Boro boffins' quest for a perfect bond; An elemental chain reaction to make us fans.
Like everything else in the physical universe, Boro fans are assembled from billions of atoms. We are not freaks of nature no matter what our loved ones tell us.
And, fundamentally, we are all assembled from the same set menu of basic particles, just in different proportions and jiggled about a bit.
We are all complex cocktails of chemicals, configured uniquely and shaped by time and pressure and exposure to defining experiences.
But all of us, from the most wild-eyed, positively charged, ever smiling optimist to the most heavy-hearted, negative doommonger is made up of the same essential ingredients.
From home-and-away nevermiss-a-match tattooed zealot to openly hostile former die-hard creatively nursing a grudge from an armchair, the psychological and emotional contents are broadly the same.
As a member of the sane and stable majority of realists - and we all like to think we are in that particular sub-group - you may think you have little in common with the hard-line harbingers of the apocalypse and the radio ranters.
Or indeed with the leather-lunged uber-loyalists of the Red Faction and those who decorate their gable end with a massive club crest and give their kids the middle names 'Ayresome Juninho Gibson Roary Cardiff'. But you have. Oh yes.
Just a little elemental tweak here and there, the addition of a tiny chemical catalyst and a small increase in terrace temperature to kick-start it and you could be fizzing and spitting away in a spectacular emotional chain reaction every bit as explosive as the most extreme of your peers.
Obviously we are all different in the way we react and bond with the club and other supporters within the crowd and with the equal and opposing forces in the away end.
And we all have different levels of volatility and malleability and vastly different boiling points.
But when it comes down to it, we are all made of the same elements.
And now we can prove it.
Those key elements have been isolated by a dedicated team of Boro boffins working at the Teesside University School of Soccerlogical Studies.
The elemental egg-heads have been delving deeper than ever before to uncover the complex chemical configurations that are the basic building blocks of Boro life.
And the known elements have now been codified and laid out in a provisional Boro periodic table.
Incredibly, the elemental groupings and the properties and relationship of the newly discovered Boro primeval palette mirror those of the conventional periodic table. So it is scientifically sound.
The controversial findings by the lab-coated league leaders will be presented in full in next month's International Football Chemistry magazine and will be subjected to stringent peer review but the early indications are that the pioneering work represents a great leap forward in our sketchy knowledge of exactly what constitutes 'fandom'.
For Boro supporters it will make fascinating reading. The more self-aware will quickly be able to make a rough estimation of their own elemental make-up.
Some may be in denial over the presence of trace elements but a bit of goading will soon have hidden ingredients bubbling to the surface.
This is especially true of those who live in exile or hostile environments like Newcastle where they may be subjected to external testing and pressures such as ancient historical data or clumsy 'big club' banter. Then even small quantities of volatile elements like Boronioa (Boo), Grudgium (Gr) and Argumentium (Ag) may be exposed and potentially explosive.
Especially if mixed with Beer (Be). Many of the elements were formed in the cataclysmic cosmic events of the Big Bang and the lesser known Tripe Supper, the theoretical convulsion thought to have created the club as we know it.
Among those elements are the most abundant of all. Cynicism (Cy) and Optimism (Op) are found in vast but varying quantities in all Boro fans along with those crucial substances needed to sustain basic cultural survival, Oxygen (O), Beer (Be) and Parmonite (P).
The delicate unique balance between Cynicism and Optimism is the key most important factor in determining the general outlook of the individual fan, their ability to react and bond with fellow fans and their ability to stay stable when combined with the provocative presence of other elements.
But the properties of those periodic table big-hitters may be tempered or exaggerated by the presence of other key substances.
And a surplus of one or the other can cause unpredictable reactions when combined with other key elements.
Cynicism combined with Bigfeesium (Bf) always creates an unstable compound, and one usually accompanied by deposits of Crockite (Ck) and Moanium (Mn).
On the other hand, if there is a large presence of Optimism then Bigfeesium is more likely to be found in tight chemical bonds with Pridium (Pd) and Eioium (Ei.) The Boro periodic table is delicately, karmically, balanced between positively and negative charged chemical elements.
At the heavier, darker end of the spectrum are the toxic elements, highly volatile substances that react quickly and badly with shiny, lighter elements, often in a poisonous and corrosive way.
Along with Cynicism, traces of Typicaleum (Ty), Relegatium (Rl) and Liquidatium (Lq) are always present in every fan, even if buried deep inside what seem impervious layers of purest Brownlium (Bw) and Passionite (Ps).
But combined with the maverick catalyst of combustible Slavenite they can suddenly become unstable and react with trace elements of Moanium (Mn) and Booium (Boo) to spark a radio-active meltdown.
Meanwhile, the lighter more stable elements cluster around the opposite end of the table grouped beneath Optimism (Op).
Like their chemically mirrored counterweights they are also present in every Boro fan to some extent, usually close to the surface and relatively easily revealed.
The tell-tale rosy red tinge of deposits of Brownlium (Bw) can appear to indicate that Promotium (Pr), Cuprunium (Cp) are close by although that is not always the case.
That group also includes the historically rare and very expensive to extract elements Europium (Eu) and Glorium (Gm) and the universally present Gazettium (Gz).
Many of the other elements in the table are recently discovered, only revealed as the population of Planet Boro has evolved and techniques for finding and utilising new substances has improved.
Like a conventional periodic table the elements are broadly grouped around similar properties.
For instance, the small group of powerful productive elements bracketed in with Goalite (Gl) are important in forming sharp-edge cutting instruments and weapons.
They include Hicktonite (Hk) first isolated in the late 1960s when it was used experimentally to power a penalty run up that started near the Cenotaph and led to an energy exchange that propelled a football at speeds in excess of 200mph.
The elements grouped with Cultium (Cl) also share common traits. Bosco (Bs), Uwe (Uw) and Franquium (Fq) are not necessarily useful in their own right but are catalysts that can bring short-lived positive reactions from other compounds leaving smiles and large deposits of Eioium (Ei.) In the same vein, there are clusters of elements grouped around the indestructible Nailsite (Nl), the hardest substance known to man; Schemium (Sc) which easily links up with many other elements; the hard to pin down group based on tricky Wingium (Wg); and the solid, non-porous elements in the Stoppite (Sp) and Defencium (Df) groups.
Some elements - those associated with Gafferite (Gf) are relatively inert but their very presence can bring together a disorganised primordial soup of other elements into a short-lived compound that depending on the crucial ingredients and circumstances can produce results as diverse as Glorium (Gl) or Relegatium (Rl).
There are source elements that determine where new heroes come from, like Freeite (Ft), Jockite (Jk), the indigenous metal Teessidium (Ts) and Brazilium (Bz).
A crucial group of elements - unique to Planet Boro - are those inherent building blocks that together form a spiritual and cultural chassis on which all other compounds can be bolted: Holgatium (Hg), Ayresominium (Ay), Riversidium (Rv), Juninium (Tlf), Mogganite (Mg) and the transformative element Gibsonite (Gb).
Of course, the real game changer in the periodic table, the elements that can reconfigure a personality and a perspective are the warring elements Halffullium (Hf) and Halfemptium (Hm).
All the other elements are present in all Boro fans to some extent or another, even in tiny quantities.
Even the polar opposites of Slavenite and Brownlium are not mutually exclusive. Everyone has a trace of both and though they may be balanced in an uneven and contradictory stand-off a sudden reaction with a catalyst like Europium (Eu) or Liquidatium (Lq) can change the chemistry.
But with the so-called "glass elements" it is one or the other. Which one can intensify or nullify the effects of even the most volatile chemical reactions known to fan.
This is the element that prompts fans who are gloomy Chicken Run compounds comprised chiefly of Cynicism, Slavenite and Moanium to return from Carling Cup triumph and announce "it is papering over the cracks in the league."
Or, conversely, a foam fingered ra-ra made up of Optimisium, Brownlium and Pridium travel back from a relegation sealing drubbing of a team in chaos and declare: "Next year we'll stroll promotion."
Honestly, deconstruct your personality and psyche and look at how you bond with the club and other fans. Look what motivates you and how you react. Then look down the table and identify the integral elements of your make-up.
Or, try breaking down your Boro supporting friends (and enemies) in the same way. It's a game the whole terrace can play.
And remember, as we already agreed, that's science.
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|Publication:||Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)|
|Date:||Oct 25, 2011|
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