This is a quiet moment in European soccer (football) even though the winter pause, where observed, is over. As someone who follows both the Bundesliga (German First Division) and the Premier League (United Kingdom), I pause as well to honor a sadness that forever links Manchester United with the city of Munich and to its first division team, Bayern Munchen.
Manchester United plays this afternoon, our time, against West Ham United (favorites of Iron Maiden, I kid you not) while Bayern won yesterday for only the first time since the winter pause ended, beating VfB Stuttgart, 2-0.
Both teams spend a fair amount of most seasons at or near the top of their respective leagues while also engaged in furious competitions against their opposite numbers from across the Continent in competitions offered by the Union of European Football Associations, UEFA; they battle fiercely and often against one another.
Fifty-seven years ago, actually this Friday passed, Manchester United following a match in then-Yugoslavia against Red Star Belgrade, was flying home and stopped to refuel at Munchen-Reims Airport. Of the forty-four passengers, twenty-three, to include eight Man U players, would die after a (third) failed attempt to take-off.
We in the Land of the Round Doorknobs too often take our sport too seriously (death threats against Pete Carroll after Seattle's loss to New England in the Super Bowl; why should we hope it's only a whack-job?) perhaps because we struggle in using on field victories and losses to find the balance in our lives between who we really are and whom we've always dreamt of being.
Sadness such as Manchester's helps them and all who love any sport to better place wins and losses in a better and more proper perspective.