I have two confessions to make. Confession One: I did not watch the most recent Clasico live on Sunday. Confession Two: there was a part of me that was relieved to miss the match.
Let’s get the details out of the way first: I missed the game because of a previous engagement that would take me far away from the Bay Area and even the Internet. I was deep in the Sierra mountains all weekend. If I had been at home, things would have unfolded like this:
• At mid-day on the day before the match I would have started fretting. Madrid in great form lately; Pique and Puyol both out. How could we possibly win?
• Matchday would bring a key decision: should I wear my “lucky” Barça hat or not? Over the years [and there have been many], this hat has decided numerous matches, despite what you all may have seen on the pitch. The Iniesta goal? Not without my hat. Messi’s missed penalty against Chelsea? All down to the hat. As you might imagine, controlling the outcome of events in Catalonia from a distance like this is a big responsibility.
• Two hours before the match I would be at the bar. Ringside seat. With coffee. Lots of coffee.
• The match begins. I will read later that the contest was boring. That Barcelona passes the ball too much. That the team is full of cheaters and divers. That it was a miracle that Madrid did not win by a wider margin. In the moment: every pass and gesture matters to me. My heart soars with every beautiful passing move and sinks with every Madrid counter attack. Matches against Madrid are typically emotional roller coasters, and sometimes the feeling is almost too much to bear. This is the agony of the Clasico: the realization of just how much passion you have invested in people and events far beyond your control.
I have since watched the match, and even knowing the outcome it was pure torture: the Montoya shot against the post, the Pedro shot so close to scoring the winner, Cristiano Ronaldo celebrating in the Camp Nou. But enough about me. What were your experiences like watching this most recent Clasico? Do you enjoy these matches? Do you engage in pre-match good luck rituals? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.
Image: David Ramos [Getty]