Music, only music. Something strange happened to me during the recent Barcelona-Inter game. I encountered sheer poetry, I believe. I dozed off, willingly, with bliss (I admit I also was under the spell of red Bordeaux, a 2000 Lynch-Bages, my favourite Pauillac), and I could actually hear the game. It was a perfect night as I was lying there on my couch, Marie by my side, eyes closed, and the game just got transformed into a symphony of serene and scintillating action. For the first time ever, I simply wished to « hear » a football game played far away, with no desire whatsoever to find out who was doing what.
There is certainly something to be said about winning in football. Winning is everything, they will tell you. I can buy that. Even winning ugly matters. But pray tell me: after watching such a display of talent and mastery of the trade, does anybody care that Barcelona –or Milan for that matter- did not win the game?
The entertainment side of football that is widely pooh-poohed by a new breed of coaches and executives proved on Wednesday night to be the real driving force of the game. It is not enough to be a competent midfielder or an experienced striker. A football side is not a team of accountants. It is made up of artsy, inventive, creative and certainly mildly crazy individuals whose job is to win and please. I will never pay to watch an accountant balance books nor a mechanic perform a tune-up. But I could kill to have Barcelona play football on my TV every night of every week.
For a scribe and reluctant fan of the Lions like myself, the level of the Barcelona game carries a sobering thought. Consistently and regularly chalking up enormous performances, as Barcelona has demonstrated over a number of years, seems to be out of our reach. Even though the Lions certainly could win the odd game, there are doubts as to our ability to raise our game to the level of purity and beauty we were entertained with last Wednesday. We do not move with that speed and grace; we have been standing still for a long time. We are almost a wax museum. Admittedly with pulse.