Strip Club–Air Dance Edition
Over time my fandom of all sports and teams has been tempered by a realization that these are just games and should have no influence on how I feel about myself, how I treat others and how it impacts my day. For a while I followed FC Barcelona (watched games, tried to stay on top of transfer rumors, kept track of player news, followed club politics, etc.), but didn’t live and die with every result.
So FCB’s eternal rivals are Real Madrid and as a corollary, I should have hated Los Merengues, but I didn’t. What? I respect the club but don’t hate the club. I respect their heritage and talent but wasn’t going to spit on them. I really enjoyed Phil Ball’s book White Storm, which summarized the history of the club quite well.
Had I started following Real Madrid during the first Galactico era (Figo, Zidane, Becks, El Fenómeno, etc), the Evil Empire may have been my preferred Spanish team. Instead I started watching the Blaugrana during the days of Rivaldo, Figo, Luis Enrique, and the Dutch contingent, and loved to watch their brand of football.
(Images courtesy of Colours of Football)
I say all this to explain why I had the 2003/04 Real Madrid Home and Away kits in addition to all of the FCB jerseys and items in my collection. I found them on eBay as a package deal for a ridiculous price so I picked them up.
That season they were coached by Carlos Queiroz and finished fourth, losing their last five matches, with Valencia winning the title and FCB finishing second. Los Merengues lost the Copa del Rey final to Zaragoza in extra time, while in the Champions League, after winning their group (2nd place was eventual champions Porto) and beating Munich in the round of 16, they lost to Monaco on away goals in the quarter finals.
The jerseys were fantastic—lightweight, breathed well, looked sharp. The Away kit wass a bit too big for whatever reason but the Home jersey fit snuggly and when I put the whole package together—white shirt, white shorts and white socks—I could understand the allure and dynamics of the all-white kit.
During my move to Atlanta I trimmed down my collection and gave the shirts to a couple of Los Blancos fans in Lansing. Now they can be worn by true fans in the club’s pursuit of the next title at home and abroad.