Friday, May 11, 2012

How can you be for Espanyol?

I have had to answer that question many times even here where hardly anyone even knows that Barcelona have another club in town that plays football and have had to suffer the patronizing looks and the condolences for being so myopic not to have seen the wonders of FC Barcelona and my "poor choice of a club" as if supporting a club were a choice. I've said my peace on that before, but I've never read a better response to that question from a life-long perico, a real one not a made-up one like me, like the one I read on Cronica Perica by Eric Llorente which he titled "An Efficient Automated Answering Machine." Here is my attempt at translating the response to that question above. I couldn't have written a better one.

I am fed up. I know that sounds like the same refrain, but it's that I've already had more than enough. I am "re-fedded" to have to justify myself to the people from the other side and offer them explanations for why I am a perico. And when a derby match is close or has passed, these sorts of dialogues multiply notably- More than once I’ve had to hear this, "How can it be that you're with Espanyol?"- ‘La madre que te parió (the mother that bore you) ...!’ You mean I have to explain the why I am a perico since birth? The why I feel something special every-time I see the colors blue and white? I have to explain that those of us from Espanyol are a real, without "reasons"...? Enough man, enough. I am fed-up because I have had it.

These people have transformed me into an efficient, automated answering machine. I always have a piece ready to fit the puzzle. I have finally managed to do two things at the same time; the words emerge, without thinking, and it functions like this: After every, how can you be from Espanyol, the subject about the name always comes up, "Why do you call yourselves Español"? And I explain what we all know about the beginnings of our club, founded by Ángel Rodríguez and other university students of Laub, etc., and afterwards I comment on our colors being the colors of Roger de Llúria, differentiated from theirs, established by a Swiss citizen with the colors and the badge of FC Basel and initiated with primarily foreign players. And then, as if by a magic trick, they add that what always bothers them is that we call ourselves Español;that we should change our name... and this is when I lose it. I ask them something, of which we all know the answer to, I ask them their names and surnames, and almost always they'll come out with a Martínez, or a Gutiérrez or a Jiménez and I ask them then, that they should change theirs, shouldn't those bother them as well? There are times that they'll respond with purely Catalan names, but to those I'll ask them to translate their names into Swiss, a formula that works well for both cases and it irritates them immensely... at this point the tone of the conversation changes.

No one likes to leave losing and with that comes the usual, yours is a second division club, "A second division club, you pig?" In 112 years of our history we have been relegated 4 times and you call us a second division side? Or to clarify, that of those clubs that have been relegated at least once in their existence, we are the ones that have done it the fewest, and yet they continue with this nonsense? Evidently what they ignore, and because that is what they are, ignorant, and this is the moment in the conversation where it is appropriate to mention, that: "It is a certainty, that FC Barcelona were relegated in 1933-1934 but it was over-turned, the league was extended from 10 to 12 clubs and they were pardoned. None of them know it but it's even corroborated on their own website and it bothers them more than a bit (more than anything to take the mickey out, only…).

The next one, and one that’s very widespread, is that we let ourselves be beaten by Madrid and we only play well against Barça. Well, the answer to that is that historically speaking we have beaten Madrid more than Barça, and since FCB have lost to the merengues just recently the amusing comeback is to say that they only play well against Espanyol.

Many times then the culés, when they have nothing else to add, come out with the idea that he we have too many fascists in our house, but they need to understand that not anymore than in their own home, and that we haven’t ever had vice-presidents of the Francisco Franco Foundation, nor presidents of El Opus in our midst, and already posted, I tell you we never won, like them, all those titles in 40 years of the dictatorship, nor have we gotten a reclassification of land to build stadia in that time, nor have we been the government's club, nor have we received media manipulation for our side, nor are there politicians campaigning in our stands at every match.

And after all this they still insist that they're better because they always win and that we never win anything; would they like to be reminded that we Catalans haven't won many battles and that we are good people, but in return Hitler or Stalin won many and were bastards, but if we've settled on winning and losing, I've been pissing you off for a great while culé.

And I always end with a ¡Visca l'Espanyol!, never fails ... Amen.