The Run of Play is a blog about
the wonder and terror of soccer.
We left the window open during a match in October 2007 and a strange wind blew into the room.
Now we walk the forgotten byways of football with a lonely tread, searching for the beautiful, the bewildering, the haunting, and the absurd.
Zach Dundas, Fredorrarci, Alan Jacobs, Supriya Nair, Richard Whittall
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Well, here we go. 365 days, 524 recipes. Time to learn a little something about life.
Operating assumptions for the start of the season: Spain is more interesting than England. All good souls should want Arsenal to win the Premier League. (I will be unabashedly wanting that this year, thanks very much.) Serie A is a ghost town, and it has a ghost town’s rickety appeal: good for hideouts, rendezvous, creepy scenes in the middle of Hitchcock movies, gunfighters, preservationists, and cacti. Folks in these parts say that if you put your ear to the old well at night, you can still hear the moaning of José Mourinho’s ego.
So…this weekend was fun, wasn’t it? For all the revving-up of egregious military metaphors and huge-stakes dramatic signifiers that comes with the start of a new (ahem) campaign, things got off to a pretty mellow start. Maybe that’s just the summer talking, or the fact that I probably missed 100 camera shots of agonized children sweating out the end of Chelsea-Hull. And I’m not going to say I never once yelled at the TV. But what I mostly felt watching the games—in place of terror or hard adrenaline—was a very low-key exhilaration, like, “Yeah, this is fun, this is good.” A useless feeling if you have to fight the Crusades, but I’m not going to close the door on it in sports. So here’s to beginnings that remind you why you do the thing in the first place, without making you feel like your head is about to disintegrate.
Other things I liked about this weekend:
It’s that the hegemony of the Big Four isn’t scary any more. That is, it’s still a hegemony, and they’ll of course probably finish 1-4 this season for the billionth time in recent memory. But without actually losing their dominance, they’ve somehow stopped seeming like the unquestioned center of everything. There are a lot of mid-table teams that won’t be afraid to play them on a given day—they’re getting outspent by Man City, nipped at by Aston Villa, stared down by Hull, and actually beaten by Tottenham—and how both sides cope with that surprising new reality will be fascinating to see. Anyway, I’m looking forward to next week.
In other words, bon appetit.
Read More: Premier League
by Brian Phillips · August 17, 2009[contact-form 5 'Email form']