The Agony of Defeat & Craig Finn
This music was burned into my brain at a very young age...
"The agony of defeat." That ski jumper is Vinko Bogataj, a terrible Slovenian ski jumper. Poor guy couldn't stop his jump and suffered what could be one of the most famous crashes of any kind of all time. I loved that show as a kid and it ran until about the mid-90s showing all kinds of random shit that you couldn't get anywhere else.
That line from the great Jim McKay has never left my brain and as I've grown older the agony of fandom has waned because ultimately, sports fandom isn't really all that important in the grand scheme of things. Yesterday, however, that agony creeped back in...
West Ham lost the 2nd leg of the Europa League semi-final to Eintracht Frankfurt in a match that really shouldn't have went the way that it did. I was thrilled and incredibly nervous right when I woke up thinking about West Ham some how making it to a European final. It was the first time in a long time as a sports fan that I was genuinely giddy.
An early red card killed the giddiness and I moved into despair. A shame really and the feeling stuck with me for the rest of the night much to my own chagrin. As I write this thing that no one will read, I still feel a general malaise over the whole thing and I'm surprised. I've lived through enough sports disappointment yet for some reason this one has somehow exceeded the rest. Maybe it's because I'm still a relative newbie in terms of supporting the club as it's only been a decade. Some other supporters that I've met have been lifelong and I can't imagine what yesterday's loss has done to them!
Two things are still crazy to me: 1. There are people in this world that do not like sport or any kind. 2. There are people in this world who love sport of any kind. It's crazy because I can totally see both sides of the coin. Not caring frees up an absurd amount of time to do literally anything other than caring about the results of a game. Loving it creates such a massive sense of community, comradery and joy...at least until it doesn't!
I fall hard into the latter and yesterday is exhibit A. Thankfully they play a league match on Sunday and a win would certainly go a long way.
Craig Finn is the lead singer & lyricist for The Hold Steady. If you're not familiar with The Hold Steady you should be as they're excellent. Finn is a storyteller. Every song feels like a short story and his somewhat nasally delivery just adds to it. When I first got into them I really couldn't believe that someone could write rock music lyrics like you're listening to someone talk about a point in their life. It's just interesting.
He's got a new solo album coming out and the lead single is "Messing with the Settings" which is very much a spoken word track, but with a sung chorus. There's also a great string section in here, but the story is such that by the end you're a bit sad.
And that'll do her.