Thursday, August 11, 2011

Forever Part of Jackie's Army

For the past two months I've been getting cravings for McDonald's. I've never been a big MickyD's eater so it was really not big deal to stop eating it altogether almost five years ago. Since then I've had it once (because it was that or a 15euro eggs, toast, and bacon at Schiphol Airport at 8:00am). I've occasionally lamented the lack of their no-nutritional-value-probably-laced-with-cocaine fries but then I cut up a potato to make oven fries and I'm just as happy.

Plus, if I eat at McD's too often, Mac tells me I'll remain a fat chicken forever.

This most recent craving, however, kept coming back. About once a week I'd find myself saying "but you'll like the dinner I made for you once you eat it" and like a resigned child, my craving would huff off into a corner until it was ready for the next round. Last night, I finally caved.

That's pretty much how I ate the fries.

I walked to the Raunchy Ronnie's closest to my apartment and ordered a meal. I sat down to eat it, realizing that the burger was so dripping with fat/oil/teenagelinecooksnot/grease that my fingers almost became translucent. Ugh. But I had ordered it and, I have to admit, it tasted good going down. It wasn't the most satisfying meal but it shut up my craving so I'll take it.

Actually, I think my burger had even more grease.

About 20 minutes after I got home my stomach felt awful. I still pretty much felt like ass this morning. Thank you, Golden Armpits, for reminding me why I was never really that big of a fan in the first place. And now I have a blog post for the next time I have a craving and the passage of time leads me to think how bad could one meal there be?
Note to readers: Guess who suddenly realised she can make
her own screen caps when she watches movies on her laptop?

Over on Healthy Tipping Point today, Caitlin asked another round of 10 personal questions. The last question was about your three happiest moments. One of my moments was when Ireland beat Romania in 1990. The funny thing is that I almost didn't include it as a memory because I didn't think a sporting memory from when I was 10 should really be one of my happiest moments. But you know what? It is.

I wrote about the game on its 20th anniversary but I know I've picked up a few new readers since then so while you can find the full post here, I'm reposting a shortened version of it on here. I will fully admit that just reading the post again made me cry.
Italia '90 is the first World Cup I really remember watching. I have vague memories of a World Cup party prior to that, but I couldn't tell you who was playing or what the score was. Italia '90 was so burned in my memory partly because I was 10 and finally able to actually follow sports and partly because it was Ireland's first time at the World Cup. As I have mentioned before, my dad is an Irish immigrant. As much as I love Canada, when it comes to soccer (and rugby), Ireland is my team. Italia '90 made sure of that.
...Ireland made it past the Round Robin stage. They were slated to play against Romania, at that time a dominant force in the soccer world (not so much now) and the general agreement was that 'the boys in green' had had a good run but it would be coming to an end.
My dad had invited a few friends around to watch and to follow it up with a BBQ.[...] It was a tense game, Romania attacking aggressively and Ireland building a defensive wall which rivaled the Berlin wall. Despite Romania's best efforts, not a single shot made it into the net and the teams were forced into extra time. [...] After extra time did nothing to change the result, a penalty shoot-out was inevitable.
Romania was up first. [...] The players would walk from the centre circle were they had to stay between kicks, place the ball where they wanted, and then score. [...] The score stood at 4-4 as Packie Bonner, Ireland's goalie, took his place on the goal line. He dropped his head and said a prayer (I know because he crossed himself when he was done) as Daniel Timofte strode up to the ball and got ready.
... Packie guessed right on that last ball and he stopped it. My dad let out a loud yelp of joy as he jumped out of his seat. I remember being on my knees, not fully believing what I was seeing. I was waiting for the referee to call back the penalty shot for some unknown reason, to give Daniel Timofte another crack at it. Thankfully, my imagined doom was just that, imagined.
As David O'Leary walked up the field towards the goal, I got to my feet never once taking my eyes off the screen. This was it. This was our moment. [...] He ran on the ball and kicked it straight into the back of the net. A cheer erupted from our living room, and in the moment of celebration, my dad took his full glass of red wine and threw it at our freshly-painted white wall. There was jumping, screaming, hugging, singing, dancing, yelling, laughing, and a couple of toasts. Ireland had done the impossible. They were going to the quarter-finals.
June 25, 1990 was the day I became a soccer fan. I had played soccer and I enjoyed soccer, but I had never loved soccer like I did that day and have since. I watched Ireland lose the next game to the host team, Italy. I watched in USA '94 as Ireland lost to Holland in the Round of 16 and as Roberto Baggio (Italy) placed a penalty kick so high above the cross bar I wondered if he needed glasses. I watched the final of France '98 while having lunch with my mom when France beat Brazil. Ireland had failed to qualify so I was cheering for the host country (this, of course, was prior to the Handball Henry debacle which will now ensure I hate France for the rest of my natural life). I watched Manchester United win the Treble on the world's tiniest TV while befriending the front door staff at a hostel in Paris. I watched Thun almost hold Arsenal to a tie in a pub in Thun. I hosted a pancake breakfast for the final game of Germany '06 and felt my jaw drop as Zinedine Zidane did the unthinkable to Marco Materazzi. All these memories in my life, all these important moments, tied into the beautiful game all because Ireland beat Romania in penalty kicks. What would have happened if they had lost?

I have come to believe that there will never be a sport moment in my life as sweet as Ireland's win over Romania. Soccer, hockey, rugby, there will be no game, no matter how important, that will stay with me the way that game did. Twenty years later, I watch a video about it and I tear up with pride at that moment. I talk about Italia '90 the way older Canadians talk about the '72 series. I reference that game like it was somehow pinnacle to the entire game of soccer and not just the island nation of Ireland. My children will know how important that game was, and likely my grandchild will too, because it really was that important.


Katie @ cooklaughmove said...

UGH! Once in a while I crave McDonald's too and I always feel like trash in the morning!!

AndreaClaire said...

It's a vicious cycle!