It just never gets old. I’m still enjoying the mood, the pictures, the memories of the year, and the simple act of thinking or saying: “We are the champions.” I haven’t even played any Queen yet, I’m still too buoyed by the trophy, by the glorious season we just had, and by knowing I don’t have to write another preview for several months. Aaaah, life is good.
99 points. 98 goals. Our 20th league title. This is wonderful. This is fantastic. This is monu-fucking-mental. Guardiola is so full of it he’s bursting at the seams if he thinks he owes us one. Owes us one!? We just won La Liga with 99 points, defeating an evil conglomeration of the Undead and practitioners of the Dark Arts, and we very nearly made it to the finals of the Champions League. I realize Guardiola really does feel that way, that he thinks he has failed us cules in some way, but he hasn’t. To suggest he has is, in my estimation, terrifically myopic and completely retarded.
Last year was unbelievably magnificent. 3 trophies! It had never been done in Spain before and to expect it to have happened again 12 months later is foolish. Could we have repeated it? Yes, but fortunately sports aren’t won by who is the most popular kid in school, but rather by actually competing on the field of play. And we didn’t get the breaks at the right time, didn’t finish off teams when we could have, and were bounced from two cup competitions despite winning the second leg 1-0. So it goes. And I’m completely satisfied with that.
I know how good we are and I want to win trophies, but I also know what it means to lose, to be the fan of a team that doesn’t achieve anything in a season, that comes up short in the big games or even in the little ones: I’m a Kansas Jayhawks fan (Northern Iowa? Bucknell?) and I’ve been following Barça for long enough to have lived several failures, some not quite as dramatic as the others. Sometimes your team loses. It happens. I know we’re not very used to it, but sometimes it does. And when that happens that doesn’t make the season a failure. Sometimes it can bring the successes into greater focus, pushing you towards understanding how fantastic winning a league really is.
Our team has been around for 111 years. Since November 29, 1899, when Joan Gamper and friends founded the club. In those years, we have won 20 league titles, including this most recent one. That’s right: 20. Not 90. Not 80. Not even 50. 20. Because of that, it’s impossible to say that this isn’t huge. We’ve only ever done this 19 times before! 11 of those have been since my birth, but only 4 have been since I became a fan.
I, for one, am ecstatic right now. It’s like I just ate 20 chocolate Easter Bunnies…at once. The Liga title is the most important one to me, the one that outweighs Champions League, Copa del Rey, and any other trophy combined. Not only that, though, but we also happened to win 3 other trophies with this current squad: UEFA Super Cup, Spanish Super Cup, and Club World Cup of Club Championship…World…Clubs. That’s freakin’ awesome and, really, no one can take away Pedro’s winner or Messi’s Chest of God or Bojan’s cheeky tap-in. Those are all part of this season, all part of what it meant to watch this squad rock out all year long.
Who can forget Ibra’s Clasico winner? Keita’s hat trick (and Zlatan’s cañonazo)? Or basically everthing Messi did? Guardiola, for his part, had another inspirational video to show the players before the Valladolid match. Naturally I’ll have to reproduce it here:
Whatever you think of Guardiola, he certainly inspires his boys. And, in a sense, he inspires me. Work hard, work harder, and when you’re done with all that, get back to work. Resting on laurels means you lose those laurels, so next yea we’ll see the same fire, the same wonder, the same brilliance, and the same dedication. It is the Guardiola way.