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.

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Line-Up for Today

With Apologies to Ogden Nash

Vintage soccer card

A is for Alves
Angry and great;
Even a rainbow
Could fill him with hate.

B is for Bojan,
The next down the tube;
Less than a factory,
But més que un club.

C is for Canales,
The prince of the ball!
This year he’s Racing,
Next year it’s Real.

D is for Davids,
Both Villa and Sil’;
The EPL sharks
Moving in for the kill.

E is for Eto’o,
Replaced with a Libra;
That stork-looking Swede
Known only as “Ibra.”

Vintage soccer card

F is for Fabiano,
The Barber of Seville,
Un Chien Andalou,
The Boy from Brazil.

G is for Guti,
Still playing with pizazz.
Are those his kids’ names,
Or a cheeseburger he haz?

H is for Higuain,
A goal guarantee—
Think Barça’d take him
For that fellow Henry?

I is for Iker,
Or little Iniesta;
With either in form,
The other ten get siesta.

J is for Joaquin,
Than whom there’s none fancier;
Once for Betis,
But now in Valencia.

Vintage soccer card

K is for Kun,
With his vibrant young glow,
Helping Oso forget
A certain “Niño.”

L is for Leo,
The lion he roars!
On trips to Madrid,
A merengue he gores.

M is for Marcos
Senna stopping the fun;
After all of that beauty,
One tackle, it’s done.

N is for Navas,
Jesús at his best.
Make him leave home,
And now he’s depressed.

O is for Ole,
The cry of the land!
Whether Barça or Numancia,
They do all play grand.

Vintage soccer card

P is for Puyol,
Carles, if you please;
To unlock his defense,
His hair holds the keys.

Q is for Don Quixote,
More recently Pep;
Two years of service
Without one misstep.

R is for Rossi,
Italian divine;
Say the name to los Yanquis,
And they start to whine.

S is for Sergio,
Sometime defender;
When the linesman saw him coming,
He yelled, “I surrender.”

T is for Touré
Côte d’Ivoire goes gaga;
Only Kolo knows the secrets
Of the brotherhood of Yaya.

Vintage soccer card

U is for úl—
The English say “Rowl”;
Spain’s top all-time marksman,
Always on the prowl.

V is for Valerón,
Pinpoint perfect passes;
You couldn’t care less
That he’s slow as molasses.

W is for Woodgate,
And what he endured.
Two seasons, nine games,
And still he’s injured.

X is for Xavi,
How could I resist?
Two blindfolds, one leg,
And another assist.

Y is for Yeste,
Bilbao, the lonely Basque;
No, they’re not xenophobic,
Why do you ask?

Z is for Zenith,
The conclusion foregone;
The best of the bunch;
His name is Zidane.

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Line-Up for Today

by Sean Rubio · April 16, 2010

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