The Run of Play is a blog about
the wonder and terror of soccer.

We left the window open during a match in October 2007 and a strange wind blew into the room.

Now we walk the forgotten byways of football with a lonely tread, searching for the beautiful, the bewildering, the haunting, and the absurd.

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An Email from Vandal-prone

People keep asking me what happened to him. Read on, people.


Look, I know what you said, but come on, I put everything into this. You can’t kick me off the site. I’m sorry I ruined Moscow, but I am asking for another chance. I shouldn’t say this, but then it’s not like I’ve been just Captain Picard vigilant when it comes to holding on to my dignity lately, so…please know that I am seven kinds of deconstructed right now and you have got to believe I need this.

I know you’re probably thinking, “Why should I feel any sympathy for you when you broke up with her?” Yeah, fine, I did. I mean, the first couple of days were great. I felt like the kind of person who could appreciate the soprano saxophone—just satin wherever I went. But after a while there’s not really that much to do in Ibiza, and it finally just came to the point where she liked hip-hop SO MUCH. You know I’ve got nothing against a timely beat now and again, but I just could not get my mind to embrace the idea that my idyllic escape with the woman of my dreams would play out to a soundtrack of Young Jeezy.

So I told her I was leaving. I did that; I told you already. What I didn’t tell you is what happened afterwards, which is that she seemed more relieved than sad, and I wound up taking it all back and crying like Ronaldo after he missed his penalty (we saw the tape at the hotel). I mean, face down on the carpet. It was bad. At one point I tried to prove to her that I knew all the lyrics to “Thug Passion.” And I don’t know the lyrics to “Thug Passion.” Unless he says the words “thug passion” at some point, I don’t know any of the lyrics to “Thug Passion.” You have got to let me back on the site. Please. This is shaping up to be an impossible year to come back from.

Okay, so pity may not be the best appeal when I should be telling you it won’t happen again and I’ll do a better job etc. But I’m assuming you know that already. Goes without saying, right? Code of honor, fist on heart, or whatever the bad kids do. What may not be so obvious is that I have a hole in my spirit from seeing what I thought was the perfect ideal I’ve been chasing all my life turn into a person who thought love was going to one of six clubs and dancing all night with men who had $600 shirts on and also weren’t especially me.

And I happen to love this game. And this may be my only way back.

I’ve even been thinking about how we can play my “return” to the readers, since obviously “I have a hole in my spirit” is not a sentiment I want to widely publicize. I was thinking about action movies, actually, and like how in every action movie the hero ends up with the girl and it kind of seems like they’re going to be together forever, only by the time the sequel rolls around she’s completely out of the picture and no one ever mentions her name. You always kind of unconsciously assume that they went on a vacation after the end of the first movie (like the Bahamas as a reward for defeating evil, which is a whole other spectrum of ideas) and had some good times together but realized it wasn’t going to work out. I was thinking of calling it “the concept of the Implied Vacation.” And basically what I’ve lived through for the past two weeks has been the Implied Vacation, only for real. This could work, right? This could be a post?

Anyway, just tell me what to do and I’ll do it. I need this in my life. We’ll figure out some way to make me seem cool/funny, because again, the “hole in my spirit” stuff is not what I would put on the site.

For real,



An Email from Vandal-prone

by Brian Phillips · June 5, 2008

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