This Week In Roma, This Year In Existence

Dean Mouhtaropoulos

We live an existence of change. This manifested refraction of progression, regression; the nauseating see-saw of hope, despair, longing, fear, peel-the-skin-off-your-chest, thrust-the-net-into-the-butterflies-of-your-stomach cruel bitch change. The pantheonic promise of Zdenek Zeman's devil-may-care idealism laid waste one day for Aurelio Andreazzoli's devil-may-I-be blue collar bent. A temple of the gods sitting side-by-side a house of men. Much like that spoiled, indecisive little wench and her locks of gold, we often find our place somewhere in the middle, nestled cozily in the bosom of comfort, a longing for the metaphorical existence of our mother's teats. Rudi Garcia is no teat. Comfort, he is not; he is Roma.

The irony in the crest is not lost. Ancient tales notwithstanding, we find ourselves staring at two boys, suckling at the nectar of life. A club, a society, ever on the precipice of development, yet constantly stumbling back into the bosom of the wolf, still just boys in the nest. Still just boys awaiting their story, not writing it. This has come to divine an identity, an aura which dwarfs the glass shelves in the club's offices. "Yeah, we got a few." Nice story. So if they wanted to impose an appropriate restructuring of Brand Roma, the change on the crest shouldn't have found a kid with forty Crayolas and a directive of reproductive ease. It should have been Faustulus and Acca Larentia. It should have been Amulius, soul quivering violently as his last breaths escaped his mortal vessel. Not quite there, but not quite the nest - they're out. There should have been blood. Every great city is built on blood; everything great is built on blood. Change is fraught with pain, and pain is beauty, pain is Roma. Perhaps we'll just have to visualize it so.

Sport? Sport is nothing. It's a joke. It's a bunch of overpaid, overgrown little whiny babies given overblown societal importance on the account their bodies can do something better than you, faster than you, stronger than you, longer than you. They are better, therefore you are worse. It's not true, but we believe it. The heart, the mind; they have superior value. Roma is not a Cinderella story, nor was she. She is neither David nor Goliath. The financial backbone laid to ruin propped up by suits behind suits behind suits behind a white, black, and red ATM machine is still a running river. Her modern beauty came in that success needed be a product of the mind. For a brief period she spent. She became that ATM machine which would eventually consume her. A trophy fell. But she spent unwisely. She crumbled. She found her existence on the penultimate step. She has stumbled once again. She appeals. The narrative, Love. I want it. Write me a narrative.

In Rudi, they've found an exploiter, an alchemist. A cultured, slightly idealistic tactician who found glory nestled quietly in the north of Gaul on a limited budget of limited men who might be from there, or over there, or someone get me a goddamn atlas. iPhone. I meant iPhone. Progression, right? He is not a position; he is not defined by his title. He is not a mister. He is more. He's a cog in the machine. A once dichotomy has suffered a killing stroke.

For all the vitriol spat toward the ashes of Walter Sabatini's desired ashes, the man is no victim of fear. Bill Gates is not walking through that door. Warren Buffet is not walking through that door. That dude from the television show with the money and the other stuff is not walking through that door. James Pallotta is walking through that door with a perpetual ensemble ripped right from the racks of the clubhouse on the 18th green and such an air of Italian-American-ness he just might've fathered the Jersey Shore Season Whatever. There will be no girls poolside in bikinis stuffing bills in their G-strings with wandering eyes and ever further wandering legs while daddy drinks himself into a state of self-confrontation and reconciled regret. This is no music video. They're clipping coupons again. They're maximizing input while minimizing output. Frivolity. The mind. It is not the concept that has changed, it's the method. It is one organization's fee rather than one athlete's fortune. This is progressive, this is hopeful. Walter can either fish at home and build smartly, or go out like James fucking Dean doing eighty-five over a hairpin curve in a Spyder. Maybe do both. Cool. That's probably the wise man's word. But if it's one, let's go out like James with James, I say.

The only suckers Walter's bought is a follically-challenged American grindhorse who is no sucker at all and a pony-tailed Italian wingback who appeared a bombshell but morphed into the Manhattan Project 2.0 for 87.9% of the season while his wife dreamed to dance a Parisian Kitri. Ooh la la. The most intelligent, well-thought purchase of his tenure, a tall glass of French-Moroccan aqua, will arrive alongside Le Rockstar while another wannabe slings his six-string over his heavily-tattooed torso and glances across the shoulder of his ruffled plaid button-down on the way out of town, lamenting what a rock band they would've made. But safety? Safety holds no quarter in Rome. There will be more. Some will make no sense. Others will carry the dreaded tag of a resigned "value." Youth - youth will happen. They will draw ire. They will draw the desire for ashes of ashes. But to Rudi they will make sense, because it's what he knows. They are not name, but body. And so what if they can't do it better, faster, stronger, you helmeted French geniuses, you. They are, and he can turn them into what will be. They have, for the first time, found what appears to be a perfect marriage for the brilliantly entertaining yet soul-crushing dysfunction which has befallen the recent past. They have found a man, not unlike a certain Roman icon, who can count himself as a resource. This is the potential for alchemy.

They have found a man who finds comfort in discomfort. They have found, once again, Roma: change in the static.

This is the only Roma we should know. Long live.

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