Never happened! (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Today is my birthday. Left to my own devices, I like to stay up until 5 AM and sleep until noon, but that's not really a schedule I've been able to keep for quite some time. Last night, I decided I would allow myself to do just that as kind of a present to myself; normally an 8:00 AM game would be one I'd watch live, but not today. There were beers to drink and video games to be played.
I woke up a bit later than I'd intended, made "breakfast" and sat down to watch the replay. And I was happy. Villa looked fantastic, I loved the way they were playing and was incredibly pleased with the defensive performance; Arsenal wasn't attacking poorly by any stretch, they just couldn't break down the back line. It was doing wonders for my confidence in the team. Half time came and instead of fast-forwarding the replay through the incessant loop of Kasabian's "Fire" playing over graphics of the first half's highlights and statistics as I'd usually do, I stepped out onto the porch to have a cup of coffee (as well as another vice of mine which you can likely infer) and catch up on my spoiler-free Google Reader feed.
There wasn't much going on this morning, so after a minute or two I got bored of reading post with titles like "Good News For People Who Like Transit Funding News" (though I do, very much!) and decided to play a game I'd just downloaded instead. Something others who watch lots of games on delay will understand is that certain aspects of your life have to be set up in a way that minimizes the opportunity for spoilers. My phone is no exception. I have an ESPN Scorecenter widget on one of my phone's home screens; anything I might need to use without seeing it is to the left of the main home screen, everything else is to the right of the main home screen. It's a good system. Unfortunately, the game I wanted to play was stuck on the only screen that had room, which was to the right, and I hadn't had a chance to make room for it to the left as of yet. And because I'd been so long without my phone spoiling a game, I momentarily forgot all about the clever system I'd worked out.
So, instead of watching what looked to be a safe lead crumble in real time, my hopes were dashed pretty much instantaneously. Some might say that's preferable; those people are insane. When you see it happen, you have time to adjust your expectations. When you go from feeling like a trip to the 5th round of a very winnable FA Cup tournament is almost a given to seeing your team somehow conspired to give up three goals in seven minutes, you do not. It is unpleasant, to say the least. But with the score spoiled and that damage already done, I can tell you this; there is no way I will ever be watching the second half of that game.