I am always amazed at the twists and turns that life takes. The ups and downs sometimes come so quickly that our senses can't seem to keep up - we can very quickly find ourselves overwhelmed with sheer pain or sheer joy. The past week was no exception in the world of football.
On March 17 our beloved Tottenham Hotspurs were playing the Bolton Wanderers in an FA Cup quarterfinal match. It is our routine to record the matches that we are not home for - such was the case for this match. Before we could see the match we received news that Bolton's Fabrice Muamba, the 23 year old from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, collapsed on the pitch in the 41st minute. He had suffered a massive heart attack. After several minutes of resuscitation, Muamba was moved from the pitch and the resuscitation continued. Then the referee, Howard Webb, removed all players from the pitch and abandoned the match - a very respectful call on his part.
Though Muamba was critical for a time, the quick response of the physios and a Tottenham fan (who also happens to be a cardiologist) saved his life. Muamba is doing remarkably well now and is expected to fully recover. It was awesome to see how Bolton fans and Spurs fans alike, as well as the entire football world, rallied us all to prayer. I saw video clips of that day and I was moved by the compassion of everyone at White Hart Lane. We have not watched the recorded match, and we probably won't. As much as we love the Spurs, there will be other matches to watch - the important thing is that Muamba is on the mend.
Just a few days later, on March 20, Lionel Messi of Barcelona made history. Scoring a hat-trick against Granada he became the all time goal scoring leader for Barca with...wait for it...234 goals! Remarkable by any standard, but especially remarkable considering Messi is only 24 years old and is in his seventh season with Barca. This season he was also the first player in history to score five goals in a UEFA Champions League match (you must see the video for these goals - two of them were cheeky little chip shots over the keepers head) and he became only the fourth player to win three FIFA Ballon d'Or (best player in the world) honors. Whatever Messi is eating for breakfast, I want some. The man astounds me.
So, that was just a few days of twists and turns in the world of The Beautiful Game. In each case we that love the game gasped and had to catch our breath - we wept and prayed for Fabrice Muamba, we pumped our fists and cheered for Lionel Messi...then we pumped our fists and cheered for Fabrice Muamba! The great thing about football is that you don't know what to expect from week to week. However, the game gets more beautiful each and every day.