Few things in life are certain. We can't accurately predict the outcome of events in each and every circumstance. The saying goes that only death and taxes are certain.
I'd add Aston Villa playing good football without a result to that cauldron of predictability. I've watched every game bar one this year and that vein has run constant and is much more pronounced following the arrival of Remi Garde.
With all this talk about veins, it's about time Villa went for the jugular. The side is finally playing the good football everyone at Villa Park had been without for as long as we can likely remember. It was a big consolation to watch Aston Villa play sport instead of choosing to be the ‘submissive' in a BDSM relationship with the teams they have faced so far. AVFC need to go a step further now and be clinical, surgical. They need to take the chances they are making and that will come. With composure, Grace and confidence come goals, well, I hope so. This would all go down hill in the next match and Villa failed to capitalise on their good performance against West Ham by throwing in the towel against Norwich City.
Christmas Day saw a member of my family depart this world. Maggie passed away on Christmas morning having succumbed to poor health. Alcohol had provided her with solace after her husband had passed and there's no shame in that at all. I guess our physical bodies can't cope with the demand our consciousness and mental state place on us sometimes and although alcohol and other vices can provide us with comfort, our livers, brains and hearts cannot keep pace. It's hard for me to say this, but some people leave without having enjoyed the majority of their lives. That's why it's so goddamn important to at least attempt to enjoy the things we love and try to do the tasks in our lives that we dreamed of completing! Pain and hurt are relative to all of us as individuals and we can't let setbacks knock us off the rails. If you want to create, produce, write, sing or even input data - do it.
With death also comes anger. I spent Christmas Night teary-eyed. It's slightly embarrassing to talk about, but I descended into the mentality of a child. Someone in my family had died and Aston Villa don't even have the good graces to win a damned football match. It took a while for me to come back around to my senses and dwell on my solitary outburst. Aston Villa doesn't owe me anything, loss and pain is not a currency they accept in exchange for winning. I cannot purchase wins with tears and anger as much as I cannot purchase them with money. People are dying right now, are hurting right now and are running away from fear right now - if Aston Villa won't win in the thought of those in the most need, they won't win for me being grumpy or a season ticket holder. Angry fans can launch their vinyl layered season tickets onto a pitch and they can berate the manager, but we all only ever paid to witness. Losses and poor performances are hard to take, but they are only the other side of the coin to winning and bouts of great form. We don't expect greatness when we buy in, only to be part of this Aston Villa FC.
Going into Boxing Day, I was well aware that someone had passed away without knowing the result of Aston Villa's struggle against relegation. They would never see a cup victory, or any other victory. They would never witness Jack Grealish and Adama develop into the players we know they can be. They won't see Villa fall and rise once more. That did not mean my enjoyment of the match was dampened, but I took a fresh set of eyes to the game and was glad as my renewed vigour was matched by the majority of the Holte End.
Yes, the Holte isn't dead. Yet. It lives and breathes and I believe my metaphor of a punctured lung was premature. Instead of the death rattle I endured against Arsenal, there was a roar of defiance. The probability of relegation remains high, but that won't stop this crowd rewarding good play with applause and sing-song. At one point, ‘Remi Garde's Claret and Blue Army' was belted out for around three to four minutes without halt. That proves that if you build it, Aston Villa, they will come.
When you view the Premier League table, it's hard not to look at the positions of Leicester, Watford and Crystal Palace without any feelings of animosity or jealousy. Aston Villa should be there, rooted at the top like an evergreen tree to bear the brunt of summer and winter as time stood still, with clubs like Palace, Watford, Bournemouth and Leicester passing like those seasons. Quite ironically, it seems that Aston Villa will pass those teams as they look to build their own foothold in the Premier League. Hope is still alive within me and above-average performances throw another piece of oil-soaked lumber into that fire and the belief further blazes deep down and in a sense, I feel certain we might just claw our way out of this mess.
Yes, few things in life are truly certain, but Aston Villa will be there until time ends for us. Villa Park overlooked by Aston Manor is a small Victorian-era relic in Birmingham and it will always be just that. A bank of memories in which we all plunge and share. To enrol in this community is to share our memories as my Grandad and Dad shared to me. We can bask in the glory of times gone by and if our moment in the sun is to come to an end, so be it. Relegation may come for more teams in the coming years, but that fate is not as final as death. Aston Villa aren't consigned to the Championship just yet, but if they are, let us hope that they may be forged into the titan we know they can be. Many people have passed in the period that this giant has slumbered and maybe, just maybe, it will find itself waking to excite those who still remain on this earth.