Exile in Batville

Ah, Spain … land of sunshine, serrano ham and guilt-free smoking … as well as Felliniesque personal interactions, Kafkaesque bureaucracies and   Spielbergian cucarachas. At first, you fill your digital camera with images of wedding-cake cathedrals and futuristic Calatrava bridges; later, you seethe as yet another technicolor-haired widow elbows her way in front of you in line; and finally, you, too, are packing in a four-course meal at 2 p.m. and telling (and being told by) total strangers ‘vete a la mierda’ without a second thought.

So it’s Silly Season again (or at least until next week or so). Over the next few posts I’ll bring some Spanish Silliness to BFB. No in-depth coverage, no gotcha! interviews, no perceptive insights. Promise. Just few lighthearted observations from my recent travels to Batville And Back.

Silliest Soccer Headline: ‘Spain Smells Like Messi’

‘España no huele a ajo, sino a Messi’ (Spain doesn’t smell like garlic, it smells like Messi’); text selected and translated from an interview with Ann Gottlieb, world-renown professional perfumist, in ABC 17 June 2010.

ABC:    ‘The intellectual Victoria Beckham has said that Spain smells like garlic. Have you detected anything like this here?

Gottlieb: Absolutely not. To say that Spain smells like garlic is neither physically possible nor true. I can’t imagine what she was thinking about when she said that.

ABC: So, what does Spain smell like?

Gottlieb: Like Messi!

ABC: Are you referring to the soccer player? After or before the game? Because it really wouldn’t be the same …

Gottlieb: I mean Messi as an icon at the top of his game, and I can imagine a Messi fragrance that would be deep, rich and warm, with a spark of congeniality. Memorable!

Silliest Soccer Sighting: The Eurocup

Imagine walking out of your rented flat in a mixed-use building, one use of which you strongly suspect to be of ill repute … past the Chinatown grocers, overstuffed booksellers and sex-shop parlors … to the Art Nouveau Estació del Nord where your train-crazed sons insist you breakfast …  and seeing this in the parking lot:

Well, this certainly seems soccer-related, so you pause for a moment and see a small press corps surrounding a rotund balding person, so you take a picture of him too:

(You later identify this person as Valencia CF’s former footballer and current sports director, Fernando Gómez)

And then since nothing else is really going on you start to wander towards the depot when you spot something shiny on a little folding table next to the bus. There doesn’t seem to be any security besides a guy standing there looking bored, and when you nudge your four-year old towards the silver he just shrugs so you take another picture (four-year old edited out in order to protect the mischievous but innocent):

Silliest Soccer Proposal: 600K a Head

I asked the Hunky Soccer Husband which was more important to a Spaniard in a World Cup year: his club or the national team? He replied: ‘The club, because the national team never makes it to the quarterfinals anyway’. This can’t-do approach is quite Spanish in its humility (compare, for instance, the plucky gumption of the underdog Superbowl Saints’ Who Dat? versus the fatalist Deixem la pell [We’ll do the best we can!] of Champions semifinalist Barça). The June issue of Ronda, Iberian Airlines’ in-flight magazine, contains an interview with Xavi Hernández in which the mundialista midfielder expresses pretty much the same idea: ‘It’s nice to be a favored team this year, but historically we never seem to get very far’.

So the higher-ups at the Selección have come up with a special pick-me-up: 600,000 euros for every member of La Roja if Casillas lifts the Cup. This arose as a subject for debate on ‘La noche en 24 horas’ with Vicente Vallés on Televisión Española (TVE). It’s kind of a CNN ‘Situation Room’-like program, except with a more charismatic anchor, less seizure-producing graphics and viewer messages via Facebook read live on-air. Here are some of my favorite responses from the Roja faithful:

It’s an outrage when the country faces economic catastrophe!

Football is a world unto itself, separate from national economic affairs.

I hope we don’t win the World Cup, it would be very expensive.

And:

They should all be satisfied with a good jabungo.

Nothing silly ’bout that!

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Written by:

SoccerMom obsesses over FCB and this blog instead of grading papers, burning dinner and/or raising her small children. She blames a Spanish husband and easy access to Hispanic-targeted cable sports channels for her football addiction and consequent failure as a professor, housekeeper and mother.

156 Comments

  1. Kari
    June 8, 2010

    The second goal:

    *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcZ03I8iNIg

    Freaking GOLAZO!

  2. Jnice
    June 8, 2010

    Apparently Iniesta felt a little discomfort in the back of his right thigh and requested the change. It doesn’t seem bad, but I guess we’ll know more after the match. Here’s hoping for it to be discomfort and nothing more.

    • Kari
      June 8, 2010

      Let’s hope so!

  3. Jnice
    June 8, 2010

    LOL @ Pedro

    • Kari
      June 8, 2010

      That just ‘cuz he’s so used to seeing Abidal or Maxwell there… 😀

      • Ryan
        June 8, 2010

        Look at how much P! is running! Gotta love that Barcelona pressing.

  4. Corrine
    June 8, 2010

    xavi off please no sense in playing him more than 45 mins in a friendly

  5. Kari
    June 8, 2010

    A totally bad@ss player who’s the star player on his club team and has really intense eyes is about to come on.

    The other sub is Cesc FabregaswhoisNOTgoingtoBarcaOMG.

  6. Jnice
    June 8, 2010

    That was selfish from Villa.

  7. June 8, 2010

    Seriously, Villa has a cannon, he, messi and Ibra, the hardest shooting front line in the World!!

  8. Kari
    June 8, 2010

    Spain Fk. GOAL!

  9. June 8, 2010

    omg i just celebrated a E.E player scoring, silly me

    • Kari
      June 8, 2010

      Shunned!

  10. Kari
    June 8, 2010

    A move off the training grown. Took a couple of deflections as well. Unlucky.

  11. Hilal
    June 8, 2010

    U think the Barca players feel weird celebrating with Madrid players?

    Haha. Alonso did take one for the team there though. Right in the face… ouch!

  12. Kari
    June 8, 2010

    Navas, RamosUGH, the that guy who players for that English team are on

    Arbeloa, Silva and Xavi are off.

  13. lovelymofo
    June 8, 2010

    I can’t believe I forgot this was on. Iniesta is the awesome. Everything I’ve read has said that he was subbed as a precaution. Lets hope so, I think this WC is gonna be all about Iniesta.

    Are we gonna see Torres today?

    • Kari
      June 8, 2010

      It doesn’t look like we are. Considering how this American commentator on ESPN has been fawning over Torres, we’d have seen him warming up already.

      There is still time for him to make an appearance though.

      • lovelymofo
        June 8, 2010

        Ugh, ESPN commentators are annoying. Last year during the Euros, in the final match when Torres scored, one of them said something like “and he celebrated like he always does [by sucking his thumb], because he is El Niño.” Which you know, fail. He only did that to celebrate his nephew’s birth.

        But blah blah blah. Torres is warming up!

      • Ryan
        June 8, 2010

        Torres is warming up!

  14. Hilal
    June 8, 2010

    God. Spain have an insane team. Look at the players coming off and who they are being replaced with. No other team in the world comes close to this squad. It will be a crying shame if they dont win the WC.

  15. June 8, 2010

    Fabs biotch, our 4th midfielder runs shit lol

  16. Jnice
    June 8, 2010

    Somebody just scored. 😀

    • Kari
      June 8, 2010

      Haha!

  17. Kari
    June 8, 2010

    GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL! FABR-GUY WHO IS NOT COMING HERE!

  18. lovelymofo
    June 8, 2010

    Also, great write up SoccerMom! I’m heading to Spain either at the end of the year or early next year and I’m gonna look forward to insulting random people. And stalking Barça, naturally.

    • Kari
      June 8, 2010

      Looks like Torres is warming up, so you’ll get to see him

    • lovelymofo
      June 8, 2010

      Yup. I love his play. I downloaded the Sevilla-EE match when Sevilla won, mostly for him, but also because EE lost. Yay!

  19. June 8, 2010

    Here comes el nino, first game since april!!

  20. lovelymofo
    June 8, 2010

    Yay for Torres! I have missed watching him play. Do we know if Del Bosque is gonna go for a Villa-Torres front line?

  21. Kari
    June 8, 2010

    Marvilla is coming off for Torres.

    I don’t like how these ESPN commentators are underrating Villa. Still, I understand all the hype. He DID score the winning goal in the Euros.

    • Jnice
      June 8, 2010

      Yeah, they still act like Villa isn’t on Nando’s level.

    • lovelymofo
      June 8, 2010

      Eh, take it as ESPN commentators not knowing as much about futbol as they think they do. I love Torres, but I think Villa tends to be more effective for the Spanish team. And actually, Villa benefits when Torres plays with him, he gets more space.

    • jordi™
      June 8, 2010

      The reason is Simple, torres plays in england 😉

      • lovelymofo
        June 8, 2010

        Plus he’s pretty. 😀

      • Kari
        June 8, 2010

        That he is. That he is.

        But Villa > Nando IMO…who just scores.

        P! with the assist. Commentators going crazy

  22. Jnice
    June 8, 2010

    Busquets has had a solid match.

    • Kari
      June 8, 2010

      Totally agree.

      People only notice his faults but don’t appreciate his good attributes. He’s been really good today.

  23. jordi™
    June 8, 2010

    Torres looks like a kid again with his haircut.

  24. June 8, 2010

    I think Fernando has a bit to much EPL in him, he needs to remember Spain is a ‘pass first’ type team

  25. lovelymofo
    June 8, 2010

    Announcers on the Spanish feed say Iniesta is back on the bench and doesn’t look worried. So, that means good news. I hope.

  26. Kari
    June 8, 2010

    Busi gets decked and look at that! He doesn’t roll around and just gets back up.

    See that Busi basher?

    It’s getting silly now. Fouls everywhere. Ramos pisses me off.

    Marchena for Puyi

  27. June 8, 2010

    great by P!, happy to see Fernando score

  28. jordi™
    June 8, 2010

    yay pedro assist, el nino gol

  29. Jnice
    June 8, 2010

    Unselfish from Pedro. WOW! I thought he was going to shoot.

    • Kari
      June 8, 2010

      well, I guess you thought wrong! Pedro! is growing right in front of our very eyes.

      I think I might cry…

  30. lovelymofo
    June 8, 2010

    Isn’t it awesome to see Pedro! play with la seleccion? Also glad to see Torres scoring.

    Oh man, I can’t wait for Friday!!

    • Jnice
      June 8, 2010

      So awesome! I can’t wait, either.

  31. Euler
    June 8, 2010

    That was very generous play by Pedro! He could have forced it up 4-0 late but instead placed on Torres’s foot. Very nice to integrate Torres back into the squad.

    It’s speaks volumes about Pedro that he’s getting so much playing time this late before the club.

    One can see Pedro and Navas being key substitutes for Spain depending on tactics.

  32. Kari
    June 8, 2010

    Poor Poland… Now I see what other teams feel when they play us. 😀

  33. June 8, 2010

    ****http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2yZ_I63COo&translated=1

    this is a pretty cool pre world cup advert

  34. Jnice
    June 8, 2010

    PEDROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  35. June 8, 2010

    We are amazing, as is Pedro. First International goal

  36. Kari
    June 8, 2010

    YAAAAAAAAAAAY! P!!! GOLAZO!

    • lovelymofo
      June 8, 2010

      Wooo! That was awesome. And Navas almost scores. Wouldn’t it be awesome if Spain played every match like this in the WC? It would be epic!

      • Kari
        June 8, 2010

        I know~~!! I can’t wait! I can’t wait! I can’t wait! El Mundial awaits!

  37. jordi™
    June 8, 2010

    Pedro is such a natural finisher, the varations f his finishes are scary

    • Jnice
      June 8, 2010

      I know right.

  38. Kari
    June 8, 2010

    Spain still going. This is just cruel on so many levels.

    And I love it. 😀

  39. June 8, 2010

    Things are just getting silly. Poland ARE NOT a bad team guys, La Furia Roja are just that good!!!

  40. Kari
    June 8, 2010

    At least Poland are being sporting about this. They could easy start kicking the Spanish player. If they get a goal, at least they’ve got my respect

    • Kari
      June 8, 2010

      *don’t get a goal

      What’s up with me today?

      • lovelymofo
        June 8, 2010

        You have WC on the brain? That’s my excuse this entire week.

      • Kari
        June 8, 2010

        That and I think the second Spain goal did it.

        FRIDAY! FRIDAY! FRIDAY!

  41. lovelymofo
    June 8, 2010

    You know what makes me giggle? That Cesc is Spain’s number 10 and is nowhere near being their best player.

    • Jnice
      June 8, 2010

      LOL, like Gallas for Arsenal.

  42. Ryan
    June 8, 2010

    And now we see how a full strength Spain plays! 6-0!

    • lovelymofo
      June 8, 2010

      Shades of Barça, no? 😀

      • Ryan
        June 8, 2010

        Yeah, although this team shoots more from outside the box. It’d be nice to see Barca take some shots like Navas or Alonso does! (on target, mind you…)

  43. lovelymofo
    June 8, 2010

    Okay, so in preparation of the WC, I’ve decided to make myself some CD mixes of footy related songs. Either songs about footy or songs used in footy commercials.

    Any suggestions?

    • Stephen
      June 8, 2010

      Don’t know of any, but that GOD-AWFUL waka-waka crap 🙂

      but the Game of life – ricky martin, was by far my favorite, France 1998 🙂

      if ya find more. pass ’em over.

  44. Ciaran
    June 8, 2010

    By the way, Fiorentina have confirmed that Keirrison is not wanted for next season. Does anyone want him?

    • Ciaran
      June 8, 2010

      Who wants some Keirrison…?
      *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JgsteRk2NE&feature=related

    • Jnice
      June 8, 2010

      I wonder where he will go. Can we use him in preseason at least?

  45. Stephen
    June 8, 2010

    Thanks Soccermom, this was a delightful read 🙂 entertaining, esp the Messi bit, huge change from what America would smell like (which I dare not say). Looking forward to more.

  46. catleo
    June 8, 2010

    Didn’t get to watch the game, but loved the post soccer mom, as good a piece of travel writing as I have ever read — I must out myself as a soccer mom as well, but married to a German, and avoiding the paper corrections like mad…have to learn Spanish and then Catalan though. The match commentary was priceless, it was almost as if I had seen the game. Still didn’t get to correcting those damned papers though.

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