21 April 2014

A conspiracy is afoot, my friends. Conspiracy!

Pardon me, gentlemen, for interrupting the weekly briefing, but I've had a long night of it. So too, will each of you, as I've just know uncovered a conspiracy so vast and wide-ranging that it threatens to destabilize geopolitics on a scale not seen since the Cuban Missile Crisis. You see, the foe we just dispatched—those whom we defeated by a three-goal margin—have played us for patsies. They strung us along, enchanting and beguiling us, all the while playing a much, much larger game that I'm just now wrapping my head around. We were but pawns in this game of theirs, powerless to comprehend, much less resist. We're wrapped around their little finger. Mephistopheles himself could not have concocted a plot more diabolical than the one that has ensnared us. We thought we were winning a simple football match. The truth, however, is much more than that.

They know not what they celebrate...
I grew suspicious from the start. An early flurry of activity from Hull now looks like just enough to have convinced. However, Hull never planned on winning or even scoring, for this would have ruined their master-plan. Instead, they played us like fiddles. They called the tune, and hapless as we were, we danced blissfully, never suspecting that we were being led by a Pied Piper who was drawing our attention and spiriting away with a much grander prize

Yes, we 'earned' three points, but in the process, did we not play right into Hull's hands? The win allowed us to draw nearer our goal of qualifying for next year's Champions League, it's true, but it also moved Hull one step closer to their own goal of qualifying for next year's Europa League. We're all but powerless to stop them. Should we finish fourth or higher, Hull goes to the Europa League. If Hull win the FA Cup, they go to the Europa League. All we can really contemplate is an epic collapse, falling out of fourth place but winning the FA Cup as the only path to denying Hull from realizing their nefarious scheme. Dare we play the role of God?

All the while, we skipped and pranced merrily along, thinking we were cocks of the walk, what with the returns of Ramsey and Özil and the continued finishing of Podolski. Oh, we thought we were so powerful in so convincingly defeated an overmatched side. How little we in fact knew. How little we understood. Even now, with the truth staring in our collective faces—cackling, twirling the end of that moustache—some will refuse to believe it, claiming that we won, fair and square, and that's all there is to it. Brace yourselves, kind readers, for the truth is here. For those who wish not to directly expose themselves or their loved ones to the shock, it says simply that "In the event the FA Cup winners are qualified for the UEFA Champions League, the FA Cup runners-up will qualify." There it is. I hope you were sitting down for that.

If we win the FA Cup and hold onto fourth, Hull goes to the Europa League. If we lose the FA Cup, well, there they go. What fools we were! By the time we scored the second goal, we should have known that something was't quite right. A shot deflecting off our woodwork? In hindsight, it should have shown us just how elaborate and expertly executed was Hull's plan. They had no intention of winning this match. To do so might unravel a plan laid out, I'm sure, from the very day Hull were promoted to the Prem. From this position, after all, they would play puppet-master, letting us win not once but twice while doing their best to deny others points. After all, they drew with Tottenham, suspecting them to be chasing us again. With a visit from Everton coming up, can there be any doubt that Hull will do what they can to deny the Toffees—not to stabilize their own position in the Prem but to boost ours? Every point we win and that Everton drop, of course, bring Hull's plan closer to fruition.

There's no other explanation. It's a plan so vast as to beggar belief. There's talk now of Steve Bruce as a manager of the year candidate. They'll talk of how hull have earned promotion to the top-tier of English football. They'll show us the Prem table, with Hull ensconced, if not yet safely, mid-table. They'll point out the appearance in the FA Cup final. This will all miss the point, which goes to show how thoroughly Bruce has duped. Make Bruce manager of the year for how masterfully he has enacted this plan. We're through the looking-glass here, people. Hold on to your hats.

Shifiting gears ever so slightly,  a quick plug: last year at around this time, I tore my ACL and MCL playing football. I thought my playing days were over. I had the surgery and, thanks to my physical therapist, and ready to get back on the pitch. More recently, my PT has committed to run the Chicago Marathon and is using the opportunity to raise money for Big Brothers Big Sisters, a mentoring program that helps at-risk youth bond with and learn from adults. If you're looking to donate to a good cause, here it is. Click this link to visit the donation page. Thanks!