A Tale of Two Losers

Happy Friday!

The memes were coming thick and fast after Megan Rapinoe’s team was embarrassed in their opening Olympic game.  I try to avoid all things sportsball as much as I can, but this is much too delicious to pass up.

Anyway, it’s highly likely that the US Women’s team will make a complete recovery and win the gold medal.  So I need to take my shots when I can!

But first, England.  I tried to keep quiet.  No more…

Licences and Licenses

When I was 17, I failed my driver’s test the first time because I drove on the left side of the road.  

I tell you the truth.

Someone upstairs was trying to tell me something: my future wasn’t in New Jersey.

When I moved to London, I waited a few years before getting my British Driver’s Licence.  (Yes, the British spell licence this way, much to the chagrin of my spellcheck.)

My instructor was a lovely Black man with a fabulous Cockney accent.  Hilariously, he suggested I go for an automatic driver’s licence because I simply couldn’t coordinate my left hand with my left foot.  (I have no problem driving “stick” when I’m in Europe or America, but in the UK, it’s a no-go.)

One day, we were driving around Chelsea and he mentioned his best friend was from Atlanta.  Surprised, I asked him to tell me more.

He told me a great story about when his American friend came to visit him.

Of course, my instructor was obligated to take his friend out for the Great British Pint.  So off to the pub they went.

They opened the door, walked to the bar, and order two pints of the finest English ale.

My instructor’s friend was looking around, dumbfounded.

My instructor asked, “What’s up?”

The friend looked him straight in the eye and said, “This is the first time I’ve walked into a bar with another black man and nobody batted an eye.”

The Cesspool

I had neither kith nor kin in England, and was therefore as free as air—or as free as an income of eleven shillings and sixpence a day will permit a man to be. Under such circumstances, I naturally gravitated to London, that great cesspool into which all the loungers and idlers of the Empire are irresistibly drained.

Dr. John Hamish Watson, A Study in Scarlet

London still has that quality.  It’s where all the loungers, idlers, bankers, lawyers, hedge fund managers, artists, writers, and nearly everyone else gathers.

To me, it’s the One World City – even over New York – because in New York, one must be American.

In London, there’s no such expectation.  You’re unique, just like everyone else.

I had – and may still have some, despite my support for Donald Trump – friends of all different shades, religions, and degrees of drunkenness.

All were welcome.

Lest you think I descend into empiricism and anecdote, let me quote the great Joseph Addison, from his essay titled “The Royal Exchange.”  He wrote it in 1711 for The Spectator.

THERE is no place in the town which I so much love to frequent as the Royal Exchange. It gives me a secret satisfaction, and in some measure, gratifies my vanity, as I am an Englishman, to see so rich an assembly of countrymen and foreigners consulting together upon the private business of mankind, and making this metropolis a kind of emporium for the whole earth. I must confess I look upon high-change to be a great council, in which all considerable nations have their representatives. Factors in the trading world are what ambassadors are in the politick world; they negotiate affairs, conclude treaties, and maintain a good correspondence between those wealthy societies of men that are divided from one another by seas and oceans, or live on the different extremities of a continent. I have often been pleased to hear disputes adjusted between an inhabitant of Japan and an alderman of London, or to see a subject of the Great Mogul entering into a league with one of the Czar of Muscovy. I am infinitely delighted in mixing with these several ministers of commerce, as they are distinguished by their different walks and different languages: sometimes I am justled among a body of Armenians: sometimes I am lost in a crowd of Jews; and sometimes make one in a group of Dutchmen. I am a Dane, Swede, or Frenchman at different times; or rather fancy myself like the old philosopher, who upon being asked what countryman he was, replied, that he was a citizen of the world.

I encourage you to read the rest of it here.

London has always been the one, true melting pot of the world.  It is the least racist place I have ever been – and I lived there for over 9 years.

Euro 2020 Final

So you can imagine my horror seeing the England Football Team bend the knee to a bunch of Marxists.  It’s utterly infuriating.

And then to lose on home soil and proceed to hand out participation trophies to themselves!  Oh, the idiocy.

Perhaps if they concentrated on football and not politics, perhaps they would’ve won a tournament that was literally, physically, and actually laid out for them to win.

Thanks to the quirk of Covid, England played 6 of their 7 tournament games at Wembley Stadium (at home, that is).  The one away game they played was at Ukraine, which they won 4-0.

The title game was in Wembley.

Granted, England was playing an Italian team headed by the great manager Roberto Mancini.  Italy was on a 33 game winning streak.

Both teams duked it out and the game went to penalties.  There, England manager Gareth Southgate decided to put the weight of the nation’s shoulders on a 19-year-old player named Bukayo Saka.  Saka happens to play his club football at my beloved Arsenal.

He missed.

But so did Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) and Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund) before him.

England has a long history of bad results from penalty shootouts.

Then the social media opprobrium came thick and fast.  And lots of racist abuse.  But here’s the thing: 70% of that abuse came from overseas accounts.

Of course, the state-owned BBChé ran with stories before checking who posted what.  It’s what they do best nowadays.

But the most hilarious post came from those PPE majors over at The Economist:

Geez, you mean the Italian football team was made up of Italians?  Hard to believe…

I guess that means the Italians can just play football and not get distracted.

Perhaps if the England football team concentrated more on football and less on ridiculous politics that don’t even apply to them, they might win a tournament in the next century or so.

This leads me to…

Entire Country Happy Its Women’s Team Loses

The loathsome Megan Rappinoe and her posse looked dazed and confused after Sweden crushed them 3-0 in the Olympic opener.

I remind you that the US Women’s Soccer Team has not lost since 2019 to France.

But the new Victoria’s Secret model seemed undaunted.   Hey, she kept a straight face – and even asked for a raise – after losing to FC Dallas’s U-15 squad back in 2017.  So yesterday is no biggie, right?

I’ve never seen a country so happy one of their teams lost, though.  Social media was on fire.

It’s noteworthy they lost the opener in Beijing in 2008 and came back to win.  So history, if not statistics, is on their side.

Perhaps the USWNT should concentrate on their soccer, rather than perceived injustices.  

Just a thought.

Have a wonderful weekend!

All the best,

Sean

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