Wow. Just … wow. It is rare that a Classic lives up to the billing.…
I won’t begin, for an instant, to pretend that I didn’t expect Barça to win…
So much doubt, so much worry, so much anguish all at the roots of a moment of collective human frailty. When Barça lost to Valladolid this weekend past, it was more than a loss. It was like the starting pistol in a race to establish culpability. Something is wrong, whose fault is it. And we know something is wrong, because a history-making football club lost to a relegation side.
Whose fault is it, and oh my, Manchester City is coming to down with “only” a two-goal lead to overcome. By cracky, they can do that in their sleep, especially with Aguero back to fitness and in the lineup. Oh, my!
Football is us. It explains so much, really … the passion, the way we defend our teams and players, our views of those teams and players. It’s a game that we carry in our hearts and minds. It’s pure.
And because it is us, it makes us feel things that are in many ways, irrational. We take a player to heart so that when things happen, it feels like they happen to us, in a strange way. “How DARE they not give Messi the Ballon d’Or?! He is the best!”
It also makes us feel it more acutely when players we lionize are suddenly not those players any longer and sometimes stuff starts to make sense, even as you don’t really believe that it does, as you grasp for tenuous links to make seeming crazy talk make just a shard of sense.
What is the job of a football club? It depends on who you ask. To win? Okay. To make money? Sure. To provide a gentle place for its iconic players to be put out to pasture?
Hang on there, ace. Surely even the most devoted supporter of a player can see how that last isn’t even remotely compatible with that whole winning business.
On yet another level, a football club and the team that represents us, exists to meet a need that so many of us have — to feel something. We don the replica kit, find our way to a gathering place, or hunch over a laptop and a fuzzy stream that gets Whack-A-Moled by those pesky rights managers, and we are united in that one thing … Barça.
Every year when my new soci card arrives in the mail, it always feel like…
Or, corollary to that, ‘Why False 9 Isn’t a Viable System Anymore (At Least in Europe).’
“Was this trip really necessary,” muses the driver, gazing at the wrecked Ferrari after a trip to the local 24-hour grocery store for some chips became something much worse. Had chips at home, but wanted a certain kind, didn’t have to mash the throttle so hard, could have taken the Ford, dammit, dammit, dammit!
Here we all are, breathing an immense sigh of relief after the knowledge that our best player is going to be okay, and might even be fit enough to play on Sunday. But, for about an hour, from when he took the shot and crumpled to the pitch, everyone was thinking, This Is It.
Yep. Michael Jordan dominated basketball as Messi dominates football, indeed. And just as with Jordan, Messi comes with his own set of complexities that, if a coach isn’t careful, have the potential to become actual problems. And as with Jordan, there can be no doubt that Messi is the best player that any of us will ever see, to hell with those who say that he needs a World Cup. They’re wrong.
La Pulga ~ The Messi-ah ~ D10S ~ Magisterial ~ Sempre Messi. Last season, he…
You’re having this party, right, and you’re thinking of every possible thing that can happen, every permutation that can go into making your party a memorable one. You have all the right foods, great music, the occasion is right, it’s all working, all planned to perfection. You have all the bases covered, then something happens, and the party is suddenly elevated from sensational, to once-in-a-lifetime.
That was kinda what happened at the Camp Nou yesterday, an extraordinary series of events that elevated a maudlin, sad event into something celebratory and memorable. Pep Guardiola coached his last first team match at the Camp Nou. The plaudits have been raining from the heavens for some time now, some beautiful, some saccharine, some silly, some heartfelt. His players had said many things, made many gestures and through it all, there was also nonsense:
“I don’t even want to compare Messi to anyone else – it just isn’t fair.…