My enthusiasm and determination to get to the dinner bowl just now were not appreciated. But I simply cannot help stamping my feet, like a seagull turning up worms, in ecstatic expectation of the meal placed before me and for which I must wait, even when it is on the ground, staring up at me. I might as well be on the front line. Yesterday we were mightily roused by the number-crunching commentary from the Michigan-Akron game, which the Wolverines won by 4 points but the heavy work they made of that encounter embarrassed them and they took little pleasure from the win. One couldn’t imagine an England player feeling the same. Listening to the drama unfold brought back the old Bob Ufer days, when the perceptible joy of his account of an away game more than made up for lack of a ticket. Participation is so exciting but perhaps even more so at some remove: is that a paradox? Ball games used to feature centrally in our routines, like the Saturday game in an Ann Arbor fall, but all we can do is remember what fun they were, since I too must forgo them on Barnaby’s account. How I would love the opportunity to throw myself at a ball; to challenge myself to outdo my speed and accuracy next Saturday, just like the Wolverines. But, because we are loyal to Barnaby, I will not have the chance to do so. Wolverines are fearsome beasts I hear, in a world where fears have mostly been conquered and legends have been laid to rest and putting two goals past Crystal Palace is treated as a miracle. I shall be hunkering down again tomorrow morning, after early training, desperate to get at ’em. That is my way.