Friday, 13 May 2011

One of the great fears of living in the darkness is that one day you will be forced to emerge, blinking, into the sunlight. And then what will become of the darkness dweller? Will he adapt? Become a brighter, sunnier person? After that, who knows? Is the suffering victim really just the bully waiting to happen?

All of this weighs heavily on See A Darkness’s mind these days, for it appears a significant moment may be approaching. This weekend, Manchester City, SAD´s first true love (a passion only slightly diminished by said first love’s shacking up with a filthy rich Arab chap), take on Stoke City in the FA Cup final. If City win, it will be their first trophy in 34 years. 

The boulder rolled slowly away from the entrance to the cave, and SAD stepped into the light....

Much more importantly, on Sunday Santa Cruz will play Sport in the second leg of the Campeonato Pernambuco final in Recife. That there will be more people at Wembley than Arruda is you suspect due to the fact that Wembley is a bit bigger than the Estadio José Do Rego Maciel. If Santa win, it will be their first state championship triumph in six years, and will represent a huge economic and motivational lift for a club currently dying a slow, agonising death in Serie D.

After years in captivity, the beefy gaoler opened the cell door and removed the blindfold from the prisoner’s eyes...

And to pour some cosmic salt into the petrol tank, on Sunday it is also SAD’s birthday!

The weightiness of all this is almost too much to bear. All week the radio and the TV and the papers blare out news of the game. Bala´s in! Bala´s out! The referee and linesmen will be flown in from outside Pernambuco! Teti will play instead of Mario Lucio in the Santa midfield! Léo will play instead of Mario Lucio in the Santa midfield! Natan will play instead of Mario Lucio in the Santa midfield! Gilberto was spotted in the club shop today! Santa coach Zé Teodoro says he likes chips! Sport coach Helio Dos Anjos says he loves his mum! There are queues a mile long outside Arruda! 26,000 Santa Cruz tickets sold on the first day, 45,000 by Thursday night, only 5,000 left! Hurry, hurry!

Worse still is the terrible feeling of dread, anticipation’s ugly sister. Santa should win. They won the first leg 2-0. They have beaten Sport by the same score on two other occasions this season. Far from the team of hod-carriers the media like to present them as, Santa have a better team than Sport – Thiago Cardoso is the better of the two goalkeepers (this year anyway), Leandro Souza the best centre half in the two squads, Wesley and Renatinho the most dangerous midfielders, Gilberto the best striker. Santa are at home, and there will be 40,000 tricolores in the stadium (45,000 if the police can be persuaded to authorise another 5,000 tickets) against 10,000 rubro-negros. Zé Teodoro has not put a foot wrong all year, cannily identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the both his own and the opposition players, and setting his team accordingly.

Nothing can go wrong.

The day will be one of those great days that don’t come all that often in a lifetime. Birthday champagne and strawberries (or cerveja, Skol and arrumadinho) at the Mercado Boa Vista from 11am onwards (all are welcome), a taxi hop, skip and jump up to Arruda around 13.30, and another hour or so of atmosphere soaking before the brawl to enter the stadium begins. The locale of the post match celebration is as yet undecided.

Everything can go wrong. Everything will go wrong.

SAD knows it. He has a vision – silent, agonised howling from the Santa end, mouths  open in horror. Sport players wheeling away in celebration after a late, decisive, goal. An explosion of sound and fury from the enemy end of the stadium. A night of hiding under the bed, listening to car horns blaring out the Sport anthem, and of fireworks, and the worst kind of revelry, which is the revelry of others...

Perhaps it will be better that way. Then SAD can continue to write his little blogs, and continue to see himself reflected in the toil and struggle of Santa Cruz Futebol Clube. Because if City won, and Santa won, then what would become of SAD?

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