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Soup of This Day #300: All These Things That I’ve Done

March 21, 2013

John C Houbolt
This is aerospace engineer John C Houbolt, a key proponent of the Lunar Orbit Rendezvous(LOR) mission plan, explaining just how a LOR works. Don’t be fooled by the simplistic diagrams folks – This IS rocket science – Photo: NASA, Unknown. NASA is not affiliated with Longworth72, although he did buy a couple of Christmas ornaments off them 1 time. Image cropped by Longworth72.

I never figured on writing 300 Soups.

It’s not that I didn’t think I could – If I’d sat down at the beginning and crunched the numbers then yep, I could have easily seen 300 Soups and more in my future. But I didn’t do that and – this bit might sound strange – I didn’t because that seemed kind of disrespectful to the process of writing 300 Soups.

It’s a monstrous process. A good monster but a big hairy 1 for all that.

Because when you start there is this vast thing in front of you. It’s not time and it’s not even the sheer number of words – Those are definable and predictable – Pretty early on I settled down into an average post-length of around 1,300 words and for the most part time is pretty rigid for us tiny folk on our tiny planet.

So none of that is daunting or mysterious – Instead, it’s the wave of stuff that will happen between Soup 1 and Soup 300 that can scupper the thought of all those Soups. Stuff you can’t predict, can’t control and that just sweeps you up and throws you into the shallows, sometimes gracefully and sometimes painfully. I write about that stuff and so I never tried to work out what it would take to cover off 300 Soups of it.

And even when you think that the stuff just past has you sure of what is to come you can still be blind-sided, knocked off your feet.

Just a month ago AC Milan hosted Barcelona in the 1st leg of their Champions League (CL) knock-out tie. The Milanese outfit stifled the flair of the Catalans, allowing them plenty of possession (66%) but little sight of goal (Just 6 shots). They then hit hard and fast on the counter, notching up the only 2 goals of the match (Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sully Muntari) for a valuable home shut-out.

And so Milan came to Barça’s Camp Nou home 2 weeks later with a natural and logical strategy. They would again muffle the creative Catalans, parking the proverbial bus out the front of their goal, while seeking another sucker punch at the other end that would surely take the tie beyond the reach of Barcelona. It was not rocket science, as this preview from SB Nation pretty much spells out, complete with a prediction of an away goal and a subsequent Italian triumph.

That wasn’t an outlandish prediction, as evidenced by this 1 stat: No CL entrant had ever come back from a 2-goal deficit after the 1st leg, and without an away goal.

Yep, this Milanese plan was a good plan. An admirable plan. A plan that looked for all the world like it would succeed, given that it had done exactly that just 2 weeks previous in the San Siro. This was surely a winning plan.

Until 5 minutes in when Barça’s Lionel Messi arced up and did his stuff.

He played a neat 1-2 with Xavi Hernández before, with 4 Milan defenders close enough for a hug, curling a supreme strike into the top right corner of the goal. On replay that effort is all the more remarkable because there is barely a backlift from the gifted Argentine. He just darts the ball, much as a normal player might toe-poke or chip, and yet somehow he imbues it with the wickedness of a full-on drive.

Milan’s keeper, Cristian Abbiati, didn’t have a chance to move beyond dropping his jaw and then picking the ball out of his net.

The latter was at least good practice – He got to do it another 3 times on the night, including at least once more because of Messi (David Villa and Jordi Alba got the others). That is how the game finished – Barcelona winning it 4-0 and the tie 4-2.

The Catalans then progress to the quarter-finals while the Milanese have had the benefit of an education in the improbable. Said their manager Massimiliano Allegri:

‘We are a young team, we need to grow and you do that through experiences like this in the Champions League. We are sad because we had high hopes after the first leg. Football is like that.’

So is growing up.

When you’re a kid, everything you learn is improbable. This is because you have all of that stuff in front of you and it can be as fantastic as anything that Messi and Co. can serve up on the football pitch.

I remember distinctly being a kid and knowing that this stuff separated me from being an adult. And I couldn’t see a way through that stuff, could not comprehend the magnitude of that stuff, or its composition – Its texture, its taste. I just knew it was there and that somehow I would have to brave it and get through and then I would be an adult. I wasn’t even sure how I’d know if I was an adult, whether there would be this 1 moment where I’d get it, where I’d look in the mirror and say, ‘Hey there Fred me lad, this is it mate – You sir are a genuine grown-up.’

So I finished school, moved out of home, went to uni, got drunk, got work, got a girlfriend, left uni, got more work, got a hangover, got another girlfriend, moved house, got engaged, bought a house, got married, had a kid, had another kid and…

Still couldn’t see the adult in the mirror. I saw the laugh-lines and the grey badger-streak in my beard, but in my eyes there was still that kid looking back.

Until the other day when my son started school.

That’s some wonderful stuff right there.

I’m an adult now – My boy is going to school and he has a heck of a future of his own to contemplate, 1 filled with his own improbable stuff.

Here then, in his honour, is a small sample of the stuff this blog has gone through, with the past 50 Soups represented by the title images that kicked them off:

John C HouboltTurkish Airlines Boeing 737NightclubBarred OwlTasmanian devilDer WinterRecycling binsChickahominy military bridgeMerlinLisa SthalekarBrown troutCharles Minthorn MurphyNuclear power plantVenus de MiloVolleyball monksPollock to HusseyFingask curlingSki jumpLeafs vs Red WingsSandgroperBuddy RichBark scorpionWorlds End State ParkGlulamRack houseLightningRiga, LatviaApollo 17 launch2012 Liverpool Santa DashPerth Glory WomenMossDuart CastleSomali wild assMiamiFriends ArenaNo.1 Rabbit-proof FenceScottish wildcatLee WestwoodEugene CernanMarching RavensLe JockeyIron emission spectrumNumbatHampden ParkLeopardO'Neill ButteChicksThe Lone Red SeatSumatran tigerThe Love Letter

The Noah – When you read this some day – You should take away a couple of things: a. I’m incredibly proud to be your Dad; b. I started writing this at 11:17pm the night before you started school because I was simultaneously wracked with nerves for you and in awe at what you have in you to achieve; and c. I’ll always be your buddy.

Love ya mate – Learn the hell out of that place.

Everyone else – Thank you for reading this stuff.

All These Things That I’ve Done

  1. Congrats and best wishes on 300 Soups! Very tasty indeed!

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