Monday, June 05, 2006

The balls to say it...

To turn to modern day concerns; how is this Year's World Cup host country taking on the job? Jen Stehls reports from Munich.

It was a beatiful spring day today and in Alfie's living room we found the nike football website and saw all these amazing shorts about football in Brazil. There we saw adolescents doing everything the pros do but on grassless pitches or concrete. Lupe was among our group so as usually he kept his Bali-Shag open and his amsterdam flowing, and with the sun streaming through the living room windows and nearly obliterating the images on the computer screen I suppose it was obvious that we'd have the idea to grab the ball out the closet and go to the plaza.

But the plaza was full of reggae drummers and blind singers and mimes, and we didn't think we could control the ball well enough or mark out any space to play in. Then Alfie saw the bocceball court standing empty. Its pitch was yellow dirt, and we realized we'd found the ideal spot. I couldn't help but think that by playing there we were declaring our allegience to the favelas of Brazil rather than the gentile grasses and concretes of our manicured state. Some bocce players our age (who knew?) were just finishing up. Alfie asked if they were done and one of them said Yes but another said Why?. Then he saw the football. Football? he said, and pursed his lips like a sissy. We just turned away and started playing. Fuck them, twentysomething bocceball players, is there any greater sign of our nation's decline and lack of life-force?

As we began to play it became immediately apparent that we were raising a lot of dust. It became apparent when an elderly couple that had been sitting at a nearby bench got up quickly and left. That seemed like quite an excessive show of protest, and it made me feel
revolutionary. In no time a haze developed over the field and it drifted across the whole plaza. Somtimes a person would be walking though and suddenly get hit by the yellow fog, turn towards us and wrinkle his nose. But by that point I would be returning the pass of my teammate, completing a stately triangle. In short, we didn't care. Our ethos was to play prettily, play in league with those free favela spirits, play together against the ugliness that is engulfing the world. We had a rather good game, but as always seems to happen here in the city, a fucking hipster stopped and took our picture.