I usually start my first post after a long absence with an apology and an explanation for why you haven't been entertained by me on a daily (or semi-daily, or, let's be realistic, weekly) basis. This time I offer no such pleasantries. The fact is that if I hadn't posted soon, Jorge was going to perform a wrestling move on me that he calls "El Abuelo Sucio," AKA "the dirty grandfather." Needless to say, I wasn't interested in finding out what that was.
When we were in England, Damian, Milosh, our tour manager Mike Kent and I went to an FA Cup soccer-I-mean-football match. Here're all the juicy details:Leeds United vs. Wigan Athletic
One could say I'm the "sports guy" in the band, meaning that I like following sports, especially baseball, but not meaning that I'm "sporty" or "athletic," because let's face it: I'm not. At some point in high school you've got to trade in your cleats for a guitar if you want to really pursue music. That's what I did, yet somehow I still end up wearing a funny costume and doing a choreographed dance every night. Go figure.
I've never been to a European soccer-I-mean-football game, but have wanted to for a long time, so I scoured the football (which is what 'soccer-I-mean-football' is appropriately called there) fixtures (which is what 'schedule' is weirdly called there) for a game that would fit into our unrelenting schedule. The only match I could find was in Leeds, between Leeds United and Wigan Athletic. Wigan was the better team, but Leeds was also pretty good. We would be rooting for the underdog in their home stadium...perfect.
We got good seats a few rows off the field and, quite luckily, right next to all of Wigan's fans. It was lucky because it put us right in the thick of the crossfire between the Leeds & Wigan boosters, a wonderful place to be since their angry chants were easily the best part of the game. It started nicely enough, with the Leeds fans screaming "We are Leeds! We are Leeds! We are Leeds!" and the Wigan supporters yelling "Come on Wigan! Come on Wigan!" This prompted the Leeds fans to respond with "Fuck off Wigan! Fuck off Wigan!" in the same exact melody and rhythm, and the real game was on. You'll be shocked to hear that OK Go became deeply involved in this exchange, and even more shocked to know that we ended up attaching ourselves to the (usually more vulgar) Leeds side of the argument.
In the States, even at the most heated Red Sox-Yankees games, I've never heard an entire stadium buzz with such gratuitous use of melodic group cussing. I guess Americans view sport as entertainment; the British as life-and-death. Even the seven-year-old in the row behind us was shouting things like, "I don't care if you get sent off... break his legs! BREAK HIS LEGS!! MAKE IT HURT!!!" It was adorable.
The match itself was fantastic. Wigan scored first; Leeds tied it minutes later. In the second half, Wigan again jumped out ahead only to have Leeds tie it with a penalty kick. Regulation time ended and the game went into extra time. In a crushing blow, Wigan scored about ten minutes into overtime. Their fans were rabid... the game was pretty much over and they knew it. Twenty minutes remaining went to fifteen, down to ten, down to eight.
With about seven minutes left, Leeds miraculously sent in the game's equalizer: an authoritative goal that slammed into the back of the net. The stadium went ballistic. Where certain defeat had been in their hearts, the Leeds fans had been given new life - a tie game - and they did what we all do in these situations: they immediately turned on the now-silent fans of the visiting team. Only three hours earlier, I may have passed some of these people on the street, exchanging smiles, "hallo's" and a warm sense of convivial brotherhood. Now I was violently screaming at them to ingest parts of their own genitals, parts of other peoples genitals, and possibly even parts of their family's genitals. I can't remember...I had gone insane, brought to a blurred frenzy by the sight of someone I will never meet kicking a round piece of leather through a rectangle. Behold, the power of sports.
In the end, Leeds lost on penalty kicks and Wigan's fans got the last laugh. It would have been a devastating loss for me, had I grown up in Leeds. But I grew up in the United States, so it was pretty easy to process the outcome intellectually, safe in the knowledge that the Red Sox were two months away from spring training.
Which brings us to the moral of this story: OK Go is badly in need of some soccer-I-mean-football style chants. Please write some for us. They can pit us against other bands, or even pit us against ourselves, band member vs. bandmember. Be creative, be cruel, and always remember: use lots of swearing.