We had the honor of being invited by Darrin to join him to see Antony play today's home game against Málaga. Slushie emailed and said Darrin was treating and that there would be no arguments. (Have I told you how bossy she can be?) I emailed back that we'd love to go, but I couldn't guarantee no arguments. Well, Darrin isn't quite so bossy, but after our five seconds of opening comments, it was clear there really would be "no arguments."
The municipal stadium is just up the hill from us; I pass it on my way to the gym. So, San Geraldo and I skipped morning coffee at Café Manila and instead walked the four minutes up to the stadium for our coffee and Darrin's company before enjoying the game. This was our first live European fútbol game ever and, although the teams were made up of pre-teens, we saw some real talent (and exceptional sportsmanship).
|THE ENTRANCE TO THE STADIUM.|
|INSIDE THE STADIUM, DEDICATED TO LOCAL FÚTBOL SUPPORTER ANTONIO BASILIO.|
(I WAS TOLD IT'S A GOOD LIKENESS...)
|ANTONY IN FRONT. AN AMAZING DEFENSIVE PLAYER AND ALL-ROUND GOOD SPORT.|
|REALLY MAKING THE OTHER TEAM WORK.|
|A TEAMMATE WARMING UP ALONG WITH ANTONY BEFORE GOING BACK INTO THE GAME.|
PER DARRIN, NO MATTER HOW COOL YOU ARE, YOU'LL LOOK LIKE A TWIT DOING THIS.
Both teams were surprisingly good but Team Antony won, 5–1! There were no major injuries. Just a couple of close calls. One close call was when Antony was guarding an opposing player who slipped and fell. No fault of Antony's. And Antony showed exceptional sportsmanship when he tried to save the player from sliding into the iron railing. There was some drama (I think players are taught that in Soccer 101), but the boy was fine, and Antony checked on him as soon as there was a break in the action.
|SECOND HALF AND WE MOVED TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STADIUM.|
CLICK TO ENLARGE AND SEE HOW SERIOUS ANTONY CAN BE.
Another close call was right after San Geraldo purchased our coffees. We were heading down the steps to the cement bleachers and San Geraldo didn't realize the last step was a doozie. It was actually the height of a bleachers seat. He stepped off and was surprised to feel only air when his shoe should have hit pavement. He jerked forward, spilling his coffee and knocking mine into me (and my clean shirt). Darrin commented that, since San Geraldo is now "light as a feather," he was able to save himself from a major fall. But he did jerk his knee, his touchy knee. No great drama at the time, but I might be hearing about this one later.
|KEEPING HIS EYE ON THE BALL.|
(CLICK TO ENLARGE.)
Oh, and Darrin told us when we changed seats at half-time that, since we were sitting right behind the goal, we'd have to throw back wild balls. We told him he was on his own if a ball came in our direction. Well, a wild ball did come our way. I was shooting video as it flashed by (glad it didn't whack me in the head). Apparently, San Geraldo simply ducked. I think some mamá de futbol (soccer mom) might have head-butted it back into action.
Watch the video below. At around 12 seconds, you'll see the ball quickly pass in front of the camera and you'll hear San Geraldo's comment. Also, see if you think the very cool 14- and 15-year-olds look like twits when they warm up.