From Beauty to Duty

The history of soccer is a sad voyage from beauty to duty. When the sport became an industry, the beauty that blossoms from the joy of play got torn out by its very roots. In this fin de siècle world, professional soccer condemns all that is useless, and useless means not profitable. Nobody earns a thing from that crazy feeling that for a moment turns a man into a child playing with a balloon like a cat with a ball of yarn, a ballet dancer who romps with a ball as light as a balloon or a ball of yarn, playing without even knowing he’s playing, with no purpose or clock or referee.

Play has become spectacle, with few protagonists and many spectators, soccer for watching. And that spectacle has become one of the most profitable businesses in the world, organized not for play but rather to impede it. The technocracy of professional sport has managed to impose a soccer of lightning speed and brute strength, a soccer that negates joy, kills fantasy and outlaws daring.

Luckily, on the field you can still see, even if only once in a long while, some insolent rascal who sets aside the script and commits the blunder of dribbling past the entire opposing side, the referee, and the crowd in the stands, all for the carnal delight of embracing the forbidden adventure of freedom.

-Eduardo Galeano, Football in Sun and Shadow

RIP.

Apertura 2018: Round 2 highlights

Peñarol continued their domestic dominance on Sunday after a convincing 4-1 win over River Plate at Campeón del Siglo, ending a 5 game winless streak against the darseneros. The game had it all: an incorrectly disallowed Fidel Martínez goal, a penalty not given to the home side, and a Cebolla Rodriguez golazo and red card in the space of a minute. Continue reading “Apertura 2018: Round 2 highlights”

African professionals? Uruguay’s Black stars of the 1916 Copa America

Uruguay entered the 1916 Campeonato Sudamericano in Buenos Aires seeking not only redemption, but reaffirmation. Of course, they there to avenge the humiliating 4-1 defeat suffered against Argentina at the Revolución de Mayo tournament six years earlier. More important though, as with previous international contests, Continue reading “African professionals? Uruguay’s Black stars of the 1916 Copa America”

Football and Revolution 

In 1964, Mario Benedetti described football as anesthesia. It was a social drug, co-opted and exploited by governments who encouraged the people to forget their problems. If only for ninety minutes, football was an escape from social and economic uncertainties that would otherwise control one’s life. Five years later, Benedetti’s words still held true. Continue reading “Football and Revolution “

The 1909 Tottenham-Everton tour of the River Plate

Uruguayans always looked to the British. Since those early days in the open spaces of Punta Carretas, the Uruguayan’s relationship with the game of the ‘crazy English’ evolved from curiosity, to admiration, to imitation. Given the opportunity, the Uruguayan took the game and made it their own. They say from there developed that famous, home-grown Creole style, Continue reading “The 1909 Tottenham-Everton tour of the River Plate”