Good grief! Holland loses
SUNDAY, July 11 – Eamonn called right after the last whistle, to share his disappointment with us. In fact, he was hopping mad. ‘Well, son, now you know what I went through twice as a child.’ Losing a World Cup final.
Strangely enough, my memories of the 1974 game are stronger than those of 1978. I was nine when we lost to West Germany and I can still see each and every goal in detail. Neeskens. Breitner. Müller. Four years later my recollections of the World Cup, then in and against Argentina, were bound up with my father, who had died several months before. I could not accept the fact that he was unable to experience that game which was also the final.
The impact of my father’s death – the definitive irreversibility of the snuffing out of a life – was painfully reflected in his empty chair in the living room. In the same ridiculous logic, I could accept the fact that Holland lost that night – stupid Rensenbrink! Hitting the post in overtime! – because it meant that my father hadn’t actually missed anything.
Neither had Jennifer, I concluded this evening when after the Spanish goal Eamonn called shortly afterwards, highly indignant, but still he reasoned that Holland would have another chance in four years’ time. That sounded like a good plan to me. This kid will always make out okay. Life isn’t a bed of roses, but intuitively he takes a pragmatic approach.