Spring Break

emirates.jpgI love soccer so I get really excited when I go to visit my dad in London where it’s soccer season all year long.  England as you probably know has an undying passion for the sport, they treat it less as a game and more as a way of life. 

For example, on a sold out night at Emirates Stadium after Arsenal scores the crowd collectively expenses 100 times the world’s energy output for a day in the 30 seconds after the goal.  Like baseball or basketball in the US, football in the UK permeates the culture – it’s everywhere.  It has both a light and dark side, and can go from having fun with your mates to total warfare very quickly. 

My dad managed to get hold of two of the biggest tickets the weeks I was there, Arsenal vs. Chelsea and the champions league quarterfinal of Arsenal vs. Liverpool.  I was handed the ticket to the first game right as I got off the plane, and after dropping my bags at home I was on my way to the Stamford Bridge.

soccer.jpg When I got there I stood in a line and ate the UK version of a "Dodger Dog", the "Chelsea Dog".  The hotdog was of course awful only making me miss home more because they can't really get hot dogs and hamburgers right for some reason in England.  To add to my displeasure the Chelsea fans in the line started yelling obscenities at me because I was wearing a red sweater. I was soon separated from the ten mean Chelsea fans staring at me and viciously chanting "Yankee go home!" or "Arsenals a piece of %#@!" by a long row of policemen mounted on horseback. 

The game was incredible, and even though Chelsea won I still had the greatest time.  It was all beautiful skills and genius plays, combined with elements from the most epic rock concert.  Now multiply the sentence before by a million and you have the Champions League quarterfinal I went to between Arsenal vs. Liverpool. 

There is time for peace in English soccer, when all the militant factions of the British premiership unite under one banner:  The English National team. Their fans strike fear in hearts all across Europe. 

Walking home after taking advantage of the wonderful museums London has to offer I saw a half pub full of drunk Englishmen getting ready to watch the England vs. France game.  This was definitely not a rare occurrence, sports pubs in London are like Starbucks in Brentwood: there's around two on every block.


 Click to see the video

They all offer a vast variety of great beers (Stellas yummy), and traditional English fare.  From the street, I could hear the fans from this one yelling and singing in unison and had to check it out.  It was a half pub half Indian restaurant  (no baconeggschipsand beans, here) but surprisingly great chicken curry. 

As I was served my mango lassi, Nicholas Anelka took this amazing tumble, he was awarded a penalty and France won. The drunken Brits took it with a communal sense of humor, and dubbed Nicholas Anelka the " The Flying Frog".