Thursday, January 10, 2008

The "it's almost Friday" rant

*The Revolution introduced its new home kit for the upcoming season today, and by my estimation, it's an amalgamation of the 2005 and 2006-07 kits, with a collar thrown in for good measure.

Here's what I like: the trademark adidas stripes have finally made its way to the neck, which always bothered me about the previous two kits. In that aspect, the kit is appealing, as I have many Euro kits that feature this common design. The red accents under the sleeves is nice as well, and in fact, since the reintroduction of red to the 2006 kits, the red is a wonderful complimentary color.

What I don't like: the overall design is somewhat bland. It certainly isn't as eye catching as many of the European kits (granted, many of these kits utilize a common template), but we don't know what parameters were given to each club's design. Indeed, you weren't going to see a reincarnation of the magnificently-designed 1996 kit (stars and stripes and all), but something about the current kit just mumbles "here I am...", and not "HERE I AM YOU SUPAH-REVS!"

The road kit hasn't been revealed yet, but based upon the home design, it would probably dictate a white body, red underarm accents, and navy shoulder stripes. Hard to imagine, I know.

*The only thing I love more about being Portuguese than the food is the soccer that comes on RTP. Last night, I was treated to a Liga Vitalis (second division Portuguese football to the layperson) match between Penafiel and Beira-Mar. I am a casual follower of Portuguese Liga football (Benfica!), and was unaware of the second division Liga Vitalis. Thus, as I was finishing up my late-dinner in the front of the television, I immediately jumped on the laptop to look up info on the sides. In between, however, I was duly impressed with both keepers, who made magnificent saves to keep the score 1-1 when it very likely could have been 4-4. So published props to Jerome Palatsi (Penafiel) and Bruno Sousa (Beira-Mar) for their spectacular performances.

* I never truly began to appreciate my Portuguese heritage until my Vovo passed away last February. How does this relate to soccer? You see, my Vovo and Vovo were devoted Benfica fans, and it is because of them that I root for Benfica.

However, it hasn't been until recently that I began to fully appreciate my Portuguese culture, thanks, in part, to my love of soccer. When I was a child, I distinctly remember watching Portuguese Liga matches on a large, wood-paneled television set at my grandparents' apartment. I fondly recall and not knowing what the heck was going on either, due to my unfamiliarity with the sport and language. But I also carry many recollections of wanting to like soccer (such as during the '94 World Cup and the '99 Women's World Cup), but just never finding a reason to until fairly recently. Thankfully, I eventually discovered, embraced, and came to love the sport, just like my grandparents did when they were my age.

Needless to say, I was extremely saddened when my Vovo passed away. I still miss him tremendously, even to this day. However, there is one distinct memory that will forever be ingrained into my mind.

It was one of the final family get-togethers my Vovo attended (he attended them all - my grandfather was happiest in the company of his loving family). I arrived at my godparents' house with a newly-purchased Benfica kit, ready to show off to my grandparents. Upon seeing the familiar eagle crest affixed to the left chest of the shirt, my Vovo smiled at me, cheerfully grabbed my shoulders, and said "Oh! Benfica! That is wonderful, Brian!" with a proud smile on his face. A moment that will last with me for the rest of my days, for sure.

Since that moment, I have found myself privileged and honored to root for the same club my grandparents rooted for when they were my age. I hope that in some way, I am carrying on a wonderful tradition that began with my grandparents that I hope to pass on to my children someday as well.

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