This Must Be the Place

Chris Wood, Tim Howard

Photograph: Rui Vieira/AP

Today was a big day.

Today was the day I watched my first Everton match as an Everton supporter. Got myself a hot cup of coffee and settled in…at 10 o’clock in the morning! This was already getting off to a good start. Much better than a World Series’ game, which starts at 10 o’clock at night. This 10am business- much more manageable. My dog Lucy wasn’t as keen about it as I was, but she got over it.

Everton was opening it’s 2014-15 campaign at Leicester City, a club playing their first Premier League match in a few years after being sent down to the minors for a minute or two. Everton in white, Leicester City in blue.

The match ended in a draw, thanks largely to Leicester City scoring a goal…an equalizer!…in the last ten minutes or so. This real brawler of a dude scored it. He’s a New Zealander and looks like a mean son of a gun. The match ending in a draw seemed like a victory for Leicester City and a defeat for Everton. Everton’s harboring some lofty goals of a title, Leicester looking to make a name for itself back at the grown up’s table.

But hey, it’s a long season.

No really. It ends in May. Spring. It’s August. May is like, several months away. Either way, a draw today isn’t the end of the world.

This being my first match, I would like to make note of the six things stuck out to me.

The first thing: It was so sunny. Like, the weather looked great. And this game was in England. And it wasn’t raining. In England! I had just assumed every game would be played in the rain. I guess I was wrong. My apologies England.

The second thing: Wonderful to see Tim Howard again. Also kind of strange. Beard looks great, though.

The third thing: Going in to this I just figured Howard would be my favorite player. This would be largely attributed to the fact that he was the only Everton player I knew. I’m also an American and I’m pretty sure that after watching Howard’s 16 save performance in the World Cup against Belgium, there isn’t an American out there who doesn’t root for him. Hell, the presence of Howard was a reason for me picking Everton! I’m most certainly Team Howard.

With that being said, I was mighty impressed with Steven Naismith. He looks like a tougher version of Michael Bradley. And he’s from Scotland, which I think is cool. He looks like a feisty little dude- tough and relentless. Looks like a fighter. Looks like my kind of dude.


Right now Tim Howard is my number one, but Steven Naismith is a close second.

The fourth thing: Upon becoming an Everton fan, I promptly started following Everton-related Twitter feeds- the feeds of Everton support groups mostly, ones both in England and here in the States. To be honest, a lot of times they might as well been tweeting in French. More often than not, I have no idea what they’re talking about. A couple weeks ago, all these feeds started talking about Everton signed someone named Lukaku. This was big and exciting news  by the sound of things. This was news that seemed to signal a change in direction & culture for Everton- which again, meant nothing to me because I still didn’t know what their previous direction & culture were. But the tweets include exclamation points! There were lots of positive adjectives being used. So…giddy up Lukaku. As a result of getting caught up in the Lukaku hullabaloo I even drafted the Belgium (I learned he was from Belgium today) striker in the Premier League fantasy league I joined. Lukasu ended up starting the game, played the whole damn thing, despite this fantasy website telling he was most likely going to be inactive due to “lack of conditioning.” But he played. And according to the dudes calling the game, Mr. Lukaku has problems holding onto the ball. He is essentially the Stevan Ridley of Everton- high risk, high reward. I suppose this is good and bad.

Hype now behind us, game time in front of us- Lukaku didn’t do squadooche in the game. Looks promising. Just not yet.

He’s no Steven Niasmith. I can tell you that much.

The fifth thing: The Everton squad was dragging ass at the end of the match, playing the last 15 minutes with the quickness of a door stop. First game of the season- dudes aren’t quite in game shape yet. I guess that’s the reason. Not going to get too worked up about this- as I watch the game from my couch, half awake.

The sixth thing: TV cameras panning into the crowd is a wild experience and I think I was able to learn several new ways of using the phrase effin’ asshole. Colorful language up in that piece! Camera don’t care. Camera just keep on shootin’. BPL matches- rated PG. Crowd shots rated R.

Back at ’em next week, boys.

Categories: Sports

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