“Stop watching this and come play with me”
My father: “I can’t right now, I am watching a match. Why don’t you watch it with me instead?”
I vividly remember this conversation with my father because we still talk about it until this day.
There were around 15 minutes until the final whistle and my father’s local team needed just one goal to win a trophy. His team played well but time was running out. In stoppage time, his team received a corner after an impressive save from the opposition’s keeper. He told me that it was the last chance they were going to get with a look of disappointment on his face. He paused for a second and I could see his left hand shake. He looked back at me and said: “So, this must be it”.
My father was right, pretty much like he often is.
His local team scored a header from this corner and for a second everything went silent. During this second there wasn’t a single sound being generated by my father. After that second was done with, I saw my father do things I had never seen him do before.
When Cavani scored I believed that the inevitable happened. I was disappointed but I knew that it was coming. PSG needed just one goal for ‘mission impossible’ to turn into ‘mission failed’. It’s true, you know. This is what the players felt too. They felt like everything they had done for the first three goals was now pointless. It truly takes a lot out of you.
Neymar’s free-kick put me back into the spectrum of belief and disappointment. For a second, I phased out. My eyes were on the television but my mind was thinking of much deeper issues. Can the world be this crazy? It truly is a fascinating sport with many surprises but for something like this to happen in such short time you need everything in the universe to suddenly be aligned in your favor. Time was running out and I heard one of my friends yell: “Penalty!”
Neymar scored. Can this be happening?
This match made my mind fluctuate between belief and disappointment too many times. I believed again. It was stoppage time and cules around the world were all fearing the horrors of a 5-1 scoreline. Men on the field, however, were more motivated by their fear than ever. Ter Stegen would have went to war if it meant somehow getting that last goal. Neymar was all over the place trying to create something against a PSG team that would’ve put all 11 players on the goal line if it meant somehow securing a 5-1 at this point.
More than ever, I remembered the look of disappointment on my father’s face. But, I also remember what he said next: “So, this must be it”.
Unlike my father, my hand wasn’t shaking. In fact, both my hands were almost trying to stop my head from exploding. I was the only Barcelona fan in the room that night. But the most beautiful thing about this night is that you could feel what every Barcelona fan around the world was doing. You could feel that in that specific moment, you were not alone. From the man who was up at 4 am in Tokyo jumping up and down to the woman in California who was streaming the match behind her boss’ back, cules around the world all became one.
Neymar went in for the final cross of the match. On the other end, Sergi Roberto and Pique were waiting for the ball. Yes, exactly, what? Pique and Roberto? Why?
No one truly understood and a second later they realized that they will never truly care.
Sergi’s ball went in and I felt the same silence I felt when I was with my father. Millions of cules around the world paused for one second after the goal was scored. In fact, if you watch any reaction video, you will see that there was a moment of pure disbelief. In such a moment your mind does not function after so many fluctuations. It shuts down. Your body freezes because it knows that it is about to generate enough adrenaline to help you walk or swim all the way to Catalunya.
The second was over and I heard loud footsteps. I just found out that my neighbor upstairs is also a Barcelona fan and his second of disbelief is just as over as mine.
You lose control of your entire body. You start to make to quickest physical decisions of your life.
Where do you run? Do you run backwards? Wait, was it offside? Be careful, there is a wall there. What do you do with your right hand? What about your left hand? No no no, go watch the celebration. LOOK AT THAT HERO TER STEGEN. You can feel the excitement through your teeth. You body struggles because you have a lot more running, yelling and acrobats to do before you are actually done with all of this accumulated energy. Suddenly, you’re a force of nature and you cannot be controlled. Suddenly, you’re on top of the world.
Luis Enrique said: “That last goal was scored by a fan who believed on the other side of the world”. Lucho, as always, had a pretty good point.
When the referee blew the final whistle millions around the world contemplated what had just happened. I was just one person among all of these millions. I stopped running and decided to sit down to drink some water.
I received a text message. Interestingly enough, it was from my father.
The message read: “Football is a beautiful game, son”.