Arsenal vs Bayern Munich: Are We Having Fun Yet?

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (right) during the Emirates FA Cup, Fifth Round match at Gander Green Lane, London. (Photo by Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images)
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (right) during the Emirates FA Cup, Fifth Round match at Gander Green Lane, London. (Photo by Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images) /

Arsenal got destroyed by Bayern Munich – again – and that is hardly a fun thing. But is everyone just looking at it wrong? Let’s find the fun in it!

I get it. Arsenal was utterly blown out. But this site is call FanSided — emphasis on FAN. No matter how seriously we take the game, no matter how much angst and disappointment we suffer, the main point of being a fan is to have FUN.

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Sometimes it’s easy. Often it is hard. Today, it was easy for me. Before you laugh or chide, hear me out.

That first half was rocking good fun — fast-paced football by two highly skilled squads. Arsenal played with passion. They hustled on defense, broke with pace, flashed creativity on the attack, and created chance after chance.

All the while, especially after Theo Walcott scored, I held onto the faint hope that this could be the day for a miracle. Ridiculous? Yes, mostly. Impossible? No. So I indulged myself, letting hope linger in the background.

If you couldn’t enjoy those first 45 minutes, maybe you need a new hobby. Or, better, an attitude adjustment. That is the key. We talk endlessly (mostly derisively) about the attitudes of players and managers, even owners.

But what about us? We call Arsenal our club, claim to be part of it. True enough. We buy tickets and pay for TV coverage. But our main investment is time and emotion.

The crucial question: what will we do with our invested time and emotions? On a day like today, down 5-1 before the first whistle blows, it’s easy to take the well-worn path of least resistance and look for reasons to moan and grumble.

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We almost delight in it, covertly pleased to see the sky falling, proving our predictions right. But there is another choice — and I do mean choice. It’s a decision. We can choose to take the road less traveled and look, not for things to bemoan, but things to enjoy.

I am older than most readers of this blog. Believe me, age does not guarantee wisdom. There are plenty of old fools, and I can be one. Nevertheless, after decades of being a diehard fan of five teams in five different professional sports, I have gained some perspective. And, I daresay, a measure of wisdom.

For years, I lived with every win, died with every loss. Anything less than a championship was a failure. I don’t deny it: riding the roller coaster, maximizing the thrill of every high and the misery of every low, holds a certain appeal, an almost drug-like allure.

Yes, I experienced much joy, but I spent far too much time being miserable. Frustrated, disappointed. Upset and angry. Critical. Again, I know there can be a kind of perverse pleasure in wallowing in the negativity, but there is a healthier, happier way.

Now I make a point of having fun. I still dislike losing, still love winning. But as I watch athletes play at the highest levels of sport, I choose to find things to appreciate and enjoy.

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We got smoked today. But I had 45 minutes of great fun. Did you?