The blessings of the spectator sport.
Yesterday afternoon, I was halfway through a bowl of menudo when Lionel Messi scored his first goal in El Clásico, the semiannual soccer match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. The game is one of the globe’s most-watched sporting events, and I watch it every year, but this was my first time catching it in New Orleans. I’d landed in a Mexican restaurant in Mid-City, where some families loafed around me and some waiters loafed around them. Immediately after Messi whiffed his ball between the posts, this guy in chinos flew through the restaurant’s doors, looked up at the score, and groaned.
Messi’s shot looked beautiful, as it usually does. The guy in the doorway squinted at me, and I squinted back. A momentous thing had just happened, and we were on opposite sides of the argument, but no foghorns erupted and the kitchen’s ovens didn’t implode. The guy joined a sleepy family nestled under a mural of Guadalajara. The kid manning the register dinged a bell in supreme disgust. There wasn’t any cause for alarm, or even palpable excitement, but we were conjoined in a moment, and the game took on a physical significance—it became a whole and solid thing. Read More