Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Hope being grown up doesn't last long

You know when you get to a certain point, you want to stop and reassess things?  Bokolis has been doing a bunch of that lately.  I've been taking a lot of vacations to clear my head, energize myself and maybe prepare for what I see to be the upcoming next phase of life...that phase where I can't go everywhere doing a buck-ten.

Yeah, whatevs about that; Bokolis is here to relate it as it relates to football.  Never has media impinged so far upon the rest of our lives.  But, let's stick to football, because it all flows from there.  Like bracket-creep on the AMT, the season gets just a little longer each year, starting a bit earlier, ending a bit later (domestic leagues are playing until ~5/24 and the Champions League final is on June 6th, which I think will be a twinbill with one of the Copa América matches.

I...guess- in and of themselves- you could get into these matches.  But, they will double up on us next year, having another Copa América in, of all places, the USA, under the logic of it being the centennial.  So, they will stage it in a locale in which it has never been staged and expand the field to 16 teams.  It has NOTHING to do with being able to score top dollar (pardon the pun)...we'll get back to this.

The '16 version will run largely concurrently with Euro 2016, which will be staged in France.  Bokolis points this out because Platini essentially pulled all types of rank to snatch this one away from Turkey.  When the Turks whinged, his reply was, when a Turk becomes president of UEFA, then Turkey can get a Euro.  And, to think, Platini the genius of a player turned into the same asshole as a bureaucrat.

The 2020 edition will involve venues in at least 12 different countries, including Baku (that ain't Europe!?).  As is well-known the 2018 and 2022 World Cups were backroom deals.  Since the major tournaments of the next 8 years are all premised on shadiness, it all works out to 8 lost years of international football.

By then, mobility of labor will have rendered national teams indistinguishable from one another.  It was one thing for the Dutch to have kids of Surinamese in the national side.  France turning into North Africa- eh, okay.  But, this is now seeping into every country.   Every side has a pet Brazilian; Bokolis was watching a CL match between PSG and Chelsea where the Spanish-language announcer, upon seeing David Luiz, Diego Silva and Thiago Motta standing next to eachother, said, oh, look, it's three Brazilians who play for three different national teams.

Bokolis is not quite at Sacchi's level but, the allure of watching national teams was to see how Italians and their style would match up with Germans, or Spaniards, or Brazilians and Argentines (many of whom have Italian ancestors who mated with buffalo).  Notice I didn't say English; they can't play football and Gazza and an 18-year old Michael Owen have been the only things worth watching in my lifetime.  Really, it was to see all their distinct styles (yes, even the English) match up- and the Mexican heart, the American self-belief to make up for lack of know-how, and all the lesser sides' guts.

It is not quite that way any longer because they all play continental football- even the Brazilians and Argentines- and they are all starting to melt the couldn't be jingoistic even if you wanted to.  The national teams will eventually look no different from club teams.

Of course, after these competitions, but before the onset/onslaught of the domestic league season, the circus will come to town.  The clubs will tour the USA, charging us (at least) double what they charge for domestic league matches to watch tired guys forced to be there giving 60%-70% effort in ill-fitting parks, all under the banner of some marketing gimmick cup competition.  The team ultimately winning on spot kicks will do its best to celebrate like they give a fuck.

So, Bokolis will withdraw from international competition, and it will be a precursor to slowly withdrawing from club competition as well.  I still like to watch on matchday.  But the soap opera aspect of the season does not interest me like they want it to, as the domestic league winners are pretty much set in stone beforehand.  I mean, did you not know Real or Barca would win La Liga, Juventus would win Serie A, Bayern would win the Bundesliga and Chel$kiy would win the EPL?  Did you not know that Arsenal, after people tried to put Wenger out to pasture, would cruise into the top three?  You may have thought City would have done better, but Bokolis knew that AFCON would drain Yaya Touré, especially considering that he's on his last legs (31) as an elite player anyway.

I can now imagine a life without football; it sucks, but when the football in your life sucks, your best bet is to take back the bandwidth.