This weekend, my father and I spent a lot of time talking about two things: soccer and the HBO series "The Wire." He was as excited as I was about the response to my recent article for The Fighting Cock and either because of that, or for lack of something better to do, spent a considerable time sitting with me in the den watching the weekend's action. At the end of the Tottenham-Palace game he even declared, "well I only nodded off twice!" And despite his best attempts at being a non-soccer loving American he even whooped at a couple of near misses and well placed passes during both the Spurs match and Sunday's thrilling Liverpool-Stoke fixture.
I'm not sure exactly why we spent so much time talking about The Wire, other than the fact that he's currently using Season 5 in a curriculum he's teaching to college kids at Northeastern University and one of our favorite pastimes is discussing the magic (or lack thereof) of cable television. This weekend's discussion centered around the final scene of the series in which (SPOILER ALERT!) McNulty stands looking at Baltimore and through his eyes we see the fates of all the characters in the series: Bubbles is redeemed, Dookie is a junkie, Carcetti is re-elected, Freemon is back to his models, the dumb white cops are still dumb, the corner is filled with fresh new faces, the harbor still patrolled, and on and on.
The message is simple: you feel as though you've experienced something. You feel as though this has been a dramatic series filled with arcs and redemptions, but in reality this is life and this is Baltimore and nothing ever really changes. Or, In the words of Okkervil River: "It's just a life story, there's no climax..."
The world of The Wire is cynical and hard. And has nothing to do with English Football, right? Except that at the end of the day on Sunday I felt exactly like McNulty seems to feel at the end of the Wire. All that emotion, all that pain, all that worry and fear, and elation amounted to a Premier League table that looked exactly the same on Sunday as it did on Friday. The only solace being that Arsenal had yet to play and so sat in 3rd (a pleasure for sure, but cold comfort nonetheless).
This isn't, by any means, to complain about a win at home or the steady march forward of time or anything like that. It isn't to say that we shouldn't be applauding an injury depleted side for once again stepping up and managing to win despite themselves. And it isn't to say that I particularly enjoyed cheering Stoke on as they climbed back into the game against Liverpool only to tumble back down in a particularly Bubbles-esque manner.
I'm only trying to describe the moment on Sunday when you realize that there's no more football to be watched, that there's a long week until the next matches start, and that it will be a few weeks to come before putting in a workaday win might mean some points dropped above us, and a few table places gained. Or as McNulty puts it: "alright, let's go home."