Like Chalk Marks on a Prison Cell Wall – Jeff Cutler

Have you ever been removed from a situation for so long that it took some effort to get back into the game? You know where I’m going with this, but here is an example.

Imagine a 17-year-old kid who got her license less than six months prior to a trip abroad. Then, for a period as long as she’s been licensed, she drives on the opposite side of the road. Wouldn’t it take some time for that driver to relearn driving at home when she returned?

She struggles. She’s anxious. She becomes paranoid. She’s increasingly irritable. She alienates friends and family. She writes random genius columns for the local futbol rag. She files for unemployment. She watches Bung-duh-Lisa (new futbol fans don’t know how to spell Bundesliga) to pass the time. And she is a fictional character that is entirely based on ME.

That’s right, I’m freaked out. Are they really coming back? Is it just a week away? As I count the days, I realize that 93 is the magic number. On the 93rd day, Liverpool will play again. That’s right, March 13 to June 21 = 93 days. Gah!

And what did I do to pass the time? I’m no achiever, so I can’t say I finished a book, sculpted my body, learned some languages or did much to further mankind. But I did put the tale of the tape to my three months without Liverpool and here’s the tally.

*These figures are projections, but since we’re three days from match day, I believe they’re pretty accurate.

Remember, this is over 93 full days…revisit this when you look at the fitness pursuits.

Beer = 34

Cider = 71

Baileys = 10

Other = 10

Movies watched = 4

TV episodes watched = 286

Podcasts listened to = 2 (second one just today – listen after this, 38 minutes of smiles)

Videos watched = 603

Books read = .31

Musical instruments learned = .16 (banjo)

Languages learned = I may have lost a little of my English proficiency

Steps = 26,923 (average rec. for humans is 10k per day…you do the math)

Balls kicked = 3

Goals = 1 (but what a cracker!)

Push-ups = 11

Planks = 4 (60-seconds each)

Miles driven = 1388 (driving in the convertible relieves stress)

Cars parked on street
My MINI Cooper and a MINI MINI MINI Cooper

McDonald’s burgers = 79

Soft-serve = 6 (one in a cone from a true ice cream stand)

Man in baseball cap eating ice cream
Ice cream cone from JCs, the softserve shack with my initials!

Veal = 2

Steak = 5

Mac & Cheese = 13

Chicken = 24

Other/canned = 39

Twinkies = 19

Bangers = 36

White pudding = 5 rolls

Eggs = 213

Irish breakfast on a white plate
#MYPLMorning breakfast at Phoenix Landing in Cambridge, MA. A match-day standard, the Cork Breakfast.

Loaves of bread = 11

Bacon strips = 61

Butter sticks = 41.4

And while I am admittedly an out-of-shape, out-of-work sluggo, I did these things…

Virtual parties = 5 (one of which was my wife’s bachelorette…err, birthday party)

Two people in front of a field of sheep in Ireland
Ireland field with sheep and my wife…oh, and me.

Actual Firepit = 2

Virtual Firepit = 3

Books written = .4 (starting chapter 7 of 14)

Domains purchased = 3 (current domain count is 81)

Websites created = 2

Blog posts written = 2

Articles written = 3 (counting this one)

Software mastered = .8 Lightroom; .7 Premiere Pro; .4 Photoshop; 100% Draftkings

Shoes purchased = 2

Lottery tickets = 94

Winning lottery tickets = 7

Online orders = 5

Online orders that have arrived = 3

The one thing I didn’t do over this period was focus on soccer. And that’s a bad thing because the questions I had as a noob have resurfaced. I have questions that need to be answered in the next few days. It’s like cramming for a test and I need your help.

Share your thoughts in the comments or send them to me on Twitter  – here are my questions about this beautiful game…

Seriously, why does it seem that every player, coach and official is afraid of having their lips read?

Will this lip-reading paranoia go away with no fans…or is it driven by TV audience and media?

Is the VAR experiment over? Maybe this could be the topic of an entire column, but with distancing, won’t it be much clearer to line judges where people are?

Does the Man City ruling and subsequent punishment get pushed out by the amount of time we’ve been halted? As I understand it, the punishment is money and time…but not MATCHES. So if the punishment doesn’t get handed down until after the start of 20/21, do we say buh-bye until 2023?

Is there really a chip in the ball?

If not, why isn’t there a chip in the ball?

Speaking of which, I am of the opinion I should get to keep the ball if it is smashed at me in the stands. Why do people laugh when I say this?

What’s best for outcome and luck…same kit every match; kit matching the match-day kit; whatever is clean and fits; whatever makes me look brilliant?

Is it ever OK to put your own name and a player’s number on the kit you wear to the pub?

How does the EPL feel about marijuana?

Do people collect soccer balls like they collect other gear?

Why isn’t diving called more – is everyone really experiencing a gyroscopic-shattering force when a toe is dipped across their shin?

Will everyone sing along at home if games are turned into live streams?

And my biggest question of all, how will I toast kickoff this weekend?

Selfie of a man in Liverpool kit at a bar
Here I am at the pub getting ready for a match.

I’m inclined to think eggs numbers 214 and 215, bangers 37-42, beer 35, and two tear-filled eyes of joy will be how I start Liverpool’s EPL season again this year.

How about you?