After the final whistle, I leave the pub as quickly as possible. I do not want to see the images of cheering Spaniards and heartbroken players in Orange. I greet my friends on the Hof and with a buddy I walk to the car. We join the crowd of disappointed fans, while we work our way through the centre of Amersfoort. We try to cheer each other up; the referee was awful giving far too many cards and losing sight of the game. And if Robben had just taken the shot instead of trying to dribble past the goalkeeper then…. I grudgingly reach the conclusion that the opponent was better today, if only marginally..
As I drive through town, Boekgirl calls me and to my surprise I hear Boekkid in the background. He was woken by the din in the neighborhood. “Did Holland win, Daddy?” When I tell him that unfortunately we lost, he becomes very sad. Now I want to get home as quickly as possible to comfort him, but when I arrive fifteen minutes later, his Mama has obviously done so already. We give each other a hug and talk about the game a little bit. “Spain was naughty, right Daddy?” I agree and notice he has put the matter to rest.
I am amazed how quickly he has worked through his grief and I wonder if I am avoiding the sense of disappointment. In the car I had turned off the radio, at home I refrain from turning on the tv and online I stay clear of the media sites. I do not want to see the footage. I do not want to listen to the interviews. I do not want to read the commentary. Every day I confront the pain that is caused by RA and regularly I seek the margins of it. It has a place in my body and my life. But on this day I am avoiding the pain of the loss of the Dutch nation football team. I am reminded of a line in the song “Laat me slapen” (Let me sleep) by the awesome Dutch band Acda&deMunnik. The protagonist gives the newspaper back to the delivery boy, reasoning that if he does not read the news it has not happened. In my convoluted mind the Fifa world cup 2010 ended after the semi’s.
Thank you for your time, take care of yourself and remember to keep passing the open windows.
© Ferhaan Kajee, August 2010