Care and feeding

You could see from my last post that I’d given up on Arsenal winning the Premier League this season after the results they’ve had in the last couple of weeks, but more importantly, how they looked in the Swansea match. They’ve looked bad before, but this was complete capitulation. My team stopped fighting, and it had a look of permanence about it. My hopes and dreams are insufficient to making things happen; once my team gives up, what choice do I have?

I’ve carefully steered clear of most media since the loss, except I did read Arseblog each day. Andrew Mangan is rarely one for overreaction, but his disappointment in what happened has brought me even lower.

And yet. And yet. On my blog pages, I have this countdown feature. It’s a countdown to when Arsenal will be handed the Premier League trophy, specifically on May 15, 2016. It’s been up on my home page since before this season even started.

Now it’s here twice.

After I posted following the Swansea match, I decided I should remove the countdown from my page. It’s not happening, so why keep it?

But when push came to shove, I just couldn’t remove it. Not yet. Not when it’s still mathematically possible that we could come through this.

It’s ridiculous and my head knows it. But my heart hasn’t stopped wanting it. And thus my head has to give my heart the benefit of the doubt. The countdown will stay up, as long as there is the tiniest sliver of hope.

I read an article a while ago, written by an adoptive father who had been asked how he could come to love his adopted children the same as his biological children. The adoptive father patiently explained that it is easy to love an adopted child. All you have to do is to start to take care of the child. The process of taking care of another human being, especially a defenseless one, cannot help but produce deep love.

Maybe in another season, I would put Arsenal aside for a few weeks and focus on some other things, but working on this blog means that I’m thinking about Arsenal even when I’m not actively writing, and certainly the investment of time and money in attending the matches keeps it on my mind as well. This week, it turns out, my adopted Baby Arsenal would not be ignored.

My husband and I have tickets to the West Brom Premier League match, originally scheduled for March 12, next Saturday. But Arsenal’s continuation in the FA Cup will cause that match to be rescheduled. I did not have access to the FA Cup 6th round tickets. They are a part of the season ticket, but not what I drew when I was allowed to choose.

Arsenal’s continuation in the FA Cup has not yet been confirmed. Arsenal tied Hull City in the 5th round match, and it has to be settled with a replay at Hull City.

And so….on Tuesday, March 8, Arsenal will re-play Hull City. Only if we lose that match will the West Brom Premier League match occur on Saturday, March 12. If we win against Hull City, the FA Cup 6th round match will be played instead, and the match against West Brom will be scheduled in the distant future, probably mid-week, the hardest to manage logistically. I miss a lot of work and it’s the most difficult time for someone helping with my kids. As of yesterday, Arsenal’s schedule could have had me in London next weekend, or not in London. Based on the way they’ve been playing, it seemed more likely I’d be in London. But when there has been a patch like this, with so much poor performance and negative press and sentiment from the fans, Arsene Wenger will often put his best team out for an FA Cup match, producing a better possibility of a win…..meaning no London for me.

To make things a bit more complicated, my biological child will be wrestling in the Sectionals of Frosh Soph State this Sunday. If he finishes in the top four, which will not be a walk in the park, he’ll go to State, which will take place on March 12-13.

Go to London when my son is wrestling at State? To be honest, I hate wrestling. I spend the whole time in a contorted pile fretting, “Eek–That guy is going to dislocate the kid’s shoulder!” Not just my own kid’s shoulder. I fret over every kid, and every shoulder, including the ones my son is wrestling. Every knee. Every neck. And I don’t understand the sport in the least. In a typical meet, I usually understand about 10 minutes of total action, broken into 5-second discontinuous segments, over the course of an 8-hour day. On the plus side, I’ve been branded by my son, rightly or wrongly, as a source of competitive bad luck.

So I haven’t planned my travel because things are just too up in the air. And refundable plane tickets are just too pricey.

Today the Arsenal season ticket holder who shares tickets with me received an email from the club regarding the possible 6th round FA Cup match that will occur if Arsenal beat Hull City on Tuesday. He was told that this match is one that exceeds the number of matches that are part of the season ticket and that the cost will be added to next year’s ticket price unless he opts out by Thursday. The season ticket holder’s representative said he planned to opt out, but let me know it was happening in case I had a reason for wanting the ticket. He knows I travel a crazy distance when I go, and figured it was nothing more than a courtesy.

But if he opts in, it means I have a match to attend next weekend no matter what Arsenal do in the FA Cup rematch with Hull City. We can sell my West Brom tickets on the Arsenal ticket exchange to put toward the additional FA Cup charge for next year.

Typical of this season, though, there’s a small catch: The FA Cup 6th round match will be on Sunday, March 13–if it happens, in contrast with the West Brom match on Saturday, March 12–if it happens.

I’ve had to wait so long to decide about the tickets, I decided to wait just a bit longer. On Tuesday after the FA 5th Round is settled, and we know for sure my son’s participation/nonparticipation at State, and we can see availability of flights and magnitude of air fare, we’ll decide what to do next.

This week, I was working on a project at work where I felt it might be helpful to make a flow chart. I’ve never used flow chart software before and I don’t have access to any without filling out a form with the IT group, so I decided to try some free online first to see if it made sense to ask for some officially. I registered for a 7-day trial to Lucidware and gave it a go.

I quickly realized that there is more to making a flow chart than previously had met my eye, and Lucidware probably requires a user rather more lucid than myself. My project was complicated and the workflow software was new to me, so I decided that I should try it with a simpler problem to get the hang of it.

Ergo, here is a diagram of the decisions to be made with regard to the Arsenal match next weekend that was true before I had the possibility of access to the FA Cup ticket.

flow before

And here is the drawing after the email from Arsenal today. For some reason, I had incorrectly understood that the email from Arsenal today had simplified the original problem. If it truly did, I have much, much more to learn about Lucidware. (It’s pretty clear I have much to learn about it, either way.)

Flow after

So I learned a few things this week. First, I think I’ll approach my project at work without flow chart software. Second, the time I spent trying to learn Lucidware using my Arsenal conundrum– thinking about going, identifying all complications about going–was like care and feeding of Arsenal. It made me feel connected and needed.

When you take care of a defenseless being, you can’t fail to love it.

And with apologies to Petr, Gabriel, Per, Nacho, and Hector, nothing seems quite so defenseless as Arsenal right now.

3 thoughts on “Care and feeding

  1. I think your initial flow charts are awesome and I am also glad you didn’t take the countdown down. I think it’s a neat part of the site and even if the title doesn’t come to pass this season once it becomes officially so you should just start up a new countdown for next year and keep on blogging away!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I also think the countdown should remain until we’ve either won or it’s mathematically impossible to win. I love it that you started the season with so much faith and weren’t afraid to say so.
    Despite the improbability of us winning in Barcelona I’m enquiring about getting a ticket as I’m here and because I have faith that they won’t go down without a fight.

    Liked by 1 person

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