“Song for Zula” by Phosphorescent. The first thing I heard after the strings (and I was on board as soon as I heard the strings) was wizened Springsteen. There were more comparisons to come - Jeff Tweedy popped his head in; Willie Nelson rubbed his eyes in the corner - but the first one carried my initial impression. We’ve heard this chord progression before, but you could say the same of any blues song, right? Call this indie-pop blues, shuffling down a melancholy path we know pretty well.
If you follow the team, you know that big games are coming up in June. This is the shirt you want to be wearing.
This is what we live for. Watching our guys walk out of the tunnel and onto the field at Estadio Azteca - the toughest 105-by–68-meter patch of soccer territory to conquer in North America - with everything at stake. Absorbing the vibration surging off the capacity crowd. Drawing in deep breaths as the anthems are played. Fighting through waves of emotion as the match bends back and forth. Screaming together, singing together, rooting together. Living and dying with our team.
Tomorrow, the U.S. takes on Mexico in Mexico City, in the most challenging North American match the Yanks can play. It only happens once every four years. They won’t control the atmosphere, the weather, the officials, their opponents’ talents or strategies, nor the few lucky bounces that will certainly pop up during the game. All the U.S. can control is all we’re asking of them: the level of their effort. We just want our guys to leave everything on the field. I happen to think we’re going to get a performance to be proud of. And I’m going out of my mind waiting for the whole thing to start.
We fanatics live for this stuff. Today, on the eve of U.S. vs. Mexico, I’m excited to reveal a new project made exactly for us, in moments exactly like this one.
Boston from the Longfellow tonight.
I’ve been reading much handwringing about what a product like Google Glass means for polite society. Because the item in question is a powerful computer shaped like eyeglasses, Glass can become an omnipresent documentarian of its wearer’s life - analyzing, recording and even live-streaming the events and faces that surround it - without giving much notice that it’s doing so. Among prominent writers who opine about technology, this is not going over well.
The Socccer Out of Context project has, so far, seen all 30 Major League Baseball clubs get soccer-style jerseys. So what comes next? Allow me to quote from the very end of my final M.L.B. post, covering the National League East:
Every few weeks or so, as I can, I’d like to do a further S.O.O.C. design from a pool of historic identities. (I’ll start with baseball clubs, but this could go anywhere, really.) Some of these names will have prominent histories; some existed in brief flourishes and are not well-documented. Some are the ancestors of existing professional franchise (i.e., “grandfathers”); others became visual dead ends (or “ghosts”). But all present some really interesting visual opportunities.
So here, I’m announcing the next phase of Soccer Out of Context pieces - a fictional league beyond the American and National, if you will. In fact I’m christening it the Ghosts and Grandfathers League. And I want you to help me decide which clubs are featured.
(The quotes are out of order, but then, this whole TRIAL is out of order!)
A few hundred of you took me up on my invitation by voting in the first G.&G. League ballot, and I can’t wait to get started. But lest I get ahead of myself, before we do, I thought I’d introduce you to the new series, explain a little more about why I’m going in this direction, and provide some more detail about how this continuation of Soccer Out of Context will work.