Thursday, June 4, 2015

Second best

The second best soccer player in the world is much better than all the other soccer players in the world, save one. Much better. And though I do not feel I particularly like the second best soccer player in the world- he seems lordly, imperious and slick, what do I know? I've never met the fabulously wealthy and famous young man. But I do enjoy watching him play. He is fast and powerful and intense. He is a gifted force of nature who plays with a dazzling drive and skill. At nearly any time in history he would be the player of his generation, the one who stands out above everyone.

But he is the second best soccer player in the world. And though I don't get a feeling of like for him, I feel for him.

For at least half a dozen years now the official triumphs and rewards of best soccer player has gone back and forth between him and the best player, awards, titles, championships. But deep down, all along, there has not been a serious doubt. The second best player's sometimes even long moments of ascendancy were always somehow against the grain, temporary, a description of a moment in time over a historical view.

At the end of this season the second best player racked up some astonishing number of goals, but the championships slipped by him. In his last two games of the season the second best player scored a quite amazing six goals. Two hat tricks in a row.

But no one much noticed. Because elsewhere the greatest player in the world was dribbling past four players and shooting through three to score a goal so ravishing and confounding that it was hard to stop watching it in replay, just trying to figure it out. It was a beautiful goal, for the ages, in the finals of a long tournament. 

Maybe, exhausted from all his goal scoring, the second best player in the world saw the goal too, somewhere, for it was everywhere, and some small part of his over proud personality sneaked through to wonder "What more could I possibly do? What more could I ever do?"

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