Heckling at Euro 2012 | The great void

Withdrawal symptoms have Wayne Flask conclude his series on a soft note. Not.

No more Balotelli sixpacks and no more Spanish tiki-taka. Or Angela Merkel.
No more Balotelli sixpacks and no more Spanish tiki-taka. Or Angela Merkel.

Thursday, 28th June at approximately 9.10pm. I'm ducking for dear life as Balotelli fires Italy 2-0 up against Germany with a precise screamer into the top corner. Neuer and Lahm must have gone Oh nein, not again! realising they were living through the second nightmare of their season (remember Bayern v Chelsea?).

But I can't really see them. Tigulio is in ruptures for the second time that evening, and had I been quicker after the 1-0, I would have avoided one of many beery projectiles thrown randomly from behind me, just like a marksman on LSD would. So here I am, stinking of what I presume is warm, sticky Hopleaf, looking worse for wear than the suddenly hapless German duo of Hummels-Badstuber.

Commentary for the evening was provided by a chap in his twenties, whose lack of centimetres was compensated for by the astounding power of his larnyx and the severity of his tourette's as he belched "Hitler your insult here" at any anything he considered not to be Italian, or German (Podolski, Khedira, Boateng, Gomez, Ozil). During half time he bragged about conceding a walkover to an exam the day after Italy vs England (I suspect he wasn't sitting for neurosurgery).

***

Sunday, 1st July, at approximately 10:30pm. I'm ducking again, this time a thick-rimmed round plate whizzes past my head as a waiter laboriously dribbles a family of four leaving the sports bar earlier than expected. The mother is unusually scathing in her tactical analysis: "U dawn l-Ispanjoli ffortunati..." I bite my tongue hard and cover my face, almost missing what could have been the 5-0 as Ramos backheels daintily only for Buffon to collect. I would have given her my optician's business card weren't it for the size of Pa and the misspelt tattoos on his right forearm.

Hooting can be heard from a distance but it's no carcade, nor a traffic accident. Battle-hardened again after penning this series from the trenches, I still wonder what fountain of obscure energy brings people to leave an airconditioned living/bedroom at 11pm, get in a car and drive aimlessly around Malta, honking with more vigour than they would if they had a pregnant woman giving birth in the back seat. Is it the decrease in the prices of unleaded and diesel fuel? Or merely the devil finding work for idle hands?

Now I might be a boring old hag, with a hair loss issue to boot (but then so is Arjen Robben) but I still find carcades childish. Even if AC Milan had to win nine trophies in a single season ,including the Interstellar Blindfolded Tablesoccer Championship against SZ Gogeta Red Star (Jupiter), I would probably stick to celebrating with a couple of cold beers and some derisory comments on Facebook (in Maltese. Poor Red Star fans on my list). I don't ever remember taking to the streets with somebody else's flag, and will unashamedly stick to my troglodyte, retrograde, totalitarian, kill-all-hippies-view that carcades and the possibility thereof are really an excuse to get drunk. And they also take the sheen off the actual spectacle of football, because a hangover seems more memorable than a goal these days.

I will get even more worked up if someone confronts me with regurgitated "libertarian" arguments like "let fandom be, we've a right to it" (hell no, you've got no right to be a noisy public nuisance and block roads), or accusations of nationalism/patriotism (why am I writing "accusations"? is loving thy country suddenly passé?). Or the age-old jibe that "Malta never wins anything:" someone has rightfully pointed out - for statistics are not an opinion - that Malta and England hold the same number of trophies since 1966.

Now that I remember, wonder how many of those who got drunk to the tune of Notti Magiche will turn up to Ta' Qali to support Malta when we face the vice-champions of Europe in March next year. For it would pain me if, say, I had to get clearance from MFA to film the terraces in Ta' Qali and catch so many familiar, painted faces chanting Italian names in a Maltese accent.

On the other hand I hope the South End Core, or anyone for that matter, doesn't overindulge in the usual vaffanculo routine. It's like going to England and yell "fuck" all the time. Not your brightest moment, y'know.

So, I hope that once our country is competing we'll do the proper thing. My gauntlet is thrown.

***

Sadly, I write this feature in an evening where I no longer have the usual 8:30pm slot etched in bold on my calendar. The 6pm slot was even more enjoyable, including the thrill of dashing home/nearest pub to watch the match and know the starting lineups. Euro 2012 quenched a tremendous thirst for footie in the month of June, otherwise it would have been overcrowded beaches or whatever it is people do in summer (which reminds me, I still haven't had enough BBQ's).

There will be no more Poland-Ukraine and no more Euro 2012 music. No more Respect promos (I quite liked this edition's advert). No more RAI commentators getting morbidly excited over a Pirlo through-ball. No more tactical analyses. No more beer throwing, no more flags on balconies (note to Italian fans: the green part should go on the left), no more football pools or predictors, no more activity on your favourite betting site (save for the horses races), no more Balotelli sixpacks and no more Spanish tiki-taka. Or Angela Merkel.

Expect a summer coloured by transfer market rumours, greedy agents flaunting their merchandise to bankrupt clubs, and a boring dessert of paparazzi and who's banging who.

The hell we care.

The faster the ball gets rolling again, the happier we are. For if we're divided by sympathies and logic, at least let's admit we all love the sport in different ways, for different reasons.

And of course, since like all common mortals I have to wrap my tongue around the fat bums in the top floor, I thank MaltaToday for giving me this opportunity (Ed's note: It's been real) It's a mistake which will haunt Mediatoday Ltd until at least Brazil 2014.

I look forward to the next series.

Wayne Flask blogs on www.wayneflask.com

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