Sports update: FC Barcelona played a mediocre game in Pamplona last night, a scoreless draw against Osasuna. Barça fans, and especially the Barcelona sports press, are already panicking. TV3 is speculating whether coach Frank Rijkaard will be fired before Christmas. Calm down, there are 38 league games, and Barça has won once at home and drawn twice away. That's not exactly horrible, especially when you figure that three of the team's best players, Puyol, Eto'o and Messi, are out with injuries. They still have plenty of time to put it together.
Last night all four new signings, Henry, Touré, Abidal, and Milito, played; so did Giovani and Bojan. That's six new players in one game. It'll take a few games to get them all used to one another.
Thuram looks slow, and Henry doesn't look especially fit. Marquez should be playing instead of Thuram, since he's the only defender they have who can make the long pass. The best thing to do with Henry is to let him play until he proves he really is washed up, rather than just a bit out of shape.
The Chiefs lost to the Bears. Everybody's calling the Chiefs the worst team in the league all of a sudden, although they made the playoffs last year. I'm not expecting them to be great, but the worst team in football is a bit of a stretch. Before the season, I figured they'd go about 7-9 or 8-8, and two away losses, one to last year's Super Bowl runner-up, don't mean disaster.
Spain lost the final of the European basketball championship to Russia. Spanish fans really jumped on the basketball bandwagon when Spain beat Greece in the world basketball championship last year. I can understand why, since the national soccer team is an embarrassingly perennial underachiever, and the basketball team has done very well lately.
Another thing, I think, is that the basketball players are mostly middle-class guys, more appealing to many people than the working-class football players. Many of the football guys seem to be model citizens, but some of them are kind of rednecks, some of them are OK but not very smart, some of them like living large in the way that the basketball guys don't, and some of them are out-and-out jerks.
Ranking of Spanish Sports Guys in Order of General Belovedness: 1) Rafael Nadal 2) Fernando Alonso 3) Raul Gonzalez 4) Pau Gasol 5) Iker Casillas