Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Curse of the Broken Metatarsal (Amongst Other Things)

For those footy aficionados who may have been asleep over the weekend, Wayne Rooney has broken his foot. No, you have not been asleep since 2005. It happened again.

I was watching the game live, and the moment I saw Rooney hunched over on the pitch nursing his foot, I just knew. It's one of those things that you just know will haunt someone for the rest of their career. Like Ken Griffey Jr. and his hamstrings. Or Mark Prior with his various arm injuries. Or Jeff Weaver with his suckitude. A certain medical je ne sais quoi, if you will.

Now, I will also admit I had a wry smile on my face as I'm a fervent flag waver of Liverpool FC. Back in the early days, when I was highly impressionable, the passion and vigor emanating from the Kop and Steven Gerrard's armband drew me in like Lindsay Lohan hanging out with Robert Downey Jr. At some point, it's just stupid not to give in and let it happen. And of course, who could not love a team marching to the anthem "You'll Never Walk Alone." The history and the numerous championships didn't hurt either, although had I been a bit younger that 1983 win against my beloved Roma at the Stadio Olimpcio may have tinged my heart otherwise. So, in light of all this, and Manchester United - the Roonster's squad - being Liverpool's arch nemesis, the immediate thought of seeing his ugly mug on the sidelines was a tad comforting. Of course comforting in the "from a human standpoint I feel bad for you, but you're still a wanker so I'm not all that upset about it." And yes, writing for the offside has really expanded my vocabulary in ways I'd never imagined - nor desired. The fact that I drop "bollocks" as if I was born Merseyside is a bit disturbing; combined with the fact that I write for an Italian team and sometimes I just don't know what to do with myself. So, uh, vaffanculo - for good measure.

Back to the Roonster. Obviously on a certain unbiased level (didn't know I had one, did you?) it's a shame to see a player of his natural talent and stature go down early and often to a recurring injury; but it's bound to happen. In the physical nature that is professional sports, some of these gems will inevitably come out a little rough and imperfect, a bit fragile. Even someone who had the media (prematurely) fanning the white smoke as the arrival of the new Pele at Euro 2004.

The kid's only out two months, and he's still at an age when most players are considered "prospects" or languishing in the reserves. But at some point, this is bound to have a significant effect on Wayne's career - whether it be physical or psychological. If I were a betting man, I'd go with the physical, as the Roonster doesn't appear to be MENSA material to say the least; and as we all know, "ignorance is bliss." If he's a step slower or a touch weaker nobody will know yet. He'll undoubtedly put the book deals on hold and throw himself into rehab 100%, but it won't be enough. This is just one of those things that will dog his career to the very end, and it will always be in the back of his mind somewhere. And mark my words, it will happen again.

I have my theories as to why this is happening, the first is karma for visiting concubines from the biblical era dressed up like Ms. Kitty. All while signing autographs in the waiting room of a brothel. Then a year later calling it a "youthful indiscretion." Another is the boy obviously spends too much time drinking pints and not enough time drinking milk. In the end I'm going to go with it's punishment from the gods above for being so damn ugly and forcing us to see his mug in advertisements and commercials all the time. If you're going to be that talented and have that much commercial appeal, please be somewhat tolerable from a looks standpoint. Or at least not British (I kid).