Some of us live in temperate climates, others in regions that experience multiple, starkly different seasons.
Regardless of where you live, I think this is hands down the worst time of the year.
I liken this season to autumn. Not the beautiful fall leaves and the warm comfy sweaters, but rather the slow, inevitable slide into the cold, bitter death that is winter.
Just as when the temperature starts to drop, and the leaves fall from the trees, we have no control over this period of time. No matter how hard we might wish to the contrary...
Real Madrid only have one more match left this season.
Reading that sentence back after I type it, well, it’s kind of depressing. Even though part of me is waiting with bated breath and eager anticipation for the UCL final against Juventus next week, let alone our chance at a double, I can’t shake the fact that as soon as that match is over...
There will be no more Real Madrid for months.
I’ll have to hunker down, just as in winter, and somehow figure out what I’m going to do during the off-season. Just like being barricaded by feet of snow and sub-zero temperatures, I won’t be able to see my neighbors (fellow Madrid supporters at the local tavern).
Just like the dead of January, I’ll have to resign myself to quiet introspection, alone, with nothing to warm my soul but the occasional treatise on existential philosophy, Real Madrid full match re-play or a recent Real Madrid column.
Just like the constantly blowing snow, and teeth-chattering cold, I’ll have to face the incessant, mind-numbing transfer rumors.
I think there is something particularly cruel about the juxtaposition of winter and the Real Madrid off-season. In essence, I have to face this barren landscape not only twice per annum, but in total, these desolate seasons comprise one full half of my entire year.
Until, at last, pre-season starts again.
Just when I think I can’t take it any more, and no attempt to warm my empty soul with hot chocolate, whiskey, or wearing my Real Madrid scarf adequately fills the void - the sun starts to shine again.
Pre-season travel, training day rondos, new signings, bright shiny uniforms - all come together to cast aside the cold. The warmth again radiates and I can feel it through my skin, into my bones, filling my soul.
Perhaps no true appreciation for the warmth can come without the cold. Perhaps absence does make the heart grow fonder, and perhaps my true passion for Real Madrid would be far more meted if I wasn’t forced to endure the yearly separation.
All I do know is that going into the last match of the season, no amount of impending darkness or cold distance will prevent me from feeling the fullness of pride, the electric excitement, and the resounding gratitude for being able to witness, again, the finest football club on the planet.