Wake up. It’s me, Diego.
It’s 3 in the morning in Culver City, a small town on the west side of Los Angeles, an hour before Chelsea takes the pitch against West Brom.
I’m fast asleep in my bed, next to my wife and our Jack Russell mix, Xena. And I’m having the most amazing dream. No longer am I the 44 year old husband and father of two who played club soccer in his teens.
I am Diego Costa. Number 19. Chelsea Striker. King of England.
As I glide through the London streets in my 7 Series toward Stamford Bridge,
the 80’s pop music on the XM station fades into the distance as my mind wanders…
God, I’m so glad I didn’t go back to Spain this year, even though I do miss it. The sexy women, the music, the sun, eating dinner at 11 pm (never the night before a game, of course.) Hell, what’s not to love, right?
But as much as I miss Spain, what a relief that I didn’t bolt after the dumpster fire that was last season.
I’m not sure what went wrong last year. We just lost it. Jose lost it. Maybe he stopped taking his meds or something. Everybody was just so bummed out all the time. After winning it all the season before, we couldn’t shake the hangover. Losing brought on more losing. The Special One turned into the Sadistic One. We just basically stopped trying as a team. And I definitely don’t think Coach liked me anymore. Not that I blame him, really. Every match I couldn’t decide whether to scratch out the eyes of the nearest defender just to get thrown out or actually try to put one in the back of the net.
(Big sigh) But that’s over now. I’m in a groove baby! And today is another chance for me to be a hero. Like Super Frankie. Hell, if I really put my mind to it, I might have a statue outside Stamford Bridge one day. I wonder if it would have the beard or not?
Hey, what the shit is licking my foot?! How did a dog get into my car?
And just like that, the dream is over.
I’m awake. I’m not Diego anymore. I’m just Jeff. Chelsea fan. Quietly cheering on the Blues, alone in my house, from 5,000 miles away. Diego doesn’t know I exist. It’s 10 minutes before a 4am PST kickoff. Time to rise and shine and put on a pot without waking anyone. Where did I put my Hazard jersey?
God, I hope this winning streak continues. West Brom? C’mon this should be easy, right??
If only I was Diego, I could suit up and make sure we win. Maybe bully my way past Gareth McAuley in the second half and blast one past the keeper to secure 3 points and our rightful place at the top of the table. Antonio would lose his mind. The fans would love me.
If only I was Diego.