The truth about Christmas

I have been good. But not great.
I have been good. But not great.

I do love Christmas, but I sometimes find that the reality doesn’t quite live up to the anticipation. When I was a kid this was especially true. I’d get up on Christmas morning after weeks of anticipation and wait impatiently until the allowed parental wake-up time, at which time I would join my four siblings in the world’s fastest ripping off of wrapping paper.

Just like that, it was over. And the letdown permeated the rest of the morning. Often, later in the day, I’d start to interact with one of the gifts, something under the tree that I hadn’t asked Santa for that had been a bit of a surprise. I would find it far more fun than some of the items I’d hoped for for weeks. Or we’d start up a particularly fun card game that provided one of the best moments of the day.

Today’s start of the Premier League was something like that. In reality, I had no bigger plan than to park on the couch from 6:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and watch three games in a row. But I got back late from Nashville last night and didn’t wake up until close to 8. By then, Manchester United v. Tottenham was already into the second half, and Manchester had already benefited from the weird Kyle Walker own goal. In my More Despised Team Hierarchy, Manchester United is a level above Tottenham, but in any case I had no choice but to root for an equalizer so both teams would end up with only a point. That did not go my way, but I was gratified to see that Man United looked terrible even though they came away with 3 points.

There is only one early game (usually played at 12:45 p.m. UK time). Four games typically kick off at 3 p.m. UK time. In the U.S., if you have the right combination of cable packages, you can watch any of the four games you want to, although some are technically “on Demand.” When I looked at the possibilities, there was only one game I was tempted to watch, but it was On Demand and I was too lazy to bother setting it up.

It’s supposedly Christmas, but there are already gifts I am turning my nose up at.

Instead, my son and I took a bike ride on the Prairie Path, a train line that was converted to a bike and running path that runs through our neighborhood. You can use the path to connect to virtually hundreds of miles of bike paths, but my son and I only rode to Glen Ellyn, where we bought bagels and raced home to catch much of the Chelsea v. Swansea match.

My son has Diego Costa on his fantasy football team, but left him on the bench because Jose Mourinho had lead everyone to believe that he was injured. My son was therefore a bit disappointed to see that Costa started. However, in the fantasy football point system, Costa only managed 2 points during the game, which means he had a pretty anonymous day. A little gift in the stocking of those of us small people who watch matches to root against teams like Chelsea. Or, more specifically, exactly Chelsea.

The other gift in my stocking was the lovely Christmas red card that Chelsea goalkeeper Courtois picked up, followed by a penalty kick for Swansea which Gomis hit, taking the score to 2-2, and taking Chelsea down to 10 men for the rest of the match. Naturally, anything that displeases John Terry pleases me, so his yellow card for dissent added a plum to my pudding. And finally, I got a special delight from the sarcastic laugh emitted by Jose Mourinho when he didn’t get a foul call he hoped for. Ho ho ho. A tie for Chelsea at home is not the worst way to start the Season.

So, in all, a quite typical Christmas.

Arsenal kick off in the early game tomorrow against West Ham. Christmas two days in a row!

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