08 August 2014

Brazil: HyperBole MMXIV

By Dr3

God bless America, and no place else. 

This (men's) World Cup was amazing. Whether through the increasing tendency towards nostalgia with age, or a refined appreciation and perception of sentiment and beauty, or maybe just some hedonistic early mid-life crisis; it was almost orgasmic. Maybe not, but it truly was an eyeful, and will be cosigned to the confirmation bias of my memory as such. An Epic. A story to be retold with my Trini accent and weakened voice, decades from now.

After 45 World Cup minutes of Aurier struggling to find Bony with a cross into the box1, Ian Wright had seen enough. Aurier is not good. Not good enough for Arsenal. After 180 World Cup minutes and 4 World Cup points, Lalas was back on that MLS 'champions of the World' soapbox. After 180 World Cup minutes, 0 World Cup points, and 0 World Cup goals, a cold plate of reality was served; no placemat needed. Diego Costa was in fact, shit. The World Cup was still all of these things, but also none of it.

For every preconceived narrative there was a Costa Rica, or a 7-1, or a 5-1, or yet another, cruel, top, top, Steven Gerrard moment. It was everything, almost scripted, with award ceremony plotholes and all. Robben went back in time. Vanishing spray, Time-outs, TV replays, Ronaldo got haircuts, and James Rodriguez nailed his audition. It was everything.

"Edson is Pelé 10 minutes per match; Alfredo is Di Stefano all 90 of them", Didi. 

All in all, it's as if the overall watchability was increased by the contextually dumbed-down quality of play. Teams weren't particularly good in attack or defense (yes, even Mascherano and Costa Rica). Messi wasn't as good as he can be. Messi was Messi, as decisively as ever, but perhaps for only 45 cumulative minutes over the World Cup. Gameday tempo was particularly and predictably slow. But put these things together, and it created something; a surreal-ism. A sensation that was reflective before it was even over.

Anyway, Brian Phillips wrote exceptionally well on all of it. Genuinely, it is the best written sports piece I have read (click the quote below for article).

We obsess over narratives in sport. We groom them. We rehearse them. We decide in advance how they’ll develop based on the outcomes we expect. If Messi wins the World Cup, he becomes greater than Maradona, the greatest ever to play the game. If he loses, the dragon eats the prince with the silver shield. It’s a strange thing, though, that so much of our concern with narrative involves anticipating events before they happen. A story, when it’s about real life, is usually a way of ordering memory. The reality of everything that happens is too immense to hold on to, so we take the highlights and arrange them into an order that at least feels plausible.

Below, each thumbnail is a clickthrough link for image sets from Brazil from my favorite candid journalism photography website.

1Akin to all of Walcott/Chamberlain/Gnarby/Ramsey/Wilshere/Carzola/Rosicky/Sagna/Gibbs/Monreal/Jenkinson for two seasons with the aerially imperious but under utilized Giroud

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