football can and is been played whenever. So donít blame me for trying to pick up your tickets two days too early. Blame the televisions domination for the evolution of the game that made you to travel all that way with the district line. This weekend there were already as many Premiership games on Sunday than Saturday.
The genius masterpiece was Man City vs Everton at 11.15 on Sunday. Itís shocking to start a game before noon. I havenít played a game at that time since I was a little kid. Surely I have never heard professional football played that early. Thatís like celebrating Christmas in October. Iím not saying this because Iíd be lazy and spoiled. Iím just worried the Premiership quality guarantee is sometimes bit sleepy in the mornings. I understand that it is not very early to work for most people. However I this work is very different. Giving your body, heart and soul donít come automatically with morning coffee. Many people still think we just need to show up and run after a round object for couple of hours before going home to buy fancy cars and make troubles at exclusive parties. If they ever let me in I might have once tried all this but I can assure you all footballers look the game very differently.
The preparation is 95 percent of the game. Just showing up it is not a career. That is Sunday league football. Reaching your potential and showing it requires more than just remembering how to put your alarm clock and boots on. It is all how professionally you approach the game all the time. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Someone, a rocket scientist perhaps, has for example shown a lot of tested evidence that physiologically your body can peak earliest after six hours from waking up and digesting food takes minimum of three hours.
11.15 kick-off would then mean that alarm should start violating me 05.15 in the morning, soon followed by jogging and big plate of pasta latest at 07.30 for me to be physically and mentally my optimal for the game. My body clock shows a middle finger to this idea. I could probably negotiate a deal with my eyes to open that time but my body wouldnít, even if I had tried to adapt it to that rhythm for days. Already an idea of cooking pasta hours before morning greetings from Soccer AM puts my stomach upside down. I have to say too early kick-off gives more emphasis to adapting to circumstances than possessing the skills. You never know what feelings you are going to wake up with and you have no time to smooth yourself into it. So the quality of games and individual performances can vary drastically.
Luigi called me worried this Friday when I hadnít showed up to local Italian restaurant for my normal chicken pesto pasta. They know my routines but I explained Luigi the change in the fixtures. Playing Monday is not so hard but it is weird. Iím so used to some routines. Itís all new to me to have some time in hand before Sunday. I still didnít want to be on my feet too much before the game so I didnít know what to do. I know no other Fridays than staying inn watching those rubbish tv series that only Friday can offer. Nobody even calls me anymore at weekends because they know Iíd just be boring and say no to everything.
I took the easy option. I watched most of the games the television is filled with to remind us what we should like and why all the wives hate the satellite television now. Before I even realised the weekend was gone. Itís quite sad really that only thing you remember from these beautiful autumn days is Tottenhamís and Man Utdís remarkable comebacks, Kuqiís two goals and Musampas wild hair cut. All the plans of maximising the living went to toilet by the power of remote control. I was hypnotized by the constant offer of games and the entertainment that the English football provided. They always make it to look a better deal than actually doing something.
To show as many games as possible in television has made Premiership like a never-ending feast. Like Christmas. You have all sorts of food and it will never run out. No matter what time you are hungry you always have it ready on the plate. Or you can munch it for the whole day. Some people are already talking about inflation. The supply has beaten the demand. Well, who told you to eat it all? There is no reason to eat anything with celery for example. And you know what game I mean with this. Still because we all are deep down greedy fat bastards, we keep on consuming anyway.
I donít mind playing early or Monday or whenever if people really want to watch just football all the time. It is danger, though, that it will be too much at some point. Maybe we loose the next generation because kids canít make the kick-off times with their dads anymore. Maybe all the wives start a riot against sky television. Or because of everyday dose you become immune to the traditional Saturday adrenaline rush. Then all the rocket scientists donít even bother trying to come to the games anymore since theyíve already been overdosed by the fixtures. From there you are one step away loosing the real supporters who actually live and breath the game Ė preferably on Saturdays.


Aki


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