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Breathe. Relax. It’s going to be ok.

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Reflections on a Champions League final, 24 hours before kick-off

Previews - UEFA Champions League Final Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

By the time this article publishes we will officially be inside 24 hours before Tottenham Hotspur kicks off in their first ever Champions League final. If you’re anything like me, you’ve been playing it cool for the past three weeks — distracting yourself with work, family, writing about transfer rumors, etc.

But if you ARE anything like me, it all started to hit home today.

I’ve spent the day vacillating between feeling like a productive member of society and having seemingly random bouts of anxiety that border on terror, and I don’t fully understand where it’s coming from. Except I do know where it’s coming from, because Tottenham Hotspur are playing in the freaking Champions League final tomorrow HOLY CRAP.

So if you’re like me, and I’m willing to bet that a fair number of you are, then I get it. I feel you.

And you know what? It’s going to be fine.

I’ve grown up a lot as a person and as a fan and consumer of sports over the past 12 years that I’ve been following this ridiculous football club. I’ve rejoiced in celebration, wallowed in misery, and come out the other side. I’ve been around long enough to know that this is just a game and also this is TOTALLY not just a game. I’m fully really to run outside and scream at the sky that Spurs have won the Champions League tomorrow, just as I’m also fully ready to put my head between my knees and cry because they lost to Liverpool in the biggest match in club history.

Either of these things could happen. So today, 24 hours before the final, hold them in tension. Live with the possibility of both. Breathe. Relax. Because, and trust me when I say this, everything’s going to be okay.

We know what the best case scenario is, but I don’t know what the worst case scenario is for you. Is it losing 6-0 in a blowout loss? Is it losing via a 98th minute own goal or a penalty? Is it a penalty shootout? (That last one is definitely mine.) I’ve run through all the various scenarios in my head the past few hours. None of them feel good except the ones that result in Hugo Lloris lifting the trophy at the end, because this very well could be a once in a lifetime opportunity.

But you know what? It isn’t. Because no matter what the end result of the match is tomorrow, there’s a very good chance that Tottenham Hotspur will be a better team next season than this past year. Fresher, younger, more talented, more experienced, with new players and a thirst to improve. When does the new season start? We go again.

And if we lose? We lost in the CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL. We weren’t supposed to be here, and nobody can take that away from us. I choose to look back at this season’s campaign and be happy with what we accomplished, no matter what the final outcome. Football is a game of extremes. Someone will be happy, and someone will be sad. There’s little we can do to affect the outcome, so we must simply accept that what is to be will be.

So as we get ready to watch tomorrow, wherever you are watching from, remember that this has been such a fantastic journey. Accept your powerlessness to affect the outcome. Know that you are part of a Tottenham Hotspur family that is rejoicing — or grieving — with you.

And don’t forget to breathe.