I know that much of my wee but discerning audience does not love when I talk about soccer. Based on the circumstantial evidence my most popular subject matter is as follows:
1. Wild turkeys of the Mississippi River.
2. The quirky behaviors of my co-workers.
4. Library policy.
And then one keeps going down, down the list, until at the rock bottom of popularity, at item 114, sits:
Which is what I'm going to talk about today.
But I am going to let you in on a little secret: When one is not a particularly renowned or popular bloggist the difference in popularity between the very most popular thing one talks about (turkeys) an the least popular thing one talks about (soccer), is, statistically, marginal.
And so, onto...
Getting to watch Messi's Barcelona play is precious to me. It doesn't happen that often. Yes, while soccer seems to go on almost constantly, it can spread out pretty thinly too. If one follows a top team (like Barcelona) there are a couple months off, some happy peak times where they play twice a week, the mostly dreaded International Breaks where there are a couple more weeks off. But a lot of the time feels like this: I wait all week for one precious game. I look forward to it. I find some time to watch it, usually on some kind of delay, and I hope it's a good one.
It usually is.
This week it really wasn't.
Barcelona played a team called Valladolid. Valladolid tried an interesting strategy. They put in new grass on their pitch a few days before the game. Since grass can't take root that quickly this prevented Barcelona, a legendarily quick team, from making sharp cuts, as the turf would give way before their cleats and they would fall, lose balance, or otherwise go awry, and huge divots of turf would be chewed up in the field. After awhile a ball kicked along the ground would bounce off the chunks of chewed up grass.
It was dangerous, and silly. It took the cleverness out of the soccer, and it evened out the teams, just a little.
Barcelona still won the game one to nothing. So, okay. And no one got hurt. I never really want anyone to get hurt in a soccer game, even on the teams I hate. But I kind of would have liked to see one of those Valladolid players break a leg.
Maybe by crashing into one of the groundskeepers.
And killing him.
These last great years of Messi are precious, and, as I said, the games are few.