Soccer and the meaning of life

Stoke City just scored a goal.

I know because, despite being several rooms away, I can hear MrWI64’s excited roar of ‘Yes! Yes! Yes!’ His fist will be pumping the air and he will be awash in excited emotion.

Bolton Wanderers v Stoke City

What with it feeling like the End of Days with hurricanes chewing up the south and wild fires the west, moments like this are welcome.

For those of you – I’m guessing, most – unfamiliar with Stoke City, it is the premier league soccer team of the middle England town from which Mr WI64 hailed decades ago. Time and distance are no obstacles to fan-dom and on cool winter days when I’m protecting the heating bill, he will deck out in his Stoke City scarf and hat to view a match on TV.

A few years ago, a partner and I had a government writing project on the topic of preparing advance care plans for end-of-life or catastrophic health events. (Stick with me here, this is more interesting than it sounds).

Part of this involved writing a guide to the how’s and why’s of preparing advance care plans. To give it relevance and colour we included scenarios – e.g., at 53, Mary had a massive stroke that left her noncommunicative and her young adult daughters were asked to make life-defining decisions. You get the drift.

I was pretty sure I knew how we’d respond at our house, so over dinner one mid-project night, I made Mr WI64 my one-person focus group.

Me: So, if you were to have a devastating health incident, what would you want to happen?

Him, skeptical: Meaning….?

Me: If you were to have, say, a massive stroke or heart attack, and were unable to communicate, what would you like to happen?
(I’ve known this man a long time. He lives large and I’m pretty confident I could fill in the blanks to this question for him.)

Him, eyebrows raised: What do you want me to say?

Me, wishing he’d make this easier and just give the answer I’m expecting: Well, if life-supporting measures were required, would you want them? Like, say, a feeding tube, or equipment to help you breathe?

Him: Would I be able to watch Stoke City?

Me: What!?

Him: I think if I’m able to enjoy watching Stoke City, that’s a pretty good baseline.

Five years have passed since I put that question to him.

Has is outlook changed? I asked this week.

The answer: Stoke City.

Which, I hear, just scored again.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Pat Ardley says:



  2. Jayne Beason says:

    I like it! Let’s hope Stoke keeps winning ( or at least scoring)!


  3. paziraj says:

    This is amazing! 100% agree with Manchester United. Soccer=Life!!


    1. Gery Lemon says:

      Thank you. Those Stoke goals were scored on ManU Saturday.


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