Barca, mes que un club; Barca, more than a club
In 1989, on Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Steaua Bucuresti lost the Champions League finals with AC Milan. I was 13 and I cried in my parents living room with no particular reason. I was neither a football fan, nor a Steaua big fan. However, I was in love with Marco van Basten, who scored in the finals for AC Milan, so I should have been happy for the achievement of my fiance of dreams.
Some time after weeping my cry of dissapointment that Steaua did not win, I decided to write an introductory love letter to Marco. Mind the times, there was no internet and no email.
The only available information source was the big book of fixed telephone numbers index. I looked for the number of FC Steaua and just imagine the reaction of the club’s secretary answering me, a 13 year old looking for a mailing address of Marco Van Basten. There was a stalker blood in my veins:)
Years after, I was joking with my hairdresser that I can not make appointments during the day before I’ll marry a footballer and I will simply do nothing. I did not marry a footballer, but I have a son whose dream is to be a great footballer. I was indirectly forced to learn many names, teams and logos, watch many games and hear many passionate comments, screams and swearing. Yes, my 10 year old son is sometimes swearing while watching an important football match, blame it on my mediocre parenting skills.
First, it was Bayern Munchen - but there were so many rolling one after another, that I lost track, so it might have been a different first, but I prefer to recall this one. I had to speak with Santa to bring him Goetze’s original equipment - if you do not know who Goetze is, just please search here - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mario_Götze
Then, he was in love with Lewandowski, who was not as popular in terms of available merchandise as Goetze and the others. Luckily, I had friends producing cycling outfits, so we improvised one - he was still at the age when he could not distinguish between an original and a fake.
Messi was an all time love, no matter of other passing by infatuations. He is so fascinated about him, that he was reading a full Messi’s biography and recomposed it in writting and drawing.
So, here we are, in the summer of 2017, in a group of kids, mothers and grandfathers heading to Camp Nou on a fun week in Spain. On a scale from 1 to 10, kids were excited as for 20, grandpas as for 7-8 due to long walking in the sun and a fast robbery in the metro. Mothers were happy to offer happy times to their kids and their fathers.
My son’s excitement turned him into a super talkative (not that he is not one on a regular basis), energetic, enthusiatic and happy kid. My father enjoyed the moment with him. It was more than a stadium visit, just as the Barca’s communication message: more than a club. It was a full experience of togethernesss, emotions, passions, living. It was a handover between generations, a melting of the past, present and future, a living proof of dreams that become true.
Minutes after we got in, my son started accusing a strong pain in his stomach. At the beginning, I did not pay attention, cause he is usually complaining, particularly after long walks. But then I noticed he was crying with pain, he could not walk and he kept holding his left hand on his stomach. I called a guard asking for a place to have him lied down. People were nice. My son was so upset because of the pain and the fear of missing the so long waited after moment that I was almost crying just like I did 28 years ago.
This time it was not about me, it was about him. I was not thinking: Oh, my God, I have to call the ambulance now, whatever mess we had with transfers and accomodation will be nothing compared to a medical emergency. I was only focused on his big wish to be there, on the stadium where Messi is playing, to read and watch and take photos of a club that has the Barcelona essence, lots of different sports sections, lots of history.
Fortunately, it was just a minor stomach pain most probaly caused by acidity, so in ten minutes he was able to enjoy the place at its full. He was running on corridors and rooms, taking tens of photos, asking to have him photographed with Messi’s golden shoes, the Champions League trophy, the footballers Tshirts.
After visiting the museum, having a tour in the press room, cloakroom, VIP lounge and finally the stadium, we got into the souvenirs shop. They are selling everything, including the grass from the field. This is when your brand allows you to even bottle the air you are breathing!
My son had his own money to buy what he wanted and it was very reasonable money for a 10 year old. But he was himself surprised of prices and he realized he can not have more than one personalized item. This is when his energy became lower and I bumped in saying: while you have to make some decisions, I’ll lend you some money and I’ll buy you with my money a new school bag.
- I am so happy, I am so happy he was shouting everywhere. I need to make a fast decision and my mind is so confused
We spent 3 hours in total. We spent the national minimum salary on the experience. I’d rather give up things, but not the joy that he would keep with him his whole life.
P.S. Marco din not answer to my letter, but the secretary was nice to give me an address and this is how the long list of impossible requests started in my life.
P.P.S. At 3:30 am upon our return in Bucharest, he gave back the money he borrowed.