Duck, duck, it's
After spending Saturday evening post-Towering Slab & post-Wheelie Bus drowning (yes, even such a behemoth cannot stand up to suburban tidal waves) & toweling water out both the basement closet & the edge of Lunatic Offspring the Younger's Batcave -- disturbing to be actively in favor of sunny skies; not sure I'll ever recover from that descent into practical madness -- I was ready for some non-roto-rooting for a cherished side, world stage David, Uruguay, home of 37 people, eleven of which were seen sprinting on my computer screen.
Decades ago, it was a story, a picture, & an improbable script (from which book or magazine, that knowledge has slipped deep into the ether), a childlike fascination with how a soccer match could conjure the twin, beautiful extremes of a romanticism beaten too often these days into silence by a club of dry, efficient jade.
The Drive silenced eighty thousand. This, nearly in triplicate.
That black & white grit soon moved in color television, modern, industrial, punitive, for Uruguay at the 1986 World Cup put on a medieval (what happened to modern? As une amie is fond of saying, correctly, nothing really changes) torture clinic, thirteen(!) bookings in only four games, a hypnotizing grimness perhaps still unsurpassed save the Argentinian horror movie marathon a scant four years later. Their coach even got sidelined for the knockout stage, if memory serves, a suitable companion piece to a 50-odd second red card.
Scary as José Batista.
Despite such grotesquerie, Uruguay (along with the Netherlands, a story for another time) remained the team of choice to launch hyperbolic arcs, every pass floating as the most erotic dreams of Charles Hughes. English, this bottle, some Soccer Digest scribe said, & the occasional copy of When Saturday Comes; how that found a transatlantic current into a late 80s Parmastani bookstore is still a mystery worthy of Holmes. Today, such grit sprouts maximized from the fecund mind of Tabarez the Alchemist, festering pustules of controlled violence transmuted into talents of helpful gold, spirited in Diego Forlán who, unlike in the World Cup, hasn't finished with aplomb (cue the agreeing screams of Atlético fans)
"What do you call this, Yank? "
whilst doing everything else, a mop-topped Jason Kidd, all pitch vision & effort. & then there's Luis Suarez, totem of deception, of artful histrionics, football's answer to, since we're referencing the world's second most popular sport, Dennis Rodman. A motherfucker gifted with technique & annoyance, to be punched in the jaw until he's on your team & you love him dearly for every foul, every yellow card he pulls out of the ref's hat on the way to one more goal. Now he just needs to dye his hair like a stick of Fruit Stripe.
Love that do-or-die football. Sure, tiki-taka is indeed gorgeous, but everyone conveniently forgets it's available only to those with the resources of empire, money &, above all, time, the jewel national associations no longer have stashed next to Blatter's goose in their back pocket.
The limitation of a month-long tournament to reveal the truth, especially one including lockbox Paraguay, be damned, the beguiling possibility of random lightning strikes paints a kind of allure, a summer fling, a snapshot, a poem, that the moneyed bloat of a hundred-side, nine-month club competition designed to weed out all but the financial elite cannot.