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Thankful to be Madridista

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Lessons from Real Madrid’s season

Al Ain v Real Madrid: Final - FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2018 Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images

Yesterday was Christmas. I was baking and prepping to cook all day. There is flour caked under my nails, and probably throughout my hair. (It’s a messy process.) My apartment smells of fresh-baked sourdough bread and I’m now currently baking cherry pie. My dog is currently curled up next to me on the couch while my fake fireplace is on in front of me. It’s quiet, I’m at peace, and I’m thankful. Thankful for the opportunities and struggles this year has brought. Thankful for those of you who read my words. Thankful for those of you who engage in the comment section. Thankful for a writing team that encourages each other. Thankful for the new friendships that have grown out of these past few months.

You know what else I’m thankful for?

1) A football team that has driven me batshit crazy at times, but has been a blast to watch. It’s been a rough start to this 2018/2019 season. Real Madrid have played hard, but the results haven’t always been there. It’s frustrating to watch the team with a lot of talent perform poorly against teams with less. (I keep thinking of it like a recipe. You can hand the exact same recipe to two different people and get two different results.) There’s been drama and frustration, but they’ve kept on.

2) A football team that shows what not giving up looks like. Sure, it would be easy to take the early season defeats mixed with the loss of the key parts of the 2017/2018 team, the bad press, the mid season staffing changes, and label each one of them as an excuse for why they’re not at the top — but they haven’t done that. They’ve come back harder and they’ve finally been getting results. I wrote back in August that they would start to turn around right around Christmas break – and they look like they have.

3) A football team that has handled the negative press thrown at it with class and grace. I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be to be asked time and time again about how they’re handling Ronaldo’s [comments, being gone, etc.] or about their poor form. They’ve handled it well though, albeit with a little snarkiness at times.

There are life lessons in these points. Can you see them?

1) You will probably drive yourself and those around you batshit crazy at times. You know you’re capable of [fill in the blank], but it doesn’t always come together like you want it to or imagine it will. Don’t worry – see #2.

2) You can’t give up. Whatever you’ve been through can be used as an excuse, but the answer is to not let it become a road block. Push through and keep fighting.

3) You will come up against negativity in your day to day. Handle it with patience and with grace. (Sometimes, a little snark might be warranted.)

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night. Hala Madrid!