Wednesday, March 23, 2011

On Rooting for Barça

I embrace my fair-weather fandom:
I am, as of about three years ago, a big fan of Spanish soccer powerhouse FC Barcelona. Not coincidentally, they are, for the past three years, unquestionably the best team in the world, and employ the services of the best player of his generation, Lionel Messi.

I don’t mind being one of the latest (and lamest) people to hop on that bandwagon. Being a Barça partisan is a fucking fantastic experience. All they do is win, and in bunches. You may remember the Clásico against Real Madrid in November, who had just signed the world’s most recognized coach and were smashing all comers. A building has a better chance against a wrecking ball: 5-0 in Barça’s favor. The second leg of the Champion’s League match against Arsenal last week, after Barça dropped the first 2-1? The Spaniards breezed through 3-1 against one of England’s best squads, despite their two best defenders being out. It’s gotten to the point now where it’s like a game in a Playstation season: a simple 2-1 victory doesn’t even do much for me. It’s OK, but unless Messi scores a brilliant goal and the team piles on five or more, I am tempted to hit reset.


jd said...

A nice piece. You are surely correct in general, but it's also true that as a gringo you're a total free agent when it comes to international soccer. And vis a vis Real Madrid, isn't being a Barca fan at least like choosing the Packers or Steelers over the Cowboys? When you have no natural allegiance, you don't want to root for the most evil squad, but apart from that, basing your rooting on how fun it is to watch is totally fair. Take it from a Pittsburgh native with no natural NBA loyalties who loved him some Showtime Lakers and Jordan Rules Bulls (and hated the Bird Celtics and the Kobe Lakers, though I now admit the 80s choice was a pretty marginal call).

pc said...

Thanks. Oh yeah that's what's so great about international soccer. I have no ties to anyone. And the way most of the leagues are set up, with 2-5 dominant teams and everyone else, makes it all the better. It would really suck if it was like the NFL and you picked a Spanish soccer team only to find them out of the plays every two years.

RE Barca v Real, I don't know what the corollary is for Barca (maybe a much more successful version of the pre '04 Red Sox?), but Real is definitely like the Yankees. Only with historical ties to fascism that are far more unsettling than anything having to do with Steinbrenner. (At least in the mind of Barca fans, that is).