I have no agenda against Rafa Benitez. Yes, I have pointed fun at his website, one dollar eBook, and zonal marking system and he did coach Liverpool, but I also recall his successful years at Valencia and think he’s a decent man. Still, a 0-4 loss at home in El Clasico to Barcelona is a pretty bad start to his tenure: not quite 0-5 at the Camp Nou, but pretty bad.
And more than a few things stand out. Continue reading “The Benitez Bad Aftertaste Clasico Recap” »
Sigh. The last five years have been pretty dreamy. No, not in the sense Real Madrid has won title after title. Rather, we’ve at least been close to winning title after title. We’ve been a respectable second place. After the depths of the Galactico era, this was a nice relief. Capello, Schuster and Mou coached teams to titles. More importantly, under Mou, Madrid started to sign and field coherent teams with strong player at every position. The Zidane y Pavon policy was discarded.
Then Carlo took over, let the horses run wild, and things got really fun. Continue reading “The Not Looking So Clasico Clasico” »
You follow soccer and only occasionally catch the odd American throwball (“football”) game, but you know this happened thanks to your Twitter timeline: Cam Newton celebrated during a game by dancing. Shortly thereafter, a mother complained in an open letter that she could not explain to her children what had just happened.
This lady is so lucky she does not watch soccer. Continue reading “An Open Letter on Sports and Truth” »
In all religions that promise either eternal bliss or damnation based on an evaluation of a human’s life, babies pose a problem. Namely, babies sometimes die before they can really do anything great or super bad. Thus, do babies automatically get shipped off to Heaven? Do they frollick in super dope cribs while angels hover above on clouds and sprinkle the softest talcum imaginable? In the Catholic faith, most babes go to purgatory, a land between heaven and hell. With any luck and a few hundred prayers from below, many eventually gain admission through St. Peter’s gate.
But what about stillborn ideas? What about concepts that linger in the air but then disappear? I’ve complained about transfer rumors with an air of inevitability before. However, just as sad is the transfer rumor snatched from our grasp at the last minute. Continue reading “A Lament for the Stillborn Transfer Rumors Now Lost to Purgatory” »
Every year, some parent blogger writes about how other parents are pricks for pushing their kids to play sports competitively and care about winning. I know this because I myself have been there. Junito plays on an elite soccer team, and I’ve noticed a great irony in youth sports: the higher the level, the more humble the parents. Yet the opposite is true. Basically, once you’ve seen just how good other kids are at a sport, you realize you and your kids’ place in the pecking order.
This is in contrast to rec leagues, where parents brawls and ref insult dot the land. In their heads, their kids are stars who can only be stopped by bad refs and cheating kids. They are Mourinhos but 10% more violent. Still, here’s the dilemma: their mind is misguided, but is their heart? Is there anything more American than hating losing? Is there a line to be walked? Continue reading “Junito: The Importance of Winning” »
Every year, I gather up my ten favorite pieces of soccer writing and deliver them to you at a delightful price of one dollar. This year, I kinda sorta maybe procrastinated, but, in reality, it was all a ploy to whet your appetite for my writing. I am 145% sexier and more readable in eInk format, Scout’s honor. Thus, the 2014 edition “Best Of” comes out in two weeks, for one buck, and you can preorder it at Amazon here.
Of course, if you don’t want the book, that’s fine also. I’ll just send your comments here to Spam, block you on Twitter, kick you out of my Subreddit, and we can both go on our respective ways through this rocking journey of life. No hard feelings, at least on your part. I’m sure you won’t bear me any grudges. Seriously, buy the book and help us all get Junito a new pair of electric algo colored Nike Preds for the Fall Season. Don’t you Sepp Blatter on me now after all your cherubic promises……
Editor’s note: no stool was softened in the crafting of this post.
Oh hello, cherished readers. I know, I know. FIFA collapses. Women play soccer on turf. Aging South American target forward heads ball in goal. The headlines have come hard and fast this summer. All this time, you’ve held your breath and hoped upon hopes that somewhere in an office on the 50th story of a large, downtown Houston skyscraper, your favorite scribe would steal time from work and pen a wholly necessary op-ed on Hope Solo and why turf is to blame. Turf. Hope Solo. Hope Solo. Turf. I can’t be the only one who sees the connection?! Cause. Effect. Effect. Cause. Checkmate.
Alas, fate has intervened cruelly. I broke my leg in two places playing soccer in May. I needed surgery and, after the anesthesia wore off, I started thinking: where do pro athletes go when they have injuries? A black hole? Their twitters go silent. Their Instagrams collect dust. And I now know the answer: pain. Fucking, miserable, cosmically sucking pain. It saps your energy, your humor. I started to feel better in early June and thought – maybe rehab is worth some words? Well, I could write about stool softeners, commodes, trash bags and sitting showers, unerotic sponge baths and bedrashes, but, in reality, it’s something you have to experience for youself, man. Besides, all the credit goes to my beautiful wife. Thanks for everything, amorcita, especially cutting the Wilson tennis balls that are now on the bottom of my crutches. Continue reading “Admittedly Belated Soccer Blog Summer Update #7443” »
Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Affluent European soccer team comes agonizingly close to winning two major trophies but falls just short! Equally affluent rival claims both! Oh soccer, you bizarrely wonderful world. Sport has always been torn in two directions: the idealists and the pragmatists. Some care about how a team plays, does it attack, will it win, while others care only about results. The two often come together, but not always.
Thus, when a team plays well but doesn’t win, what’s a club to do? If you’re Real Madrid, the answer is simple: sharpen your axes. Continue reading “The Perpetual Midlevel Management Crisis at Real Madrid” »
My writing on Junito has grown intermittent the last few years, but rest assured, he continues to play footy at a high level on a regular basis. It has not been all smooth sailing. Yes, for the first few years after joining a soccer club, Junito loved to go to practice on weekdays. His energy reaffirmed our belief that he really likes soccer. However, another explanation lurked beneath the surface. At our last residence, we lived in a rougher part of town where he had few friends his own age, he could not run around outside unsupervised, and we had no game console. Thus, he was cooped up inside with no video game relief. Practice was an escape.
Flash forward two years. We live in a nicer neighborhood. Kids the same age as Junito flock around and form friendships. We even got a Wii, if only to allow his dad to assert MarioKart dominance on the SNES and N64 throwback levels. Junito continues to thrive at soccer and this year has started every single game for his club team. There’s just one problem: is his heart really in it? Continue reading “Junito: Navigating Chutes & Ladders” »
Yesterday’s clasico was a tale of two halves. Or so say the headlines. In fact, many headlines refer to a game as a “tale of two halves.” Your cerebral self chuckles and thinks: no shit. Doesn’t every game of soccer consist of two halves? Isn’t that, like, kinda the fundamental rule and proportion of time? Could a headline be any less descriptive?
I used to agree with you. But, alas, you are wrong (and so was I). Continue reading “Clasico Recap: A Tale of Two Halves Edition” »