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.