Vamos Indios!

March 8, 2012

“The first time I meet Marco Vidal, he tells me I need to hop on YouTube. If I want to understand why he willingly lives in the world’s most dangerous city and why he plays for the Indios of Ciudad Juárez fútbol club and why he feels the Indios are a special team, then I’ve got to watch what happened after his Indios defeated the Esmeraldas of León back in 2008. Juárez and León (a 440-year-old tannery town in the exact center of Mexico) had played a two-game series, home and home, for the highest of stakes. The losers were to stay in minor league obscurity, earning little money and waiting at least a year for even a chance to change their station in life. The winners would rise into the Primera, Mexico’s top league. International TV every week. Big-time paychecks. Home games against glamorous clubs like Chivas of Guadalajara and road trips to such soccer shrines as the 105,000-seat Estadio Azteca, in Mexico City.” Grantland

This Love Is Not For Cowards: Salvation and Soccer in Ciudad Juárez
“More than ten people are murdered every day in Ciudad Juárez, a city about the size of Philadelphia. As Mexico has descended into a feudal narco-state-one where cartels, death squads, the army, and local police all fight over billions of dollars in profits from drug and human trafficking-the border city of Juárez has been hit hardest of all. And yet, more than a million people still live there. They even love their impoverished city, proudly repeating its mantra: ‘Amor por Juárez’.” amazon

Messi! Messi! Messi! Messi! Messi!

March 8, 2012

“Lionel Messi scored five goals Wednesday in Barcelona’s 7-1 razing of Bayer Leverkusen, sending the defending Champions League trophy holders through to the quarterfinals. When Messi is on his game (which is usually), he is completely unplayable. I am not Gabriel Garcia Marquez or Cormac McCarthy, so I feel a little ill-equipped to accurately sum up this athlete’s brilliance. In lieu of that, here’s how I would rank Messi’s five-goal haul…” Grantland (Video)

Lionel Messi hits five as Barcelona rout Bayer Leverkusen
“Lionel Messi at his breathtaking best ripped Bayer Leverkusen apart with a record five-goal Champions League haul as Barcelona swept into the quarter-finals 7-1 on the night and 10-2 on aggregate. The Argentinian world player of the year became the first player to score five in a Champions League match, and the first in the competition since Soren Lerby did so for Ajax in a 1979 European Cup tie against Omonia Nicosia, in one of the most comprehensive drubbings in the competition’s history.” Guardian

Champions League: FC Barcelona 7, Bayer Leverkusen 1 (10-2 aggr.), Or, Messi To The Fifth Power
“Days like today are difficult for bloggers and sports journalists alike. We sit in the dark, leafing through our thesauruses (Ray Hudson edition, natch) and wonder what we can say that hasn’t been said before already. What adjectives can you use, what metaphor won’t sound trite, what comparison won’t completely fail to convey what happened?” The Offside (Video)

We Drink, They Rig

March 8, 2012

“Seated stands, modern roofs, security guys like well-fed oxes: none existed back in those days. Chaos and disorder reined in the stadiums, just like it did on the streets outside. I told you, there were no seats on the stands. You had to bring something to put under your ass; anything you could lay your hands on. Real sofa cushions from your house, make-shift cushions out of styrofoam, old magazines, newspapers, whatever you could find outside the stadium…” Run of Play