Friday, March 6, 2009

The Meaning of Life

In life there are things that matter and things that don't. Fortunately there are very few things that matter; otherwise we would never have time to do anything. But there must be a few, or it would not be worth the trouble.

One of the things that matters is the Athletic Club de Bilbao. Why this should be I do not know, and I sometimes wish it were not so, but that's the way it is. I speak of them as we, and spend Sunday afternoons in an agony of suspense listening to the radio or watching the television when I dare to. Sundays determine how Mondays will be, and whole weeks can be blighted by a defensive error, a misdirected shot or a blind referee.

There have been good times and there have been bad times. Mostly good, of course; you learn to make the most of the good and forget the bad, or it wouldn't be worth it. And the bad makes the good better. A lot like life, really.

On Wednesday we beat Sevilla 3-0 in San Mamés (home) and are in the Cup Final for the first time in 24 years. I wasn't there, but the atmosphere must have been tremendous. There is no track, no space between the crowd and the pitch, you just hang over them and chew the ears off the opposing wingers as they pass. When the fans don't want it to happen, nobody wins in San Mamés.

We lost that final in 1985, but we won the year before, beating Barcelona, and Maradona went crazy at the final whistle and put two of our players in hospital. We have always been the great Cup team- we have 23 of them- but in the years since Barcelona have reached 24. We want that record back, and in Valencia on the 13th of May we have the chance to beat them. I'll let you know. Meanwhile, I shall be getting on with the trivia of existence.

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