25 September 2014

Supporting Tottenham: Destiny, or Fate?

There are some positions so preposterous, so beyond the pale, that we really must pause before passing judgment. After all, why would a person choose a position so likely to inflict injury, ridicule and worse on themselves? Vegetarians come to mind as one example of this kind of masochistic lot. Talk to one, and they will provide all sorts of convoluted explanations for how they came to (a) deny themselves such pleasures as bacon, pepperoni pizza, or steak and (b) subject themselves to the horrors of tofu, textured vegetable protein, and seitan?* So too it goes with supporting Spurs. Why suffer the indignity of being the kid-brother to Arsenal, beat up, mocked, and worse while denying oneself the glory of winning silverware? Do Spuds wear hairshirts and chastity belts, too?

However, once one ponders the issue in any depth, one realizes that there must be more to such dilemmas than first meets the eye. We shouldn't ascribe to free will, after all, that which might result from genetics or destiny or, in this case, perhaps, fate. One can never overestimate man's willingness to suffer, to endure, and to overcome whatever miserable lot the life has dealt them; then again, there are limits to human dignity, and even the most-stubborn eventually come to realize that it's far better to cut one's losses rather than soldier on blindly.

When one comes across an individual, or a collective, that is unwilling to to cut those losses, one must examine the issue in even greater depth: why does this collective cling so tightly to a position so obviously abhorrent to a rational observer? The explanation must lie deeper below the surface, beyond such Enlightenment-era notions of free will, reason, or intellect. It seems to go beyond DNA, regardless of what the scientists say. Instead, it seems, certain people are predestined to lives of misery. May God have mercy on their souls. How else to explain why certain beliefs persist, flying in the face of all available evidence? How else to explain that a club like Tottenham Hotspur continues to garner support when clearly superior alternatives exist, as plain as day, for them to choose? To eschew a club like Arsenal beggars belief, and yet, it happens with a frequency that suggests that these unfortunate few, these "Spuds" have as little choice in the matter as do lefties** or those who change lanes without using their turn-signal.

It's cold comfort, indeed, but better than no comfort at all, to ponder the notion that a supporter of Tottenham hasn't chosen this fate and its attendant slings and arrows. It's almost enough to invite a bit of sympathy or commiseration. After all, we at Arsenal know what it means to finish behind other clubs. Far more often than we'd like, we finish behind two or even three clubs. One has to dig deep into the annals to find us finishing lower than that, and this necessarily limits our ability to fully sympathize.

With all of this in mind, then, I hope our noisome neighbors to the north take it in stride when we again despatch them on Saturday. After all, if supporting Spurs is a fate worse than death, well, we have little choice but to play the role that fate has assigned us—finishing above Spurs for the 22nd season in a row. Come Saturday, we'll put our shoulders to the wheel, grimly, for a I assure you that we take no joy or pleasure from this, and perform that role to the hilt. It's the role we were born to play, after all.

Right.

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* Full disclosure: I have been a vegetarian for twenty years now. For the the first three, I was pretty insufferably sanctimonious about it all. Nowadays, folks to almost tolerate me. Baby steps.

** Full disclosore: I married a lefty.