Refuse to Lose

– I’m a very big Laker fan. Yesterday’s win was one of the most satisfactory moments I’ve had as a sports fan. Down 13 in the 3rd, the Lakers simply refused to lose to their bitter rivals. Two years ago, the Lakers got demolished and embarrassed by Boston in Game 6 when they suffered a defeat by 39 points. That loss ultimately gave these Lakers a mission and a target. They weren’t satisfied after being Champions last year, they wanted the Celtics again and that wish was granted. Grinding it out in a seven game series, the Lakers have effectively finished this Celtics team. They had a three year run, and the Lakers won two titles in those three years. Their team will not be the same, and they could very well just be pretenders for the next few years. And that thought makes me giddy and also think about Arsenal.

– That pure hatred of the Celtics is something that this Arsenal team needs to learn. They need to hate United and Chelsea as much as the Lakers hated the Celtics. Simply put, despite the pretend friendly behavior, these two teams hated each other. Arsenal have been embarrassed by plenty of teams in the past few years, but the hunger to prove them wrong has been absent to me. They feel devastated because they’ve lost a big game, not because they lost to United or Chelsea. Some of that was felt this year when the Scum repelled a Robin van Persie purple patch. When we lost to Scum this year, I felt the same way when the Lakers lost in 2008. What is missing from this team is that type of passion on a consistent basis.

– Who has that sort of passion in this Arsenal team? Who has the determination to run through metaphorical brick walls the way Kobe Bryant will (admittedly, I really can’t think of any athletes who share that same determination)? I see a few players who may be up to that level: Alex Song, Thomas Vermaelen, Cesc Fabregas, and Robin van Persie. I would include Gallas, but he’s clearly not going to be around. Wenger is right to bring this team along in a familial way, but the players need to understand just how far that goes. If you have a team that consistently beats you the way United does, that is the target, to beat them at every single thing possible.

– Make no mistake, I want to finish United. I want to finish Chelsea. I want to finish the Scum. In a less restrictive financial world, that’s clearly much harder to do in football than in basketball, but that’s what I want from this team.

– To that end, I salute the Lakers for accomplishing their task and reinforcing their refusal to lose.

– I’ve enjoyed the World Cup so far, but I’ll be honest and say that I’m starting to miss the Arsenal. After the World Cup finishes, there is only five weeks before the season starts. Bring. It. On.

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