Lately we’ve talked about Diwali, Eid, Thanksgiving, now Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year’s and somewhere in there, I’m sure, the pagan Winter Solstice. The holidays… when coworkers upshift their dynamic from ‘dysfunctional’ to ‘delusional’, when parents push their children onto the laps of strange old men and, for us culés, the first Clásico. Now, SoMa is not particularly religious, but any time of year that features food, décor and/or buying her presents she is too lazy or cheap to buy for herself lifts her spirits. So she dedicates this Special Holiday post to the BFB faithful.
During the holidays it is very important to be grateful for the crappy cookies your senile neighbor brought over, for the lousy plastic toy when your brother got the super-cool, real-looking version, and the fact that Dad will probably not pass out until all of your relatives have gone home. So here are some things that I’m grateful for this season:
1. GolTV’s ‘balanced’ budget.
GolTV might be available in high-definition, but their budget is still very much lo-fi. This means that GolTV overspent on El Clásico like Fiorentino Pérez on the ‘International Male’ catalogue (Soccer Star Edition). As a result, they put the match on constant replay, compress it into an hour-spot summary, and review the highlights during the otherwise completely lame ‘La Liga 360’ program. Even post-Osasuna, GolTV gives the gift that keeps on giving!
Whenever I catch an El Clásico replay on GolTV (or Fox Sports en Español, or ESPN Deportes or Argentina’s TyC), it’s always well into the second half. Normally, this is a bummer, since all goals are scored and all cards are given and all suspense has petered out. But Jeffren’s goal, the Manita mambo and the Ramos Rumble all in the final minutes mean that I can still settle in at Xavi’s substitution for some serious soccer action.
3. My VCR
Our recording device is old school. But not in a cool way, like Coltrane on vinyl. No, I mean old, like the remote doesn’t work and it really is hard to set and you have to select ‘slow play’ or else you will wind up with 60 minutes of El Clásico and 30 minutes of husband threatening you with divorce because he cannot see the end of El Clásico. But it is so satisfying to hear the bobbin turn while you rewind and forward and rewind and forward to see CRo & Co. get taken off the ball by Xaviniesta Inc. over and over and over…
During the holidays, once you are grateful enough for what you have you can forget about all that and go about pining for what you have not. So here is SoMa’s get-me list:
1. El Clásico clips set to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s ‘Carol of the Bells’.
In general, the taconazo leaves me colder than when I sneak cigarettes on my porch in a holiday stress-induced nicfit. It brings back bittersweet memories of a certain Swede. But those Barça boys made a believer out of me. And if I am going to have to listen to the Latter Day Saints chime ‘ding dong’ in the drugstore while I search for a replacement set of cheapo Chinese Christmas lights, I want to be able to picture those picture-perfect tiki-taka passes.
2. Dani Alves signs the damn contract already.
Santa baby, hurry down the chimney with a fat contract for my Brazilian back, because I’ll be having a blue (whoo-whoo-whoo-whoo) Christmas without him. Don’t let Dani leave the building!
3. My son gets picked to go on the field with the team for the pre-game picture.
What could make a mother more proud than seeing her school-age son clinging shyly to the hand of a soccer superstar as they stroll out onto a roaring Camp Nou pitch? Especially because then she can pull rank as a parent and hip-check the child out of the way in the stadium tunnel and get her face out there, too. Look out, Jimmy Jump, I’m going viral!
New Year’s Resolutions
1. To be gracious
Was it an embarassment of soccer riches? Or the embarassment of not being rich enough? In any case, Spain and Portugal are out for hosting the upcoming World Cups, Russia and Qatar in. Now, we Americans old enough to remember Ronnie forget who he was remember Russia. The first evil empire, and what not. And for all you poli-sci majors, they’re o.k. now. They’re even mad at us for being mean to them when they totally thought we were BFFs (Vladmir, it was Hillary! I had nothing to do with that cable!)
But Qatar I’m not sure about, except that it is not oatmeal or those conscientious objector-types that I always confuse with the Amish. I’m pretty sure it’s a country in the Middle East, and I’m pretty sure they are sitting on gas and oil, and I’m pretty sure that on top of that they’ve built a first-class, kick-ass shopping mall. And for the sake of global sportsmanship, I resolve not to have this photo remind me of so many elementary-school Christmas pageants:
2. To be charitable
How catty of me, to wonder if Spanish soccer WAGS are just in it for fame and fortune. Sara Carbonero is clearly a journalistic professional who shares a deep spiritual and sporting connection with Iker. Piqué must really, really like that ‘Waka Waka’ song. And why shouldn’t Puyi get a post-match lockerroom visit from somebody younger than Sofia of Greece? They probably shared intense stares over the Paul Mitchell counter at El Corte Inglés. I resolve to be more generous towards human beings of my gender, and not suspect mercenary motives. Bikini babes have feelings, too! It’s just not feminist.
3. To remember that the holidays are magical for children
Thus I resolve to not shout ‘Forza!’ when my son’s kindergarten soccer team, dominated by little girls named Sara and Rachel, decide that they want to call themselves the ‘Dolphin Puppies’. There is nothing wrong or lame or unsporting about liking soccer and dolphins and puppies. Maybe my example of graciousness will also persuade the Hunky Soccer Husband to not ricochet the ball off the sideline in a sad display of his own glory days on the plaza and intimidate the high school girl who’s coaching because she ‘loves kids’. Everyone hates a too-involved sports parent.