Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Living the dream

I don't think my LittleBear is unique among five-year olds* in his desire to win at all times. He does, however, take the importance of winning to extreme levels. For instance, yesterday morning he was to be found sobbing into his Shreddies after it was revealed to him that Burnley had lost 4-0 to West Brom on Monday night. Truly, these are things of great import. His selection of teams that inspire this level of interest/distress is perverse, to say the least. Firstly, and dearest to all the Bears' hearts, is Burnley. Then comes Hull. Because there's a really big aquarium in Hull. Then Liverpool, though LittleBear can't quite remember why. Then Leicester, because they won the League last year, and LittleBear hasn't quite grasped that past performance is no guarantee of future returns. In addition, LittleBear quite likes West Ham because they play in the same colours as Burnley, and Chelsea because they keep winning and he's a glory hunter.

We have a couple of episodes of Match of the Day recorded, and LittleBear likes to watch and re-watch them, warning me in advance for example that Hazard will score first in Chelsea's 5-0 drubbing of Everton. Because he seems confident that I haven't been paying attention on the previous thirteen viewings. And he's right. I use Match of the Day as a good excuse to drink a cup of tea and read my book. And I can do a fairly convincing "oooh, really?" while doing so.

The next step from gazing, rapt, at highlights of real matches is obviously to not only re-enact them ourselves, but to act out matches with even better results.

So I present to you a match played between Burnley and Manchester United at Old Trafford**. Due to limited resources, both sides played reduced strength sides.

Tom Heaton, Andre Grey and Sam Vokes for Burnley
David De Gea, Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic for United

I think we can all agree that the resemblance to their flesh and blood counterparts is astonishing:


Manchester United

And I'm delighted to report that Burnley beat Manchester United 10-1.***

I'm not entirely sure that a life supporting Burnley is going to sit well with a desperate need to see his side win all the time. On the other hand, it's possible that following Burnley will help remove his expectation of victory and thus be a Good Thing overall.

* I think I failed to mention LittleBear's fifth birthday last week. We could now open a Lego shop.

** A note for my foreign readers. The sport in question is soccer, dear to the heart of many Englishmen, and particularly the one I married. Old Trafford is the home ground of Manchester United, until recently the dominant team in English football.

*** For the record, since 1968, Burnley have only beaten Manchester United once, and that was 1-0. LittleBear's imagination and aspirations are nothing if not impressive.

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