Buy New Albion’s Limited Edition Messi Art Print Here
Being a fan is a constant state of evaluation and re-evaluation. A sport or a game never remains static. Every week we get new information, performances and accomplishments which help us process and change the way in which we perceive a game, its players and its living history.
The constant reshuffling of the greats of the games we love is one of the greatest indulgences of the armchair fanatic. Arguing with friends over where to place Kareem vs Wilt or Thurston vs Joey Johns is the lifeblood of the idle yet engaged. Beers are finished, arguments purveyed and remonstrations ensue as we shuffle and reshuffle our ultimate 5s, 11s, 13s or 1s like our own pride and reputations are at stake.
Which is why when someone comes along to completely shatter our expectations, we’re left grasping.
At first we’re cynical. No way is this upstart as good as Ronaldo (9) much less to be considered one of the best to ever play. Then we watch a little more, and some more. We’re slowly seduced by the possibility of greatness unveiling itself before our eyes.
A run which makes you wish you weren’t sitting by yourself in the living room when you saw it. A pass which looks as if it was designed by a physicist, such is its accuracy. Lower Hadron Collider. Energy bouncing off tackles and sprinting into space. No words or references save historical comparisons to the all-time pantheon and pedestal of the elite will suit.
We still don’t buy in. We’re sensible and we know how this will end. A couple of years of excellence, an injury or a bad transfer and then it’s over. Michael Owen. Derrick Rose. Ben Barba. Gone before they began. Perpetual what-if. A moment, albeit beautiful, moment in time.
Except it doesn’t end that way. It gets better. It evolves, gets faster which we didn’t think was even possible. Scores more goals, sets more up. Becomes even more of a superlative. All of a sudden he’s in those conversations; the ones we come back to like comfortable clothes where we once again rank the all-timers. The people we need to see live. The people who when they played, made us to stop and draw a collective breath in anticipation of what may potentially come next.
We scrutinise their history, their back stories and try to insert them into our collective narrative of the game. We compare and we contrast and we argue. All to try and make sense of the story which is happening before our eyes. Our glasses are empty and our throats are dry. Our pedestals, pantheons and Mount Rushmores, have been reforged – carving out space for someone new.
Someone who might just be the best we have ever seen.
New Albion Sports is proud to present Messi as part of The Football Film Festival.
6.30pm | Friday 23 October | Palace Norton Street, Leichhardt | Buy Tickets
Buy Ben Toupein x New Albion’s Limited Edition Messi Print Here
James Wright is an editor at New Albion.