There's Only One Steven Gerrard
I did not want to get up at 7 a.m. today. I'd spent Friday with a sore throat and fever, packing and cleaning the house in the first SoCal heat wave of the year. My bright idea to combat both afflictions was to drink a lot of cool, refreshing Vitamin C in the form of grapefruit juice. As the day went on, I increasingly added increasing amounts of vodka to said grapefruit juice, which resulted in me passing out on the couch circa 1 a.m.
Why would you get up at 7 then you moron, you ask? Why, the FA Cup Final, of course. I'd paid $24.95 for the privilege and my favorite side Liverpool was taking on West Ham. Still, I missed the first 12 minutes as I debated waiting for the replay hours later, my head in that classic state of feeling as if it will explode out of my skull at any moment. But get up I did.
Man, oh man. A classic. The Reds came back from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits to force penalties (A Liverpool Final finishing 3-3 after extra time? Featuring combacks and an unbelievable save in extra time? Where have I seen that before?). Jose "Pepe" Reina, the Liverpool 'keeper, was staring the Goat role right in the face, spilling an easy chance for the Hammers' second and being slow to react to a shot-cross on their third. He was given a reprieve by Reds captain Steven Gerrard who equalised in injury time with a strike that is already legend. Thirty metres (say the news reports; I'd put it closer to 35) from paydirt, Gerrard's second on the day was a first-time cracker that gave Shaka Hislop no chance. A simply stunning hit. Worth 5 times the price of the pay-per-view. And my hangover had abated long enough for me to go absolutely nuts.
So Reina gets a crucial touch late in extra time, pushing a Reo Coker header onto the woodwork and the tie goes to penalties, where Pepe saves three of the West Ham attempts. Hamman, Riise and Gerrard (natch) convert for the Reds and...
AJ had waken up with about 15 minutes left and perhaps sensed my discomfort with the scoreline. He joined me in a rousing rendition of "Liiiiiiiiiverpool, LIIIIIIIIIIIIIverpool" and looked on amused as I celebrated Gerrard's wonder goal, even chiming in with a "Golaso!" or two. Later, with the Cup won, he looked at me and said, "Daddy, I sure am glad Liverpool made you happy."
Can you hug a child too hard?
I didn't feel remotely right for many hours later. I packed, napped, drank four quarts of water and popped Excedrin like Sweet Tarts. But I TiVo'd the game and I'm watching it again right now. With a little hair of the dog (Sierra Nevada Pale Ale) in me, I'm feeling a little giddy. And I have a feeling things are gonna get crazy when injury time rolls around again.
See for yourself.