The Groundsman’s Shed

John Terry’s Long Fall by groundsman
May 21, 2008, 7:50 pm
Filed under: Champions League, Chelsea, John Terry

In the dying moments of tonight’s Champions League final, I began to feel something I’ve never experienced.  It was a bizarre sensation, beginning in the pit of my stomach, and according to my coworkers- registering in my facial expression.

I felt sorry for John Terry.

Before smartass commenters come through reminding us all that he’s on between 131,000 and 135,000 pounds a week, he plays a sport for a living, and gets to have the summer off- I know, I know.  I’m with you.

But he’s also a professional athlete, captain of his club team, and briefly- captained his country.   Striding forward to take the penalty tonight, the look on his face was one of unquestionable authority.  I leaned back in my chair and folded my arms, already somewhat happy for Chelsea’s silverware (as a true neutral, going into this match I was just one step above the “if only they could both lose” mentality), and writing leads in my mind to sum up the match.  The storyline of Chelsea’s John Terry, their Captain Fantastic, who’d battled back from an injury just 10 days before, had an excellent performance throughout regular time, only to come through in the end for his team.  The most incredible thing? He wasn’t even supposed to BE the 5th penalty taker.  That spot was for Didier Drogba. 

However, there can’t always be happy endings.  The miss was slo-mo devastation.  It wasn’t as if he had been beaten by superb goalkeeping.   It wasn’t as if he were just off target.  He lost his footing, slipped, and fell. 

Watching him cry bitterly into Avram Grant’s shoulder may have been immensely satisfying for United fans and some neutrals alike- but that’s when my cynicism faded, and he looked like an athlete again.  I’ve lost on the field, you’ve lost on the field, and Chelsea will lose again.  Yes, where there are winners, there will also be losers– and sometimes, it’s hard to remember how much players have to lose for themselves. 

When Terry fell, it was a long way down to the ground for a man who looked as if he were already on top of the world.  That’s how quickly it can all happen.

Upside:  He’ll be over it soon, and in a few months Chelsea fans, you will too.  Care to re-live the tension? Watch the penalty kicks all over again, here.

To lighten the mood: One of my favorite radio personalities is BACK BACK BACK!! Danny Baker is returning to BBC’s 6-0-6


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