Real Madrid’s History Revisited

Atletico is campeon. Long live Atletico. If you’re a Real Madrid fan, you’re used to losing La Liga by now. FC Barcelona has been off the charts the last decade, so we’ve been happy with Copitas del Rey and good Champions League showings (and the occasional SuperCup). This year, we all know that the big game still looms: this Saturday, the chance at La Decima. For non-Spanish speakers, “La Decima” means “The Decima.”

I’ve had the pleasure of writing some historical summaries/snippets for SoccerPro this past week and the series will run until Friday. It deals with Real Madrid’s past and present. Here’s Part I and Part II. Enjoy.

A Guardian Defends MLS and US Soccer

Just before MLS “first kick,” Deadspin dumped on the league. I then responded in kind. Here’s the odd part: I’d already filed a piece with the Guardian on the state of US soccer. The big problem with the league as per Deadspin was not the financial state, but the quality of play as compared to Europe. Admittedly, there are still clubs and leagues with better players. Continue reading “A Guardian Defends MLS and US Soccer” »

A Howling Good Time

Remember that lovely soccer magazine you and I Kickstarted not so long ago? Well, gasp, a year has passed. During that time, they, Howler magazine (remember!), have reached 5,000 subscribers and published four glorious issues. One of the best parts of Howler Mag is the timeline, which is a chronology of a major club that is a delicious mix of eccentric and essential facts, cool pictures, and some seriously mad design skillz.

In Issue 4, guess who wrote the Real Madrid timeline? Continue reading “A Howling Good Time” »

Turning Your Attention Towards a Looming Xmas Blizzard

For those not in-the-know, The Blizzard is a quarterly magazine dedicated to lengthy footy goodness. They offer a pretty sweet pay-what-you like digital edition, which includes a PDF, ePub, and Mobi download. More importantly, Issue Seven, out yesterday, features an article by yours truly. Continue reading “Turning Your Attention Towards a Looming Xmas Blizzard” »

You Have a Kantian Moral Obligation to Donate $10. Right Now

So, a new sports website, featuring the likes of Bethlehem Shoals, Eric Freeman, and Fredorrarci, is nearing lift off. There’s just one problem: NASA has privatized space travel, so these fine gentlemen need your kind contributions to get this ship off the ground. They have around two weeks left to raise about $10,000 – a bit of a task, but they’ve already raised over $40,000.

Here’s the deal. Continue reading “You Have a Kantian Moral Obligation to Donate $10. Right Now” »

The Infinite Jest of Being a Madrid Fan while Messi Plays for Barca: A Tribute to David Foster Wallace

Three years ago to this day, American novelist, journalist, and professor extraordinaire David Foster Wallace took his own life. If the present is walking in the shadows of our ancestors, then these are dark times indeed. DFW’s excitement at ideas, wild imagination, uncanny wit, and penetrating analysis resulted in fantastic sports writing on tennis and also several great novels, including his magnum opus, Infinite Jest. The world is a worse place for having lost him, but a better place for having had him.

Thematically, the concerns in his writing were two-fold: (1) The conflict between globalization and local identities, and (2) Technology and consumerism’s hand in turning solipsism into fashionable profiteering. He trembled at the prospect of the internet diluting the exchange of ideas into an instant gratification button equivalent to Pavlov’s dogs. He also shared Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s discontent with liberal democracy’s inability to get anything done, aside from repeating mistakes.

Stylistically, his prose has been criticized as dense, but his writing often imitated unpopular and oppressed vernaculars, in the style of American fiction pioneers like Mark Twain and William Faulkner. And the Hemingway/Strunk & White “concision is objectively the best” school of thought often conflates superficial ease of comprehension with insight. Yes, he assumed his readers knew what the fuck he was talking about. But don’t we all?

In honor of David Foster Wallace, I took a stab at a slightly long-formĀ  piece on Lionel Messi at the Run of Play. I don’t pretend to have DFW’s talent, but did my best to wed my love of soccer with the themes of technology, solitude, consumer culture, and solipsism. Check it out here. If you dare. Special thanks to Brian for hosting this piece and helping edit it into a slightly more palatable form. But not, like, Happy Meal palatable form.

The Day American Soccer Kinda Died: the NASL & the 80's

I wrote a guest post as part of 80′s month at the Equaliser. My topic of choice? The much-maligned NASL. And its end. While I tried to balance the emotional aspect with the business side, I focused more on accounting practices. Try not to yawn too close to your computer – you may hurt its feelings. But seriously, the post serves up a tech-bubble analogy and functions as a counterpoint to the risk-averse acolytes who insist on tight-purse strings in the modern day MLS.

I am fully braced for a troll-fest in the comments should an unfortunate forum link appear. Still, please do not link to any unfortunate forums.

Check it out here.

Embracing the Startling New Order in the Soccer Blogosphere

Like a cat-fight between sellers at a farmer’s market, everybody is entertained by handbags. In any context. At any time. And the soccer blogosphere is no different. While I have mocked via tongue-and-cheek the Archer disciples that rely on personal-attack laced rants, I realized that my traffic could increase exponentially by expanding to the “I hate my life and take it out on soccer” soccer fan demographic. There are tons of you. Please embrace me.

Ad hominem is not a logical fallacy. It is a way of life.

In that vain, I jumped on the SurrealFootball bandwagon and created a flowchart explaining the demise of the Simplest Game ethos and rise of the Rush Limbaugh-radio-monologue-diatribe-in-soccer-blogging. Did I mention I also love Lou Dobbs? And HATE Barack Obama? Read here. But always remember that “reading” is for the snobby Liberal elite. Do it begrudgingly. And also curiously note how the “Blogs we hate” section has been replaced by roughly five-transfer rumor-posts-per-day.

The Gold Cup Final – Some Bitter Sweet Pico de Gallo

I wrote a guest post at the Good Men Project on my unusual feelings every time the US and Mexico square off. As a chicano with fair-skinned guero-itis, my life has been a series of chameleon assimilation acts, with the star confused as to his real persona. When the US and Mexico face off, I am forced to pull off mask after mask. Inevitably, the audience is disappointed when there’s nothing left to look at. The sensation on the eve of this “rivalry” is not so much pedaling a paddle boat against a downriver current, but rather a riptide tugging my legs towards the deep sea while the surface pulls my armsĀ  ashore. Inevitably, I sit on the fence and am rendered a neutered neutral. When a team scores, I want to shout with joy and then shout in anger. But I remain silent.

How bad does it get? I actually used to wear a Landon Donovan jersey for one half and a Rafa Marquez jersey for the other. Then my little brother stole my Rafa Marquez jersey. Now I wear neither.

That stuff aside, it was a helluva game with great goals. We can all get sad that the US didn’t play a super defensive game plan, but a look at the age and experience of the US defenders will show why Bradley gambled on Dempsey, Donovan, and Adu to outscore the opposition. And since when is positive soccer a negative? Read more here.

Guest Post at Fisted Away – England's Joy & Jubilation

I can feel your confused emotions. On the one hand, you are disappointed at the lack of ink on the game last night. Yes, I know, I know. In thirty years time, our grandchildren will ask us – “Abuelo/a, did you vote for Barack Obama?” And we will scoff at them – “nietito/a, let me tell you about a truly historical moment, like when the US beat Panama 1-0.” Still, I will let other poets etch their praises in stone for all eternity to appreciate.

On the other hand, I have written a delightful guest post at FistedAway. And the topic is truly something to celebrate – England’s heroic completion of the group stages at the Under-21 European Championships. Try not to let the salty tears of joy spill onto and ruin your new tablet computer.