After I returned from London following the Man City match, I told my family over Christmas dinner that I wasn’t in the mood to write a blog post on Boxing Day.
“Why not?” my husband asked.
“I’m out of schtick,” I complained.
“Seriously?” my beloved husband said (and there may have been a minor snort added), “I thought you had a never-ending supply of schtick.”
My husband is a serious fiction writer and he agonizes the details, producing beautiful, carefully revised and workshopped works. The serious writing I’ve done for many years is business requirements, contracts, jira stories, email and, most tellingly, PowerPoint decks.
While I’ve been dabbling on this blog over the past few months, it has seemed that as soon as I write a post, I have then exhausted all post ideas. But then some topic presents itself. I’ll allow that every topic that meandered my way has perhaps not been the worthiest, but standards are the enemy of a blog. They are the enemy of this blog anyway.
On that occasion, when this conversation with my husband took place, Arsenal punished me for my laziness and schticklessness by losing to Southhampton so that there was no need for a Gooner Triumphal Feast to cook or write up. That night I made hamburgers, for gosh sakes.
This week, an alert reader of this blog provided an awesome schtick vehicle, the now-viral story of an Australian woman who, at her husband’s urging, named their baby daughter Lanesra. The woman thought it was chosen because it is romantic and lyrical, only to find out two years after the baby’s birth that her football-loving husband had foisted on their innocent baby girl the name Arsenal, spelled backwards.
Little Lanesra, thank your lucky stars your father is not a Liverpool fan. “Looprevil” just doesn’t have the same melodic feel. Then again, if he had been a Liverpool fan, guaranteed your Mom would have put a stop to the name. I think we can all acknowledge that Liverpool doesn’t even sound good spelled forward. (A pool of liver? That is just wrong, on so many levels.)
This got me thinking about the life of little Lanesra, and what has come from this fortuitous naming. We don’t know her precise birth date, but assuming that the mother has only recently become aware of the source of her child’s name, this puts the child at less than three years old. This means that ever since Lanesra has graced this earth, Arsenal have won a trophy. Arsenal hadn’t won one for a very, very long time before that, but in the year of her birth (2014), Arsenal won the FA cup. The next year (2015), another FA Cup.
And what of this year? Can Lanesra ever lose? Does Lanesra bring only FA Cups and not League titles? Does she have Champions League powers?
This will only become clear in the fullness of time.
Arsenal had a fine day today in the FA Cup third round, beating Sunderland. Arsene Wenger rested 5 players who started against Newcastle. Our BFG Per Mertesacker, Mesut Ozil, Nacho Monreal, and Mathieu Flamini weren’t even on the bench. He had wanted to rest goalkeeper Petr Cech, but apparently Ospina had a late injury. Sunderland rested quite a few players as well, to be fair. There are so many matches over the holidays that no one can afford to use their best players for these early FA Cup rounds.
Even though Arsenal went behind 0-1 after a big, big mistake by Laurent Koscielny, I felt pretty confident throughout the match that Arsenal would find a way through. Joel Campbell had a terrific day and scored the first goal for Arsenal before half time. He was so solid that I had started seeking Costa Rican recipes for the Gooner Triumphal Feast before the match was over. Arsene Wenger put Aaron Ramsey on with about 20 minutes left to help break the tie, and he was obviously a Man Amongst Boys, making a huge difference and scoring the second goal. The third goal was scored by Olivier Giroud. He scored the fourth, too, a massive penalty following a foul in the box.
What’s that you say? Martin Atkinson didn’t see a foul? And there was no penalty taken? Well, even Martin Atkinson couldn’t take it away from Arsenal today. A fine match and good play by our young players.
The official man of the match turned out to be Hector Bellerin. He did have a terrific day, solid defensively but marauding the full length of the field all match. He created two of the goals. Bellerin is only 20 years old, but already some say he’s the best right back in the Premier League. Bellerin is from Spain, so the Gooner Triumphal Feast featured Lentejas, Spanish lentil stew.
But because it’s important to always give credit where credit is due, we had Lamingtons for dessert. Lamingtons were invented in Australia, home of Lanesra, the true author of all those FA Cup wins.
Long may Lanesra live, and long may she be fruitful.