Hola, B´FooBers, and greetings from sunny Spain!
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.
On May 20, 2015, US Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch declared charges against fourteen FIFA officials, media managers and marketing executives, while federal and interpol agents swooped down upon organizational hubs from Miami to Zurich. Admist the scandal, Sepp Blatter has resigned as president of the organization, mere days after his re-election.
My fellow Americans, who were anticipating legal action against, oh, I don’t know, police brutality, anti-gay discrimination, warrant-less data searches, etc., etc., were stunned.
After all, as right-wing über-citizen Sean Hannity put it on his June 1 radio show: “I don’t like soccer. I just don’t” (1). Hannity went on to mispronounce FIFA as ‘fie-fa’. Just to show he don’t know.
The rest of the English-speaking media, meanwhile, rushed à la clusterfoo to the airwaves, desperate to explain why Americans shouldn’t switch the channel from C-SPAN to “CSI: Podunk” in terms we can understand – entertainment!
Buenos días, B’Foobers! It’s been a while, huh? I’ve been busy pursuing an imaginary career…
The World Cup nears its full samba-swing. As the group stage concludes, Spain (this year’s France!), Italy (this…
An American soccer fan lives a lonely life. It’s not as if Americans didn’t love them some organized sports. I live in a town, for instance, where middle-aged people ask perfect strangers to “teach them how to Bucky.” Prosperous landowners paint their barns kelly green and yellow. And it’s not as if my neighbors were provincial yahoos. Why, they travel all the way to Milwaukee to see the Brewers, and enjoy bier, wurst, and fromage, preferrably al fresco in the Piggly Wiggly parking lot.
“When I left Vagon,” began the commander-in-chief, “Something happened to me which was outside my own plans.”
“What was the accident?”
“It was not an accident really. It was the first stroke of a correction which I have had, and for which I am thankful. Do you know, I shall be talking about God a great deal, and this is a word which offends unholy people just as badly as words like ‘damn’ and so on offend the holy ones. What shall we have to do about it?”
“Just assume that we are the holy ones,” said the King, “and go on about your accident.”
How one feels after a match has nothing to do with what happens during the match and everything to do with what one thought before the match. Say three guys are sitting in a bar aprés loss:
“I never thought we could win silver,” says the first. “But I’m grateful for the run.”
“I didn’t know if we would win,” says the second. “But I’m bummed we lost.”
“I was sure we were going to win,” says the third. “Now I’m having an existential crisis.”
When the gods want to punish you, the saying goes, they answer your prayers — and the Gods of Football have, of late, been especially punitive. Looking to draw a soft penalty to finish off the clásico and the league along with it? Why, here’s three! (You take one, and your archrival will take the other two.) Praying that your club president will finally come to his senses and ship that mean ol’ coach back to the miserable island from which he came? Presto! (What are you sulking about? You’re still captain!) Ever daydream that one day you would be the Zamora-winning first-string keeper between the posts of a world-class team? Done and done! (No, I mean done. Right now, mid-match, of a derby, with a Champions tie in two days. No sweat, right? You’re at least pumped for another Copa final!)
The Managers: Current club Bayern München FC Barcelona España…
[Part II of an occasional series in which barely background-checked, community-center soccer coach SoMa provides a managerial perspective on Gerardo “Ta Ta” Martino and why he gotta be all like that. -Ed.]
As one of your media correspondents on all things fútbol, SoMa watches a lot of Spanish television. And while searching for an old “Santo” movie one August afternoon, I came across a presser of Gerardo Martino on Canal UniMundodeSport. I shot up, tumbling a bowl of Cheesie Blasts to the floor. The new dude! My first thought was — well, o.k., my first thought was, “Whadda-who?” My second thought, however, was: “Huh. He’s just like, I dunno, kinda … normal.”
This was a brilliant insight on my part, because later that very day ex-player, ex-coach and culé extraordinaire Charly Rexach himself described Barcelona’s new manager as … wait for it … “normal” . To which Gerardo Martino then demonstrated an almost Delphic sense of inner-awareness by responding, “Well, it seems I’m normal.” I know, right? You’re welcome!
While BFB readers are the most informed, insightful, and (surely) attractive in the whole World Wide Web, Gerardo Martino’s appointment as FCB’s new coach this August took many of us by surprise. However, your humble SoMa, who successfully led the Cheeseburg Lil’ Kickers to a 1-5 season this Fall (ba-bam!), is uniquely qualified to appraise Martino’s managerial virtues. In weeks to come, I will provide the occasional commentary on our new coach and why he gotta be all like that.