By a stroke of luck I have seen it! And by ‘that’ I mean the first fifteen minutes of this game—rampant, explosive, suggestive of choral and sculptured footballing beauty. (Ah, if only the powerful iambic motor here in display could be grafted to the American MLS and revive its form into sensuous propelling. . .) I decided to stop and watch for Scotland’s upland pastures, and then blonde strikers curled into headers like existential cowboys or seahorses; a “unicursal bicircular quartic,” as Nabokov would say.
And I seem to have fallen under the spell of misleading euphony. Can the stakes ever be higher than when you’re avoiding relegation and shame, trying to catch the team above you in the league? Can it ever be that what was supposed to play as a memento mori turn out with the sounding profile of Mozart’s glockenspiel? The tactical profile was a traditional, rugged 4—4—2 fighting another one of its kind, this one with a midfield diamond. The effect was that of the Hibernian side with no keyhole, no breadth to speak of, other than an amazing propulsion toward goal; it was as though members of a family came home for dinners to amuse themselves with a strange toy (the hat-trick), while the adversary, an eccentric clergyman, lost time rummaging among piles of dusty books in the basement. What would happen to the game if it branched off into other rules? (Take, for instance, the recent disintegration of defensive mechanism of the Wolves, which makes them look on the pitch like a rugby collective.) Is this a scenic route or a dim iridescence? For sure, this match was not an encounter for the time-watch, but a meeting for the candlestick—thundering and flashing through a bright-brown night, and the seahorse-strikers jumping off and rifling volley after volley. ♦