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Barcelona diaries 7 – Food-ball

by Oliver Benet

The beginning of the century was not a time I am very proud of. Just like the Mayas who knew they were going to the wall… be honest, I could see it happening to me. I was totally disorientated; I could not tell left from right, the back from the front, and I was not sure whether I was coming or going.

I chose to take the most erratic route out; football was going to be my life. I started following my team, wherever they went. I started a life of never-ending coach journeys, trains, cars, and even, at times, thumbing lifts. The ever-present violence helped me forget the hours I spent travelling, weekends where tiredness and not eating properly were turned into authentic butchers’ shops physically speaking. Weekends that, apart from my mates, were accompanied by beer and my beer-stained football shirt, that if analyzed, would have been an authentic work of art, albeit from a horror museum.

Luckily for me, as the years have passed the terraces have remained a big part of my life and, after a long period of reflection I decided to sort myself out and ask football to give me something back, something that I gave a big part of my life to.

Now I follow my neighborhood team, CE Europa, a small but historic club from Barcelona. A club that is campaigning to SAY NO (DIGUEM NO in Catalan), SAY NO to fascism, homophobia, chauvinism and violence against women, and bullying.

Following CE Europa, I have found new friends; a lot of whom are going grey, and have a lot in common, people who share the same values; friendship, eating good food, and travelling to watch and enjoy the victories that our little ‘BIG’ team gives us every once in a while.

In the next article I will explain how I have managed to leave behind the turbulent world of the terraces that did not make sense and find a new more satisfying world where away matches have become sporting gastro-cultural events that are a much healthier addiction.

*Oliver Benet is a Catalan cook and writer of the book “Per què odiava en Ferran Adrià?”


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