Note: Every summer, I usually end up making a fanpost telling people to calm the &%$# down, because things don't always go like you want them to go, everybody gets up in arms about rumors and transfers, and TSF becomes an unenjoyable place for a time, to which I leave for a couple of weeks so people can calm down. I've even been warned before for getting too brash with others, which I'm not personally. I consider this community I've been a part of for four years now almost as a separate, anonymous-like ever changing family, and this is an attempt to hopefully limit the chaos I've seen in prior years. Enjoy!
It's that time of year again, where the trees grow green and the water warms up and rumors fly abuzz like the rapidly progressing wasps nest in my planter. Yep, it's summer, and that means three excruciating months of the summer transfer window and whether or not Sebastian Frey will finally join Arsenal for the eleventh billion time.
Obviously, last year's transfer window started off with the promise of bringing in a number of big name strikers, such as Gonzalo Higuain, Ezequeil Lavezzi, and another South American striker who apparently was questioned to be a vampire at one point but obviously wasn't... Eventually, all of those deals failed because Spendy McWarchester refused to spit out the key and the pit of gloom and despair grew larger. But then Wenger finally cracked open Spendy's sacred chest of gold and chicken nuggets and brought us the Golden Boy, the savior of all things amazing and awesome and once more, redeemed any sort of vile hatred and disgust aimed towards our supposedly frugal ways.
Luckily for us, the World Cup will occupy a full month's worth of absolute rubbish such as displeasure, wage hikes, and agent negotiating, but for the other two months, all you have to do is follow these fairly simple guidelines and you too, can fully enjoy your summer entirely stress free!
1.) Find yourself a full-time, and actually productive, job
If you have enough time to sit at your desk and wander through the likes of ESPN FC, reading rumors and and noise about how Eden Dzeko is planning a £40 mil. coup to Paris, you're not being productive enough! If you don't have a desk and you're sitting on the couch in you're underwear doing the same thing, you should probably reevaluate your life in general. Point being, find yourself enough to do where your mind won't drift towards being mostly worried about whether or not we're actually going to sign a striker or a defensive midfielder. If in fact, that is your biggest concern at this very moment, you should probably reread this paragraph. Multiple times.
2.) Find yourself a significant other
If you're like me, and that's being a single male, then your sports teams generally become your most cherished objects in life. You hold them with comfort, take in all their joy, treat them with the utmost respect, and just like that, all the joy and happiness can quickly turn into a life of sorrow and depression. Go ahead, envision your favorite team as a baby seal. It's so cute and wonderful, and then Shamu comes along and wrecks everything you ever thought life to be up to that point...
Getting back to the topic at hand, having a significant other should eliminate having your favorite team as your number one priority to keep happy. If it doesn't, either you're Jimmy Fallon and a complete numpty at just about anything that isn't relative to baseball, or you should probably go back and reread the first tip paragraph. Multiple times. Again.
3.) Take up a hobby
Outside of Arsenal and the flawless execution of failure that is the Chicago Cubs, I spend most of my free time during the summer doing two things, golf and racing. I'm almost always relentlessly nitpicking every aspect of my golf game, I go out and practice nearly every night after work, and I refine my game to a T, down to the smallest possible things such as whether or not my hands are a centimeter too high or low on my 6 iron. I also pick a couple weekends out of the short summer to take a trip out to Road America and another track to catch the races, and I look forward to it almost all summer long.
And it doesn't have to be an extensive or expensive hobby either. It can be woodworking, or landscaping, or fishing, or dumpster diving or underwater basket weaving for all I care. The point is, if you're spending a majority of your free time checking up on some obscure French website that you can't even understand, just obsessively peering for anything that contains the word "Arsenal", that's not a hobby, that's.... that's just no good. GET A HOBBY DAMNIT
Disclaimer: Any attempts of a "hobby" that result in personal injury or death can by no means, be attributed back to me or this article. I most definitely didn't tell you to go light that firework off from five feet away, nor did I tell you that homemade moonshine was a hobby that was worth losing your eyesight over. Use common sense, for the sake of common sense.
Q: I have all the the above taken care of, so what do I do if I want to see what's up with Arsenal?
I'm not telling you to avoid this completely, because you can't. I can't either, because I almost always take a glance at everything just about every morning. There are two simple rules that you should always follow regarding the transfer season. Limit your exposure, and select what your being exposed to. Breaking these rules can result in possible injury and/or disturbing thoughts and feelings.
4.) Try and stay away from the "mainstream" media. Throw in tabloids as well.
Fellow journalists amongst us will tell us this as well, the media today is not what it was 30 years ago. Hell it isn't what it was going back just a few years. In a Internet, advertisement driven world that can be accessed as easily as the thing you carry around in your pocket, page clicks are literally EVERYTHING to a media market that's scrambling to adjust from a primarily physical based platform to a digital one. The physical world of media was completely driven by not only advertisement, but subscriptions and one time sales of papers as well, and it was entirely fine and worry free for the most part, until people started realizing that they could access the same news without having to pay a dime outside of their internet and phone bill. Now, the written media's primary source of income comes almost entirely out of advertising based revenue, which is driven by, you guessed it, page clicks. Some sites require subscriptions, yes, like ESPN's insider or pretty much every regional and local media outlet, but with a vast variety of news sources that offer the same news for free, why pay for the $25 a month subscription for that one site?
As a result, the quality of your journalism drops with how easily accessible your news is. There used to be a time where papers would flaunt a wide selection of quality journalists who day in day out, produced some great work. Now? If I asked you who would constitute as a great writer on a site that comes to mind first, say ESPN, you would probably only come up with a select few, and even then, probably still argue with yourself that everything they write is pure gold. I still enjoy going back to old issues of Sports Illustrated that I randomly find, and reading the final few pages that were usually Rick Reily's domain. Now I basically refuse to read, or now listen to, Reily's stuff for ESPN, because it's such a far cry from what he's actually capable of.
Selective sources people. Make sure the stuff your reading first doesn't contain something as ridiculous as ARSENAL IN LINE TO GRAB £45 MIL "INSERT PLAYER HERE". If you don't see a similar headline on multiple sites, it's probably not true because outlets are always vying to be the "first" to break the news. If it's as high as £45 mil., take a real hard look at how realistic that probably is, because it probably isn't. Key words such as "official" or "record-breaking" are almost instant giveaways towards how much integrity is actually there. Always remember, journalists have a right to keep their sources to themselves. For all you know, that source could be a beat writer posted outside the Emirates who talked to a homeless guy a couple of hours ago.
My main sources that I frequently check on usually go like this. Arsenal. Arseblog, The Short Fuse. In rare and extreme cases, player's and team's Twitter accounts. And that's about it. For financials, I almost always stick to The Swiss Ramble, even if I don't understand it, it's probably better to receive financial information from an individual who actually understands financials and doesn't spend most of his time worrying about making deadlines.
On the subject of tabloids, here's a basic list. The Sun, The Daily Mail, The World News, etc. You can basically tell a tabloid from a broadsheet or a mainstream outlet basically by it's layout. It's mostly image based and consists mostly of headlines with no previews, and usually scattered. They're usually the papers at newsstands that have "MOM GIVES BIRTH TO THREE HEADED ORANGUTANG" or something like that. AVOID THESE. Tabloids in a sense are there for shock value, and as my professor once said, tabloids are where journalists go to die a slow and painful death. Clearly, what kind of integrity can come of that?
5.) Make a "select" Twitter list
I'm not saying you should trust Twitter for everything, because Twitter has produced some massive fails like this. Case in point, any 15 year old kid can create a Twitter, post #SUAREZ HAS AGREED TERMS TO COME TO ARSENAL, and when you put #Suarez in the search, you instantly see that and plenty of others who have followed suit (Because people are essentially, cattle, in the natural aspect of things), and you start losing your shit like the dysentery plagued King John.
There are good ways of using Twitter, and there's many more bad ways of using Twitter. You can start by making a list specifically for Arsenal. It should consist of the team's Twitter account and the players. I say the players with the knowledge that YOU know that, they are football players for a reason, and they aren't exactly the sharpest knives in the drawer some of the time. From there, do some research. Find people that have a strong connection to the club and have been reliable in the past. AGAIN, I say that with a grain of salt. Jamie Sanderson used to be an incredibly reliable resource for Arsenal related news, but since the M'Vila catastrophe, I've questioned many of his tweets since then, even more so now that he's employed by Metro UK.
The general rule of Twitter should always be that, it IS NOT a primary source, it's a secondary source. People either hear about or read about rumors before posting onto Twitter. Things get jumbled, they fall apart, and your left in a pile of your own feces. AVOID YOUR OWN FECES FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.
6.) Do your research!
Common sense is a wonderful thing, but it's also the biggest question mark when it comes to interpreting news. Like I said before, people in their natural ways are like cattle, in which if there's a massive following, more people are likely to flock to it as well. Individuality has lessened as a result, and though one may argue with me on that, others tend to refer to it as "cultural globalization". For an example, go read pdb's multiple pieces on narrative.
This is more of a review paragraph than it is an actual tip, but let's go with it. As a history major, the one thing we tend to look at when evaluating a prospective event is if whether or not it goes with the trend. I'm fairly sure mathematicians and statisticians use the same theory, but the same can be applied to normal, real life happenings. Just think "Is this something that would usually happen", and most of the time, you would probably be right. The Özil transfer is one exception to this theory, but that's okay. Guys, it's okay to be wrong sometimes, your bound to be wrong a lot of the time anyways, but the only way to improve on not being wrong, is to be wrong.
In a graph of prior Arsenal transfers though, Özil is the one blip that's way off the mark of what we usually see from Arsenal during the summer. Does that mean Arsenal are going to spend £40 mil. on a player every summer? Probably not, history definitely tells us not. To simplify this, just break everything down into odds. "What are the odds of spending £40 mil. on a player?" Thanks to Özil, those odds are now possible, but not exactly great odds when you look at the history.
I'm not singling out everyone as being meatheads who can't figure out things for themselves, because for the most part, everybody is generally smart, informed, and well thought out. But for every few people who possess the simple ability to think rationally, there's always a meathead to bring them down, especially as I've found out, when it comes to transfer season. Outside of the ever changing atmosphere that is Bleed Cubbie Blue, nowhere else do I find a more volatile environment than I do Arsenal fans during transfer season.
Q: I've done all of the above, and I still feel the urge to throw things because we didn't get "X" player, WHAT DO I DO NOW SMARTASS?
7.) Calm down, take a deep breath, and relax
This isn't the end all be all of the world. Believe me, I've gotten plenty pissed at Arsenal before, at numerous things for numerous times to which I can't even recollect them all. But at the end of the day, what is this? It's a game, a simple game you go outside and play with your friends, and that's it. This isn't a family member dying, this isn't any other personal issue that can be 100 times worse, this is Arsenal. I don't want to say it's a luxury being a fan, but it's a choice, and Arsenal is a choice of a football club that YOU CHOSE. When you chose Arsenal, you took on all the ups and downs that come with being an Arsenal fan, and with that choice, you can choose to opt out at any time as well. But for the sake of yourself and others around you, don't let your pent up frustration result in mass chaos. This isn't your personal belonging, this isn't your wife or husband or kids, and this definitely isn't your entire life.
If none of these tips have helped you overcome your extreme transfer season stress, CONGRATULATIONS, you are now a bonafide Arsenal diehard with absolutely no life, and one day they'll probably make a statue of you outside the Emirates, but the odds are extremely slim...