Welcome, friends. It's that special day yet again. Let's get ready to all lose our marbles just a little bit.
Reading the press lately would have you believe Barça have already won the match, the league, revolutionized the game, filled in a perfect March Madness bracket, figured out the Ultimate Question behind the Ultimate Answer of Life (which we already know is 42), and Real Madrid might as well turn the bus around and head home. Yes, Real Madrid have seen better form, and yes, Barça recently beat up "England's best" (which is an oxymoron). But unlike the Madrid Derby, El Clásico is often a skills competition under the guise of a football match. Here is what you can expect to feel, in any particular order.
- Contempt. Henry Rollins once said, "Nothing brings people together more, than mutual hatred." So say we all, Henry. Barça preach they're mes que un club, while buying Neymar with Monopoly money (or something like that, I don't even know), Xavi is a self-proclaimed moral authority on what types of football are acceptable, and Messi is hailed as the penultimate good guy. In the process, Real Madrid have been penned as the villains to Barça's heroes. And I say embrace it. I don't have a lawn, but if I did, I wouldn't mow it because I'm certain it would bother Xavi.
- Panic. Mash your sweaty palms into your forehead as the game goes into an inevitable lull. Think out loud about how different this whole team might be if Nuri Sahin had developed. We are doomed, all is lost, and the only battle left to fight is your tear ducts vs your tears.
- Clairvoyance. Preface every sentence with, "At this rate, we're going to ___."
- Confidence. I mean, outside of their front three, their entire team is a mish-mash of has-beens and whats-his-names. They're impostors and are ripe for the steamrolling.
- Petulance. Anything Blaugrana is an eyesore, and their transfer ban isn't nearly long enough. Also, they might as well put "Referees everywhere" in their ring of honor for being the club's best benefactors.
- Superstition. (I am aware superstition is not an emotion but bear with me). Yes, it very much does matter if you change your kit at the half. Your watching rituals undoubtedly have an impact on the match, and if Real lose, remember, it's all your fault.
- Doubt. Why do you do this to yourself? Football is a silly game, and you're silly for letting it affect your emotions. Go take a walk.
- Relief. For better or for worse, when the final whistle goes, you're free to return to the real world. See you again next weekend.