Going Gently Into that Good Night, Smiling

I began writing regularly about FC Barcelona in 2007. The 6 years since have been a learning experience that has enriched my life. Besides the daily interactions with “real life” friends I have met through this blog and its prior incarnation at The Offside, I have been exposed to a wide variety of information, cultural perspective, and emotions that I wouldn’t otherwise have encountered. I have written book reviews, movie reviews, silly one-act plays, diatribes about power and transparency, and countless previews (both historically accurate and patently false versions). I have had my moments of irrepressible idiocy and, I hope, some moments of true insight. Most importantly, for me at least, is that I regret nothing.

What has been a journey through the Rijkaard, Guardiola, and Tito years is a journey that must come to an end. We have watched Messi grow into the world-dominating force he is. We have laughed when Pique pantses Bojan. We have cried for Abidal and Tito. We have thrown our hands up in triumph at manitas. We have jumped up and down, chanting our fool heads off at clasicos, win or lose. There have been more victories than losses, more happiness than sadness. Iniesta has emerged as a riveting magician. Xavi and Puyol have become the bulwarks of a generation. Busi is even outgrowing the bulk of his theatrical obstinacy.

When I first began blogging, it was in the second bedroom at my parents’ condo. I did it partially out of boredom, partially because I love to write, and partially because there were no bars nearby in that suburban land. Shortly after I penned the words “Welcome to the Barcelona Offside Blog,” I met the woman who would, 4 years later, become my wife. Shortly before writing the words, “Welcome to Barcelona Football Blog,” I moved in with that woman. The blog grew over the resulting two years. It didn’t hurt that the team was an all-destroying machine of victory and fun, but I’d like to think I had something to do with it as well. Shortly after Barça defeated Real Madrid 3-2 at the Camp Nou to secure a dramatic Supercopa victory, I married that woman I had met and then moved in with. And now, not quite two more years later, after the ups and downs (mostly ups) of seeing Guardiola replaced by Tito and once again shooting into the stratosphere of a league win and a Champions League semi-final, shortly after I write these words, we will welcome our first child.

It is not because of this, but in conjunction with this, that I have made the decision to retire from blogging. My pension plan will be crap, but it’s fully vested, so at least that. I want to focus on my family, on my personal aspirations that lie outside of the blogging world. I am also tired. I want to wake up in the morning and have my first thought be something other than “What should my next post be about?” I don’t want to read the news and think through how I will write about this rumor or that. I want to read about my team without considering the full gamut of what this means tactically, politically, and monetarily. I want to put Barça gear on my child and giggle like a normal parent, rather than consider how this can be worked into a Bojan joke. I want to sit in a bar with friends and laugh at Cesc Fabregas.

This morning was beautiful. The temperature is rising to the mid 90s throughout the day and high humidity is expect, but just after 7 this morning, it was a pleasant, sunny 75. I smiled wide as I walked to the subway. There wasn’t even that noxious subway smell when I descended the steps. The platform was nice and cool. As I waited for the train (delayed), I pulled out my Kindle and began reading. About Laos. Because I can.

The title of this post references Dylan Thomas, but twisted so that I do not have to rage against anything. I will not rage against the dying of the light. No, I will likely lurk here from time-to-time, grinning like an addled grandpa as the little ones surpass him in every way, because while I will be turning off the lights, there are betters and brighters just behind me to turn them on again. Some day I know I will return to reading about Barcelona, but for now, it is The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, it is National Geographic, it is the novels I have neglected over the years, it is The Little Prince on repeat for the little one.

Part of what makes this such an easy decision, such a correct decision, is that I know I’m leaving this blog in amazingly capable hands. The blog team that has been assembled is like The Avengers multiplied by the X-Men plus Captain Planet. Keyboards clack, brilliance comes out. I’m sure there will be substantial changes here, but I am confident that what will end up happening will be worth your daily visits and your occasional commentary. This is an amazing moment in the club’s history and whether or not the team and administration are able to seize it will have no bearing on the greatness of the writing that will continue to appear here.

I am happy and I want to end this with happiness: I will no longer be writing here, but I will always have Barcelona in my heart. My father, months after my wedding, showed me a picture of me signing the marriage license right before I went to dress in my finery for the ceremony. Yeah, I was wearing a Barça jersey when I got married.

Take care, it’s been fun.

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Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in Germany with his wife and daughter.


  1. May 30, 2013

    The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

    Ooh, that’s a great book! I highly recommend it to everyone.

    I’ve known about your impending fatherhood for a while now, but let me be the first to publicly congratulate you on the imminent arrival of Baby Yaya! 😉 (What?)

    And I do hope that you might feel inspired to write one last banquillo before you (not) fade away. Please?

  2. May 30, 2013

    What blitzen said. You are the reason that I am here. Still not sure whether to kiss you or kick you for that. Still recall our meeting at a women’s roller derby match, and thinking that you looked pretty much like I knew that you would.

    A million thank yous for everything.

    Personally, I am wrestling with “Citizens,” that excellent chronicle of the French Revolution. It’s also a book that with its almost 10-pound weight, makes as eloquent an argument for a Kindle as I have ever seen.

    Good luck with everything, and I think spawn will be named …. Spawn. And it will be awesome. And his first word will be manita. Yes.

  3. May 30, 2013

    Your writing has always made me feel like I know you. And yes, I hope that is more because of your skill and personality shining through your sentences than because of my own mental problems.

    Thank you for everything, Isaiah.

    On the novel front I am reading for the umpteenth time Tom Wolfe’s “Man in Full”. I never cease to enjoy that book.

  4. May 30, 2013

    First, Congratulations ! I must say I did/do enjoy what you had to say about our club. So thank you. And besides your writing I must say that I do remember the La Liga Weekly podcasts which were much entertainment when you were in there defending our colors.
    Thanks again!

  5. May 30, 2013

    Well, if we are all sharing, I am still working my way through a collection of journalist Marie Colvin’s finest work “On the Front Line”.

    And just got around to reading the article on the “Galacticos” from the last FourFourTwo. Interesting tidbit, apparently Del Bosque didn’t have a lot of say about what squad to choose for games, since star power was so much more important to Perez than tactics.

  6. Jnice
    May 30, 2013

    Congrats! And thank you for everything, Isaiah.

    P.S. I wouldn’t have been able to destroy you in FIFA if you hadn’t started blogging 😀

  7. May 30, 2013

    It’s been more than a pleasure. I wish you the best in everything you do.

  8. Alexinho
    May 30, 2013

    Keeping it brief. Thank you, Isaiah. Have loved the reading over the years, and will miss it. All the best to you and yours

  9. Barca_StoDgo
    May 30, 2013

    Thank you so much for your writing Isaiah! You are one of my favorite people to read online and you will be missed! Congratulations on your child and once again, moltes gracies!

  10. andrecito
    May 31, 2013

    awesome…thanks for all your hard work:)

  11. Roberto Senyera
    May 31, 2013

    Best wishes to you and your family, Isaiah.

  12. IamXavi6
    May 31, 2013

    Dude, all the very best with everything. You have been an absolute superstar since I came here 3+ years ago after my original fcbnews.com blog stopped.

    I wish you all the very best, thanks for all the writing, opinions and well structured critiques on one of the most influencial sporting clubs in the world.

    All the very best.

  13. All good things must come to an end, I guess.

    Congratulations, Thank you, and good luck Isaiah!

    P.S. – That you got married in an FCB jersey is the real story here. Awesomeness.

  14. Ultraculé
    May 31, 2013

    Many thanks for the space.
    Hoping that we will still hear from you in the comments’ space from time to time as it’ll not have the burden of commitment of being a mod or a writer. After all this is the house that you built. Cheers!

  15. CuleToon
    May 31, 2013

    I’ve just seen Valdés’ press conference on TV. Frankly, it’s been one of the most cryptic and uninformative pressers I’ve seen, both on the part of Valdés and on the part of the press (contrary to what was said, he accepted questions after his statement). We don’t even know when he’ll leave and how, although I would say that his intention his to stay until next year or, speculating a little more, that if he is to leave this year he wants to leave for free.

    How strange are all these days! The only thing I’ve detected clearly is the feeling that something goes wrong, that something smells bad…

    Lets see what Puyol has to say in about six hours time (he was there together with Xavi and Iniesta; there was no one else).


    • Alexinho
      May 31, 2013

      Difficult to interpret because for some reason Barca’s official Youtube channel does not translate to English, but the excerpts translated for me seemed quite vague. @barcastuff’s primary takeaway (only “Official” tweet) is that Valdes stays until his contract expires next summer.

      But it seems highly unusual that that will be the case, if his intentions of not renewing now are so public. On the other hand, the notion of having him stay and then leave on a free next summer does seem to validate the nature of the rumors surrounding GK this summer. If Reina is the primary option, well, that to me only sounds valid because he is ex-Barca himself, and there is not enough buzz around other keepers (Ter Stegen, etc.) to make me believe that they are serious targets at the moment.

      Was worried about Puyol’s press conference coming up, but @barcastuff just tweeted per EMD that he will only dash transfer rumors and talk about his injury. Seems weird to call a press conference about that, but if that’s the case it’s a relief, I suppose.

    • May 31, 2013

      Basically Valdes said that money was never the issue and he expects to stay and see out the last year of his contract, with the implication that if the club decides it is better to go ahead and find a new keeper now he would be OK with that as well. I expect that between the Neymar purchase and the (hopefully imminent) signing of a CB, the club will be happy to postpone buying a GK until next year. We already know that Tito wants him to stay. Pinto has another year on his contract as well and is in excellent form, so it’s not like we are desperate to get someone new in right now.

  16. AJ_10
    May 31, 2013

    I stumbled into this blog, along with the offside in 2010. It is only after that ,that I felt confident to call myself a cule. Before that, I was just an ordinary fan.

    This blog, your creation, with all it’s different styles in writing, is, for me, the best site on the internet. ( I’m probably biased considering I’m a cule) I enjoyed every post, even if I didn’t agree with them. So I thank you.

    Thank you for all you have done. Your posts will be missed.
    Congratulations on the family. May our life be filled with the hapinness of the manita!

    PS. Thanks for the links. Awesome reading material for the summer.

  17. May 31, 2013

    The smart thing to do would be to keep Valdez till next year AND get Ter Stegen now. Any new keeper is going to need time to adapt, what better way then to slowly work him into the team and have him learn from the keeper who knows the system the best.

  18. SoccerMom
    May 31, 2013

    Oh Isaiah, thank you so much for everything! I stumbled across BFB while trying to figure out what h. was muttering about every weekend from August to May, plus Wednesdays in cup seasons, and the last 10 minutes of TVE’s “Telediario” … and once I got brave enough to toss in my 2 cents in the Comments fountain … to develop a very bizarre alter personality obsessed with extemporizing on all things blaugrana.

    Truly, Isaiah, if it weren’t for you I’d be a contented wife and mother tending to my azaleas and attending the occasional little-league subdivision-soccer match. So, *&^%$@ you for that.

    The best feeling in the world is sitting on a quilt on a Sunday afternoon watching BeIn Sports with a little head-bobbly person drooling all over a Barça onesie.


  19. kosby
    May 31, 2013

    “Yeah, I was wearing a Barça jersey when I got married.” -haha brilliant !

    Thanks though, for all your posts and this space.

  20. Dani_el
    May 31, 2013

    Thank you for creating along Kxevin this space for us to share our love for Barça. Thanks for your many posts and opinions, and for being so commited to this blog. Congrats for your son and family. I hope you keep commenting from now and then.

    Best of luck!

  21. Ryan
    May 31, 2013

    Thanks for everything Isaiah! I think what I liked most was the frantic deluge of posts and pictures you’d put on BFB whenever a Clasico loomed. So much fun to read about and feel the passion you have for FCB 🙂

    In regards to having more time to read now, I’ve been really enjoying Murakami’s “Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World,” so if you’re looking for another to put on the list, I’d recommend that!

  22. Josep
    May 31, 2013

    Much love, lil bro. Smoke one #420520

    But for real, I always loved your previews, and your BANQUETS, and all that jazz. You’re a great writer, and don’t forget to bring my Skittles tomorrow.

  23. tutomate
    May 31, 2013

    Thank you for BFB, for The Offside, for El Banquillo. For everything.

  24. Miguel
    May 31, 2013

    Awwww a little baby Norbertus.

    Congratulations. And thank you.

  25. Barka
    May 31, 2013

    I liked your previews. Thanks for everything.

  26. Barcaleya
    June 1, 2013

    Can’t believe you’re leaving BFB, Isaiah.

    But your blog [this] and you guys saved my life many years back when I was dying from boredom and had no one to watch footie with.

    Those were fun, fun times! But I am sooo excited for you and am looking forward to having your baby join us for matches.

    She’s going to be a heartbreaker.


  27. otamir
    June 3, 2013

    Thank you Isaiah.
    For me, your writing here has become an indispensable part of being a Barça fan.
    All the best!

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