Editor's note: this article was originally published in February of 2016, but its sentiment is 100% applicable to today. Feel free to replace the outdated references to Tim Sherwood with Antonio Conte, and any anachronistic dates with something more current. The sentiment remains.
Tottenham Hotspur are actually good this season, and it’s weird. 18 months removed from Tim Sherwood, suddenly Spurs are second in the table, two points behind Leicester of all clubs, with 12 matches to play. Not only that, but Spurs are still in three competitions, with upcoming matches vs Fiorentina in the Europa League and Crystal Palace in the FA Cup Round of 16.
Spurs fans are, shall we say, not the most optimistic bunch, so we're totally not used to good things happening. We're stuck between two conflicting core identities: the idea that Sisyphus will maybe actually get that damn boulder up the hill this time, and the foreknowledge born of years of experience telling us that Spurs are going to somehow step on a rake and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. The problem is that the second core identity almost invariably wins out by the end because we're preconditioned to having all hope beaten out of us.
So we're good and we don't know how to handle it. This isn't meant to happen, right? We're not supposed to be here! This is Tottenham!
Faced with the very real prospect of actual success, what's a Tottenham fan to do? Here are a few coping mechanisms designed to help protect your fragile psyche in this time of madness. Guard your heart, and it can never be broken.
Don't talk about it
Seriously, shut up. Don't talk about it, don't pretend it could happen. Look, I know. I KNOW. It's a thing, and it could conceivably happen but... no! Don't say the word! You'll totally jinx it and then it won't happen and it'll be all your fault. Whaddya mean "what word?" You know, THAT word. The one that starts with "t." ...No, the other one, not treb... aaaugh, don't say that one either! Shut up! Just. Shut. Up.
We're not telling you to do drugs, because drugs are bad, mm'kay? But you may need drugs. Booze is an acceptable substitute. Either way, you'll want something that will destroy the neurons in your brain that stimulate the pineal gland, thereby stopping the flood of serotonin that cause you to feel happiness and hope. Deep down you already know that fatalism will always triumph over hope, because hope is dumb. This is just suppressing the chemical urge.
Re-watch the 2012 Champions League final
In the face of unbridled optimism, it’s helpful to remember that it can all be snatched away at a moment’s notice. Therefore, whenever you feel yourself hoping that Spurs might actually do something good, just re-watch the 2012 Champions League final between Chelsea and Bayern Munich. You know, the one in Munich. That Chelsea won in a penalty shootout. That knocked Spurs out of the Champions League for 2012-13 despite them finishing fourth. If that doesn’t knock you out of your misguided optimism, nothing will. It’s an important lesson to remember, since it’ll help prepare you for when Andros Townsend scores a hat trick against Tottenham on the last day of the season leading to an St. Totteringham’s Day title for Arsenal.
Ignore the Green Light
In F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, the titular character is mesmerized by a green light that shines across the bay from his love interest Daisy's dock, minute and far away. He yearns for it. He strives to reach it. People much smarter than me have interpreted the green light as a metaphor for the unattainable dream, the promise of a better future.
"Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter – to-morrow we will run farther, stretch out our arms farther. And then one fine morning— So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."
But here's the thing: Gatsby spends the entire novel obsessed with the green light, does everything in his power to get to the green light, and when he finally does, Daisy laughs in his face and rejects him for some other dude.
F**k the green light.
Go out with your significant other, or a group of good friends to Papa Giuseppe's Italian Eatery and have yourself a nice dinner. Nothing helps take away the anxiousness of a Tottenham [REDACTED] race like a big heaping plate of lasagna, right? Mmmmm, lasagna. Delicious layers of pasta, cooked meat, ricotta cheese, and tomato sauce, covered in a blanket of gooey mozzarella cheese. What could possibly happen?
Editor's note: with thanks to mpachniuk and Sean Cahill for workshopping ideas.