Pain is almost a beautiful thing.
Needle through skin, a burn, accidental slice, bumping your head. These actions all send almost electric signals through your body's nervous system. As soon as your skin is pierced, burnt or bruised - a chain reaction of biological, tiny proportions happens. A microscopic symphony buried deep within your skin, playing along to the tune of your pain.
The description of pain is beautiful, that's why I prefaced it with almost. Pain to an Aston Villa fan was Saturday the 2nd of April. Another crushing defeat, another false fable, another promising start crowned with incompetency of biblical proportions. Pain to an Aston Villa fan is anything but beautiful.
Pain is synonymous with sports.
As a fan of the Cleveland Browns, The New York Mets, A.C. Milan and Aston Villa, I'm well versed in pain. I'm a doctor of misery and a philosopher of suffering. The teams I choose to follow in sports that should augment my life are usually a constant disappointment. These teams almost always let me down, but they've provided joy in their own ways.
If I didn't follow the Browns, I wouldn't have witnessed Peyton Hillis tear apart the NFL for a year, I wouldn't have seen homegrown boy Brian Hoyer attempt to revitalise the beleaguered Clevelanders and I certainly would not have witnessed the rise and fall of Johnny Manziel.
If the Mets weren't in my life, I wouldn't have enjoyed two visits to CitiField in April 2014. I wouldn't have seen a Lucas Duda home run. I wouldn't have seen David Wright light up Queens. I wouldn't have stayed up late into the night praying that a team that I follow would finally win something as The Amazing's ran a clear path to the 2015 MLB World Series only to fall at the final hurdle.
If I didn't love the Rossoneri, I wouldn't have seen one of the greatest matches in footballing history, as Liverpool secured the win against Milan in the 2005 Champions League. Thanks to A.C. Milan, I saw Maldini, one of the modern game's greats lead a defense.
Aston Villa haven't given me anything near what those three teams have and provided that the Cleveland Browns have been an embarrassment of a sports team during my 23 years on this earth, that's not a good sign for Villa. At all.
With pain usually comes a rush of endorphins, something to tide you over during recovery, almost a tepid morphine. That can sum up the joy that Aston Villa are giving me.
Despite a 5-1 victory over Birmingham City that I can barely remember, Saturday's loss was another crowning moment in my support of Villa and that's because I spent more time making and throwing paper planes onto the pitch then I did actually watching the match.
The Aston Villa Protest Group had returned back with a new plan and despite the fact that their provided 'banners' were pieces of paper, the protest can only be described as an unmitigated success as not only did thousands of messages get through to the national media, but those same messages once transformed, littered the pitch.
Do I regret paying over £360 for my season ticket? Yes and no. I could've spent more time with my girlfriend, my family, my new baby cousin. But, I can't take the social occasion of an Aston Villa football for granted.
The football is rubbish, but the spectacle of standing in the Holte End will never, ever be lost on me and I pray that my counterparts on this blog will experience it a few times each. My colleagues and friends have to get up at 6,7 or 8 AM weekly to watch Aston Villa for something that I am really starting to fall out of love with. This relationship is two-fold, and even though Villa aren't pulling their weight, I'll put up with the pain and try my damn hardest to support this team, because I know others would 'kill' to be in my position