I just can't help myself writing about sports here. Growing up in Chicago, even as a girl, I became a sports
enthusiast from both the participant and spectator side of things. Being sickly
most of my days, by the time I reached my late teens, to discover I actually
had some strong athletic abilities was a pleasant surprise!
When I left the U.S. to live abroad, I knew I would have a
great hole in me from the sports I had to say good-bye to. Was I to embrace the
game of football (also known as soccer)? I am not an avid football fan. I do
enjoy the international side of football, however. And any match that includes
the Barcelona Football Club (FC Barcelona or FCB).
I have never seen a team as a whole have such great speed
and finesse with the ball. I learned about FCB by watching the European League
and World Cup championships. Not so long ago the sports analysts were saying Spain
was the team to look out for as they up some strong up and coming players.
They were not wrong!
The Spanish football club has taken more consecutive titles
than any international team prior. And that with style! They have dominated the
field and embarrassed many-a-team. Has this dynasty now come to an end?
A couple of nights ago I was watching the Championship
League semi-finals with the anticipation of seeing an all-Spain final! Madrid versus
Barcelona. This would surprise no one familiar with the game.
Now FCB has been hit with injuries this season and was lucky
to make into the Championship League semi-finals. While I was doubtful of an easy victory over Bayern
Munich, I expected them to rally. They didn’t. In fact, they looked flat and
worn out. This led Bayern to a 4-0 score going into the second leg at
Barcelona. While the match will be held on home turf, it is unlikely Barcelona
will advance barring a miracle. A miracle, say, like Bayern doesn’t even show
up for the match. Because that is what is it going to take.
While spending the next day licking my wounds, I geared up
for that evening’s match against Borussia Dortmund (whom I had never heard of
and thought they were certainly a team from Holland when I was corrected by a
friend to find out they were a German team), and Real Madrid. At least there
could be one Spanish team in the final. Though Real Madrid is by no means my
favorite, and I have many years now loathed the sight of Cristiano Ronaldo, I
grudgingly admit he has found a bit of favor with me. He was the only player
that was kind to the children that are led out by the players at the start of
each match. The only player! And
after the match that secured them advancement into the semi-finals, he
acknowledged the fans way over on the other side of the pitch in the cheap
seats by turning to them and for some time waving to them and applauding them. All
other players headed into the locker room.
Recently in the news is the departure of the head of the
Real Madrid club, Jose Mourinho, at the end of the season. Has he forsaken the
club already? Was it some political inside move to keep one of, if not the,
best goalies, Iker Casillas, in the game on the bench? Wasn’t Casillas just
bleeding as he watched his team getting pummeled to a pulp by the other Germany
team? It was all quite painful to witness. I had thought for certain Madrid
With a 4-1 deficit heading into their second leg of the
semi-finals, it seems, barring a miracle (like Dortmund not showing up for the
match) that Madrid, along with Barcelona, will soon take a seat for the season.
And who is this Lewandowski from Dortmund who suddenly appears on the scene
scoring all 4 goals for the Borussia team? Seems now he will head to the
Premier League as Manchester United has their eye on him.
All of this to say, is it the changing of the guard? Has the
Spanish football dynasty fallen? Is it the "changing of the guard" with Germany set to take over rulership? Seems for certain. And I had been hoping for
at least another four years of dominance and another World Cup title, because I
have never had so much pleasure from one team in this sport. Ever. I am just
not ready to see the likes of Fernando Torres, Sergio Ramos, David Villa, Andrés
Iniesta and the rest of the boys take a seat regardless of who they play for.
By Jori Sams