Part I: Crazy in Love
Love makes us do stupid things, and high at the top of that list of us, is me. Love makes me, specifically, do stupid things. Now that everyone is properly horrified at the prospect of learning about my love life, I bring reassurance. This is an essay about love making me stupid alright; but instead of personal relationships, it applies to Tottenham Hotspur, Harry Kane, and a 2-2 draw against West Ham United.
Tottenham Hotspur, generally, did not play well against West Ham, and were lucky to get a point. When Tottenham do not play well, generally, I am grumpy. When Tottenham do not play well, specifically, against West Ham, I am miserable. Yes. This is probably stupid. No. This probably is not going to change.
Not only is it bad enough I love Spurs, but this love makes me, at times, expect too much from them. A team of talented young players and lovable misfits (looking at you, Vlad) Spurs were always bound to be inconsistent. Nobody I know thinks this was anything other than a transition year. However, factor our position in the table and those very same people, me included, get optimistic and carried away with talk of Champions League and multiple trophies.It is insane if one actually thinks about it, yet genuine. To truly love something, there has to be an almost naive belief in that thing. Of this I'm quite guilty: my naive belief in Spurs makes me stupid.
Part II: That's, like, your opinion, man.
Couple that stupid love with the fact I am from a school of thought that believes people should "disturb the comfortable" and "comfort the disturbed", and arguments arise. I can often be found in the writer's room defending Erik Lamela when he clearly has an off game, or writing an article praising him as man of the match when, in actuality, another player--let's hypothetically call him Mousa Dembele--probably deserves that praise. I look at Lamela and see potential, a dominant force yet to be unleashed. The guy just looks so eager to please, but it is not happening with any consistency. Because I love Spurs, and because he looks so damn uncomfortable, it breaks my heart. So I stick up for him. I say stupid thing after stupid thing in his defense. I want to stop, but I cannot, and this stands in direct contrast to people who say vitriolic things about him. They, too, love Spurs, and it makes them stupid, only in a different way.
Part III: If loving you is wrong, I don't want to be right.
Now enter the concept of "disturbing the comfortable". Enter Harry Kane.
What Kane has done this year is beyond anyone's wildest imagination. He has lifted his play to an elite level. He, along with Christian Eriksen, is a world class talent. With that distinction comes certain responsibility, though. Those that set themselves up for glory, must also accept the harshest of criticism.
Early in the season, when Eriksen was struggling, I called him out for mediocre play, not because his play was any worse than his teammates, but because his performance means a little bit more to the team. I was overly harsh on Eriksen, not because I hate him, but because I believed in him.
And so, in similar fashion, I went in on Kane yesterday. I flippantly, emotionally, and erroneously grouped his contributions in with his fellow attackers. In reality, he had a decent game, a worthy, often threatening shift. His attacking outfit, however, largely faltered. Is that his fault? Probably not, but according to my sporting philosophies, the failures of the attack became the failures of its best player, Harry's failures.
Common sense would dictate that I blame Andros Townsend and Erik Lamela for being predictable in the attack, for refusing to run into spaces provided by a West Ham defense so clearly focused on Harry. Common sense would dictate that I should call Mousa Dembele's first half one of the more shocking halves of the year for a Tottenham midfielder. Common sense would have me focus on so many other things. I was not using common sense at the time of my criticisms, however; and that is because I am a supporter first, and I believe in Harry Kane that much. No, I love Kane that much.
Not love in the sense of interpersonal love: who he is, or how he lives his life. No, I love what Kane means to this club on and off the field; but it is love just the same, and love always makes it complicated.
*As for MOTM credentials: crucially, he was was on the end, or in the middle of, our best attacking moves during the first 15 minutes. Then, despite being off his usual elite game for much of the match, he had the drive to win the penalty that got us a point; I can admit that now, after calming down.