It's Never Next Year

The short shelf life of immortality
Share |

We are all Zico. The artist formerly known as Arthur has once more been trudging down memory lane, all the way back to the scene of the terrible accident: Brazil's elimination from the 1982 World Cup at the hands of Italy.

Brazil were seemingly on the brink of something astounding that year. They played with an exuberance and flamboyance that recalled their 1970 predecessors. Even a mere dozen years later, the latter had already taken on a mythical sheen: pickled forever in thin Mexican air and hazy colour TV footage, resting on the boundary between the modern game and the golden age that's forever yesterday. Yet here was the next generation doing it again, like the best Brazilian music, at once cohesive and loose as hell. But the 1970 ideal was subjected to a curious kind of refinement. Like genius utopians who in their enthusiasm neglected to specify the correct aggregate for the concrete, Brazil were now showing us what would happen if the game were ruled by footballing midfielders; rigorous defending would just have been buzz-harshing. Who needed it? Immortality beckoned.

Immortality then poked their eye out with its beckoning finger. Needing a draw against (insert inverted commas according to taste) big, bad, ankle-biting, catenaccio-dealing Italy to reach the semi-finals, Brazil went behind twice, equalised twice, and finally succumbed to Paolo Rossi's hat-trick goal. The dream team suffered a waking nightmare, and it still haunts Zico. For him, it was more than just a defeat, not just one elimination out of 23. "If we had won that game, football would have been different," he says. "Instead, we started to create football based on getting the result at whatever cost, football based on breaking up the opposition's move, and based on fouling the opposition." Brazil's heartache was the world's; a great terribleness was loosed on all mankind: "That defeat for Brazil was not beneficial for world football." The entire sport—nay, world—was permanently besmirched. Everything was ruined forever.

As I noted last time out, sport is essentially an optimistic endeavour, whether for the participant, fan or disinterested spectator. Its patron is that slimy cad called hope. It's often hope against hope, but no matter—sport promises that there's always a crumb of it to be had somewhere, under the cushion of despair or perhaps stuck to the sole of the shoe of blind terror. It takes a hard case to finally give it the slip; we keep coming back for more. Sport's great comfort that it offers renewal. Things may be bad now, but the reset button will present itself soon enough. There's always next year, when everyone takes to the start line in a straight line.

But we also know, Zico and I, that it's no more than that: a comfort, a necessary lie. "There's always next year" breaks the laws of sporting physics. It presumes an infinity that doesn't exist. It suggests that if you spool the film on long enough, the ending that you want will at some stage produce itself. It predicts that if sport were to continue for long enough, the joy, happiness, contentment would eventually spread out everywhere to an even depth. But it clumps and bypasses; you can trip up over a lifetime's supply or watch it appear and vanish just out of reach. Every dog may have its day, but for some, that day is an appointment with an uncooperatively momentum-enhanced vehicle or the vet and his poochie-go-sleepy-bye-wye needle.

The times when "there's always next year" breaks down are when things get really interesting; the moral of the best sports stories is "it's never next year". The immovable object of Andy Roddick giving way just an inch to Roger Federer in the 2009 Wimbledon final; the invisible speck of dust on his line ruining Doug Sanders' best chance of winning a major; Zinedine "The Rhino" Zidane; Laurent Fignon, +0' 08"; Don Fox, poor lad ... All of these episodes are defined by the moment triumph disappeared beneath the horizon for good as athletic mortality loomed. Even for teams—those theoretically immortal memes who may literally always have a next year—it still holds true. A season or tournament is not quite a neutral space. Not every year is identical. Some attain a kind of fervour that may be beyond reason. Brazil, for instance, were doing unearthly things that were sure to get their reward. When the fever grips, next year won't do.

We're lucky enough to be able to think of sport—still an upstart phenomenon—as a constant. We've never been without it, and we can reasonably imagine it will always be there, a funny little seam enriching our inner lives. "There's always next year" (next week, tomorrow...) is a genuine solace for which we should count our blessings. One of the parallel attractions of sport, however, is its capacity to freeze time. We want it to carry on forever, but we wilfully abandon the perpetual flow. We can't help it—we want to get lost in now. It's what gives the good times their savour: when there's no next year, this is the only reality and thus the best of all possible worlds. That same draw also makes the bad times all the worse. The chance of another go is of little use; you've already surrendered to the fiction that what's happening right now is all there is. In the moment, it's non-negotiable.

Of course, the sting of defeat can be salved by imagining an alternative reality in which justice prevailed and everything in the universe was just tickety-bloody-boo. So Zico posits that heaven on earth was just a goal away. I also know that had the referee disallowed Meath's illegal goal in the last minute of the 2010 Leinster final, thus giving Louth the win, the sun would have reigned and shone forever, or at least until Louth were hockeyed in the All-Ireland quarter-final. Here's what you could have won, world, if you hadn't fucked up.

Salved? Rubbed in, more like. In Futebol: The Brazilian Way of Life, Alex Bellos interviews João Luiz de Alberquerque, "journalist, broadcaster and Colourful Local Figure". He was at the de facto final of the 1950 World Cup, in which Uruguay's Alcides Ghiggia silenced 200,000 Brazilians with a winner. Defeat had been unthinkable; the nation was genuinely traumatised. Scapegoats were sought. Some blamed an innate Brazilian inferiority complex. Others blamed the goalkeeper, Moacyr Barbosa, who had to bear the shame for the rest of his life (as late as 1993, he was barred from the national team's training ground in case he brought bad luck). Something had to be the reason. It couldn't have been just another result: it was too big a calamity for that:

He [João Luiz] puts his whisky down and puts his palms 10cm apart. 'The tragedy was this size. But everyone had a tragedy this size.' He stretches his arms as far apart as they can go [...] 'I think the defeat took on such big proportions because it is natural to orchestrate reality — you suffer less if you are squashed by something huge. It marks you less...'

João Luiz subsequently re-edited Casablanca so that Ilsa never boarded the plane. Naturally, he then did the same with footage of the Fateful Final, making it appear that Ghiggia's shot had hit the post and that Brazil had gotten the draw they needed. But the reimagining of the story will always one big reference to the original one, its shadow. The winners never dare entertain the Many Worlds theory.

João Luiz's efforts make for an interesting complement to Paulo Perdigão's story, also mentioned by Bellos, in which the protagonist goes back in time to try and prevent Ghiggia's goal. (It was later made into a short film.) From behind the goal, he shouts at Barbosa as the shot is struck, but only ends up distracting him. The ball goes in, as it has to.


Share |

Comments

Excellent read, Positive site, where did u come up with the information on this posting?I have read a few of the articles on your website now, and I really like your style. Thanks a million and please keep up the effective work.
http://optics4hunter.soup.io/

women's designer sandals I researed valuable information on this point as I am working on a class project. Thank you posting useful information and its now becoming easier to accomplish this task.

Kentucky Derby 2017Website
The article has actually peaks my interest. I am going to bookmark your web site and maintain checking for brand new information.

I continuously livelihood on upcoming to your parcel again retributory in containerful you have posted new list. siding repair charleston sc

press release distribution
This web site is really a walk-through for all of the info you wanted about this and didn’t know who to ask. Glimpse here, and you’ll definitely discover it.

This is a decent post. This post gives really quality data. I'm certainly going to investigate it. Truly extremely helpful tips are given here. Much thanks to you to such an extent. Keep up the acts of kindness. assisted living in western connecticut

Goodness! This could be a standout amongst the most valuable web journals we have ever go over on thesubject. Really great data! I'm additionally a specialist in this theme so I can comprehend your exertion. Domino Online

it's really nice and meanful. it's really cool blog. Linking is very useful thing.you have really helped lots of people who visit blog and provide them usefull information.LIC Maturity Calculator

Simply respecting your work and thinking about how you dealt with this site so well. It's remarkable to the point that I can't bear to not experience this significant data at whatever point I surf the web! adu q

I am glad to discover this post Very valuable for me, as it contains parcel of data. I Always like to peruse The Quality and happy I discovered this thing in you post. Much appreciated hiv symptoms in men

broadly speaking very undogmatic categories unreal in multiple areas and languages Niche comments | web2.0 blogs

Make sure that the design of the postcard is designed in the way that it represents your business in the best possible light. affordable flyer printing india

There animator that may be obtained very easily. But, essentially, all your animators possess the capacity and also ability connected with different.
This Website

First You got a great blog .I will be interested in more similar topics. i see you got really very useful topics.
Masters Golf

I am always searching online for articles that can help me. There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also.
The Masters 2017

it's really nice and meanful. it's really cool blog. Linking is very useful thing.you have really helped lots of people who visit blog and provide them usefull information.
Harum Malam

click resources
There animator that may be obtained very easily. But, essentially, all your animators possess the capacity and also ability connected with different.

You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post. I was exactly searching for. Thanks for such post and please keep it up. Great work.
Aurawhite gold collagen

First You got a great blog .I will be interested in more similar topics. i see you got really very useful topics.
WrestleMania

Info is out of this world, I would love to read more. Mikrowelle Test

We believe that everyone deserves a chance at moving ahead with their lives. In our Mitigation services we strive to provide the Court with your history For our other court appointed services, our goal is to help provide the most up to date and relevant interventions.
Final Four 2017

WrestleMania 2017
Through this post, I know that your good knowledge in playing with all the pieces was very helpful. I notify that this is the first place where I find issues I've been searching for. You have a clever yet attractive way of writing.

Wow, What a Excellent post. I really found this to much informatics. It is what i was searching for.I would like to suggest you that please keep sharing such type of info.Thanks
retaining walls omaha

this is truly pleasant to read..informative post is great to read..thanks a considerable measure! charleston plumbers

This substance is composed extremely well. Your utilization of organizing when mentioning your focuses makes your objective facts clear and straightforward. Much obliged to you. drinksati.com

You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post. I was exactly searching for. Thanks for such post and please keep it up.
2017 anzac day activities

SBI Recruitment 2017
I couldn't find any knowledge on this matter prior to.Also operate a site and if you are ever interested in doing some.

Yes i am completely concurred with this article and i simply need say this article is extremely decent and exceptionally useful article.I will make a point to be perusing your blog more. You made a decent point yet I can't resist the urge to ponder, shouldn't something be said about the other side? !!!!!!THANKS!!!!!! split air conditioning perth

Wow, What a Excellent post. I really found this to much informatics. It is what i was searching for.I would like to suggest you that please keep sharing such type of info.Thanks credit report gov

I definitely enjoying every little bit of it. It is a great website and nice share. I want to thank you. Good job! You guys do a great blog, and have some great contents. Keep up the good work.
خرید اینترنتی لباس

pooja accessories online
Thanks for giving me this information. Keep posting. Ready to escape insomnia’s vicious circle and reboot your brain for sound sleep.

Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.
Happy Holi Images

Positive site, where did u come up with the information on this posting?I have read a few of the articles on your website now, and I really like your style. Thanks a million and please keep up the effective work. designer labels

I am very happy to read this article .. thanks for giving us go through info.Fantastic nice.
Website Design Colchester

Great web site. Lots of helpful information here. I am sending it to some friends ans also sharing in delicious. And certainly, thanks to your effort!
Floweraura promotion codes

I have been intelligent for hours and I haven't gone through such awesome stuff. visit site

Such a very useful article. Very interesting to read this article.I would like to thank you for the efforts you had made for writing this awesome article.
website

films put out by Warner Bros. in 2000 were joint ventures, up from 10% in 1987).[18] A hopeful director is almost never given the opportunity popcorn flix

Thanks for writing such a good article, I stumbled onto your blog and read a few post. I like your style of writing… fashion Week

Alongs he honed in on that in hellos dictate to expound pretty drive he’s so curious.2004 odyssey car covers

I discovered your site ideal for me. It consists of wonderful and useful posts. I've read many of them and also got so much from them. In my experience, you do the truly amazing.Truly i'm impressed out of this publish..!
ALC Clothing

I really appreciate this wonderful post that you have provided for us. I assure this would be beneficial for most of the people.!
More style from ALC

This is an incredible motivating article.I am basically satisfied with your great work.You put truly extremely supportive data... medical video production orange county

Newyorkcityseo.net can be fitter explained as "a new breeding SEO Organization in US that delivers 100% ethical SEO services using the sassy web marketing come that entirety in the stream hunt engine manufacture. seo package prices

Michael Watchorn
You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post. I was exactly searching for. Thanks for such post and please keep it up. Great work.

valentines day loevs songs 2017
This content is written very well. Your use of formatting when making your points makes your observations very clear and easy to understand. Thank you.

Got some appealing information and would like to give it a try. Applaud your work and keep sharing your information.
happy st patricks day quotations

Yes, great US Military force. Also, in his post you have given a chance to listen about US Military. I really appreciate your work. Thanks for sharing it. Cleaner Brooklyn

Thanks for sharing this information. I really like your blog post very much. You have really shared a informative and interesting blog post with people.. home cleaning new york

this website
You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post. I was exactly searching for. Thanks for such post and please keep it up.