I desperately need Chelsea to win the Champions League
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JOHANNESBURG - I desperately need Chelsea to win the Uefa Champions League tomorrow night.
I make no bones about it - I am a Blues man, so much so that for many a year a Chelsea flag bought from Stamford Bridge hung as the main centrepiece in my kitchen, much to the chagrin of friends and family. But my need for the Blues to beat newly-crowned English champions Manchester City goes deeper than the innate bias I possess for the club. It has been one helluva year. The mental fatigue and the emotional strain that has been presented this past 12 months due to the Covid-19 pandemic has overwhelmed many, myself included. I admit, I have been very fortunate during all of it - I still have the opportunity to work in the field that I love, and have been able to provide for my loved ones and fellows, and my family and friends have remained in relatively good health, despite Covid-19 having had a tangible impact on our lives last year. I have much to be grateful for.
But, I still need an euphoric release, the joy of winning and being a part of something that is greater, bigger than myself, a return to normality in what is now an altered reality. For many, sport has played that role, and continues to do so. Watching our sporting heroes achieve the impossible and strive for greatness lifts the spirits, creates community and a sense of belonging. I think we have all missed that touch of emotion, that spirit of togetherness that only a society can give.
This shared experience is what I now crave the most during this pandemic. And it doesn't matter if it is in victory or defeat - although unabashedly triumph is always the preferred option. Much like how we marvelled at Phil Mickelson's recent major triumph, or the agony that Man United fans experienced after a dramatic Europa League final defeat on Wednesday night, there must be a moment to cheer, to rage, to weep, and to celebrate, an opportunity to forget the crushing realities of our current condition where we need not concern ourselves to much with the state of the nation, the world, vaccine rollouts and commissions of enquiry.
Supporting a nation, team or club in a major final is a respite from the world's problems right now, while winning it, a euphoric gift. It might be that these words will be interpreted as an exaggeration, as levelling credit on an aspect of life that in the bigger picture means very little, but I will never forget the joy the day the Springboks won the 2019 World Cup, and the positivity we all felt afterwards, nor the tears shed at losing three Super Rugby finals as a Lions fan, or the post-match celebrations at Giles after Chelsea beat Bayern Munich in the 2012 Champions League final.
Right now I need that hit.
Yes, I desperately need Chelsea to win the Uefa Champions League final.