Skip to main content

Celtic v. Rangers: Now THIS is football

Image result for Rangers Goal Hill

This AM while waiting for the FA Cup match between Tottenham and Millwall (which naturally was a depressing 6-0 rout) I caught the tail-end of a match between long-time Scottish Premier League rivals Celtic FC and Rangers FC. Now, I've heard of this rivalry, thanks to Franklin Foer's eye-opening and educational book How Soccer Explains the World, but never actually seen either of these teams play. Never even seen a SPL match before today.

I think you might be able to deduce from the title of this blog post that the game made a big impression on me. I've never seen such speed, physicality, and passion on a football pitch as I witnessed in the final 20 minutes of this game. I'm hesitant to make a generalization about the entire SPL -- after all these two teams are at the absolute top of the league and this rivalry is on the City-United or Yankees-Red Sox level -- but still, talk about a great game to watch as my introduction to Scottish football.

To me, the hallmark of the English Premier League is the speed, precision, and attacking gusto of the play. There is not a lot of shimmy-shammying in midfield; you get the ball, you better do something with it, fast, like go forward and attack, or else you're going to lose it. And what's more, just the passing and trapping abilities of the players is, quite frankly, leagues beyond the MLS in my opinion.

The Bundesliga strikes me as a little bit sloppier but even faster and more desperate than the EPL, which makes for extremely fun soccer.

What struck me about the game I saw today was the raw physicality apparent on the field, but done within the rules. I'm not talking about guys tripping each other or playing dirty, but I'm talking about just extremely physical football. Guys going shoulder to shoulder every play, trying to muscle each other off the ball at every opportunity. There was a real hunger and desperation about the match that made it absolutely the most engaging soccer I've ever seen. It was as though every minute was the last.


Popular posts from this blog

New Yorker Fiction Review #146: "Three Short Moments in a Long Life" by John L'Heureux

Issue: May 9, 2016

Story: "Three Short Moments in a Long Life" by John L'Heureux

Rating: $

Review: I feel like this is a somewhat tired technique, straight out of Creative Writing 101: write a story consisting of three or four different snapshots or snippets out of a character's life at different ages, sort of like a series of written photographs. Fun perhaps, but strikes me as a bit amateurish. However, I also think L'Heureux succeeds here by pushing it a bit further, playing with the character's tentative attempts at something close to faith -- in childish, adult, and mature adult ways -- and tying all three "Short Moments" together in a subtle and readily decipherable way.

L'Heureux's prose and his frank humor and his ability to glorify and find the meaning in the mundane events and thoughts of every day life, and thereby turn the life of an ordinary person into a drama with meaning and significance puts me in mind of John Irving. As well a…

New Yorker Fiction Review #151: "The Bog Girl" by Karen Russell

From the June 20 issue...

My loyal readers (if there are still any, which I doubt) will know I'm usually not a fan of Magical Realism, which, as you may also know, is Karen Russell's stock in trade. That said, there's nothing I love more than having my antipathy for magical realism shattered by an awesome story like "The Bog Girl."

Briefly, an Irish teenager discovers the body of a young woman who as been buried in a bog for over 2,000 years and begins to date her. What more do you need, right? If I'd read that one-line description somewhere else, and wasn't on a mission to review every New Yorker short story, I doubt I'd have read "The Bog Girl." But maybe I should start doing a George Costanza and do the opposite of everything I think I should do.

Where Russell succeeds here is in two main areas: 1.) Making us really love Cillian, the teenager who falls in love with the bog girl, and 2.) pulling the unbelievable trick making the characters…

Water Review: San Pellegrino 250ml Bottle

Damn you, tiny little bottle of San Pellegrino. So little. So cute. But what are you really good for other than to make me wish I had a full bottle of Pellegrino? 
Good as a palate cleanser after a nice double espresso, I will give it that. But little else. The suave yet chaotic burst of Pellegrino bubbliness is still there, but with each sip you feel the tragedy of being that much closer to the end of the bottle, that much faster.

This is a bottle of water made specifically for the frustrated, for the meticulous, for the measurers among us with a penchant for the dainty. This water does not love you in the wild, on a sunny porch or with the raucous laughter of friends. No...much the opposite. Whatever that may be.

Best drunk in tiny, tiny sips, while forcing oneself through an unreadable and depressing Russian novel one does not want to read but feels one should, on a cold, wet day in December that promises four months of gloom and depression...or in pairs or threes and poured over …