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Clear & Obvious: Let’s not talk about soccer

Just for a second anyway.

MLS: Columbus Crew SC at Atlanta United FC Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s not talk about soccer. Well, I mean, we might talk kind of about soccer. Soccer adjacent.

Soccer never ends. It’s the best part about it honestly. Every weekend of the year, there is meaningful soccer abroad or in MLS. Every week. But it’s also draining. So. Got damn. Draining.

Especially after the last couple of weeks in Atlanta. A couple of Bad losses. Very online fans working overtime to show the internet how wrong they can be or to make what amounts to Facebook posts from you grandmother. People posting lengthy apologies for their actions in joining and inciting said wrongness/grandma posts. Staying invested is tough when the games, which have been Bad, are surrounded by...that.

So let’s not talk about soccer. Let’s talk about weddings. And death. And dinosaurs. And soccer.

One of my best friends got married last weekend. I didn’t even have to watch Atlanta get thrashed by one of the three worst teams in the league in their own stadium. Which was nice. I did check my phone a few times though. I am personally unclear as to whether that happened because I cared or simply needed an excuse to avert my eyes from White People Dancing (™). I guess it also distracted me from the Everything about the wedding. And by the Everything, I mean, a furious collision of thoughts and feelings that will only happen this time and this time only in my life.

Wedding emotions, ranked:

  1. Immense joy
  2. Terrible sadness
  3. H O R N Y
  4. Deep fear of a future coming all too quickly
  5. A happiness that can only come from seeing a relationship from, literally, its first moment to its biggest moment
  6. Death is coming
  7. Deep loathing of white people and their dances
  8. The inability to ignore my own whiteness/need for distraction and therefore the need to be a part of and somewhat proficient execution of said dances despite emotion #7
  9. Pride in paying $7 for a suit jacket from Goodwill that looked pretty ok and allowed me to not have to buy a new suit which in turn meant I could afford food for the rest of the month
  10. Horny?
  11. Cavernous loneliness
  13. Jealousy.
  14. Goldblum
  15. Embarrassment
  16. ……...Turquoise? Yeah. Turquoise.

About three of those 16 were unique to this single moment. I had never felt Goldblum before and may not again. Goldblum occurs when you’re surrounded by dinosaur statues and have an innate desire, because of said statues, to pontificate that life, does indeed, find a way. To clarify, the wedding happened at a natural history museum. Did the entire wedding party walk in to a slowed piano version of John Williams’ Jurassic Park score? Yes. And there was extreme beauty in it.

The vows were also gorgeous. They’re both writers. They also happened to hilariously pick the same exact anecdote to lead with. Most of us cried. Or held something back. This is where emotions both one (Immense joy) and two (Terrible sadness) come in. I probably should have included a mixture of the two in the list but I have no idea how to describe it. There’s probably a German word for it.

Emotion one’s existence seems clear and is perhaps redundant due to the existence of emotion five. It seemed important to include both.

The second emotion is relative. I certainly felt it. But it’s selfish to mention. A complaint about a thorn to someone speared in the side.

In the summer, the groom’s little sister died. An accident. The worst moment of his life as the best sat on the horizon.

So during the bride’s father-daughter dance, as the DJ yelled “all the fathers and daughters get on the floor,” I thought three things:

  1. You fucking idiot.
  2. I guess there’s no way he could have known.
  3. Where’s Drew?

I saw his Dad first. Walking away quickly. His mom followed. Then him.

He stayed back as his parents walked away. All I could do was hug him and tell him I loved him. Being powerless comes in different shapes and sizes.

Me and Drew met at the college newspaper. He tells me to this day he thought I didn’t like him. I think my terror that someone would realize I had no idea what I was doing came across as coy. I have absolutely no idea how it came up, but somehow on that first night, soccer came up. Atlanta United didn’t exist yet. But for some reason, soccer came up and we discovered a mutual love for Liverpool Football Club. We commiserated about The Slip. Talked about Brendan Rodgers’ exceptional efforts to be the most Brendan Rodgers he could be at all times. Debated over Jordan Henderson. And had every other conversation Liverpool fans were having that year. Amazingly, we had this conversation as he unknowingly sat in the same room with the woman he was going to marry.

Four years on, the three of us watched Liverpool win the Champions League together and we cried for the sake of joy. One week later, his sister died.

On the morning of the wedding, we were both awake at 7:00 a.m. I had stayed at his house after the rehearsal dinner and somehow, through the hangover and the pre-wedding nerves, we were awake. We had to be. Liverpool played Newcastle at 7:30.

That night, while something horrific like the Electric Slide blared over the speakers, he came over to ask the score of the Atlanta United game. They were losing. He smiled and said, “Hey man, it’s been a good day. Three out of four!” Liverpool, UGA and the Braves had all won. I laughed. “Man, I don’t care. You got married today.”

And I didn’t care. Not in that moment.

The bride and groom left shortly after. The rest of the wedding party made our way to Decatur. And after leaving the patio at the bar for a quick journey to the world’s smallest Kroger so my friend could buy cigarettes and I could buy oatmeal creme pies for the room, we returned and I found myself on the outside edge of the conversation. That’s a good time to think. Whether you want to or not.

My friend was married now. He had a house. He’s the first of us to get married and MORE is coming. More weddings. More houses. More kids. More funerals. More long nights on the bar patio. More Everything. We’re going to have more nights where we feel Everything. Growing up isn’t a linear ride from emotion to emotion. It’s a 16-way wreck of things that make sense and never will happening at the same time. And as I wondered if that meant I was allowed to be terrified and excited about that, I pulled out my phone to see when Liverpool played next and thanked God for a constant.