Once upon a time, I thought it a criminal waste of precious, Universe-given time and life to watch grown men running after an inflated ball. Or batting it, or bowling it. Once upon a time, as a child, I did both: kick balls, and hit them with bats and hockey sticks (hockey I was better at, but cricket I loved, though I often got bowled out within the first over). Now, many years of self-abnegation later, I find myself guilty, again, of spending time before a screen, watching grown men kick a ball around. And, as it happens, the focus of my affections at this moment is the Barcelona football team and its triad of attacking goal-scorers: Messi, Suarez, and Neymar. (A few years earlier, it was just the Brazilian national football team; and occasionally, during World Cups, the West African teams–the latter, because I have a habit of rooting for underdogs, and for poor, developing countries, except with basketball, where I always root for the powerful American team. Recently, after Zidane joined as manager, Real Madrid has also charmed me. And Manchester United, in two recent games.)

So that partly explains my being remiss with my work, including my posts on social networks.

What shall I do? I have no easy answer–it’s therapeutic, after all, to a small degree–other than forcing myself to accept a 2 hr/week limit, which I find myself breaking. Do you?

(Update1: Just watched almost the entire game between Barcelona and Getafe, which ended 6-0, and must acknowledge that the entire team is splendid, everyone from the amazing goalkeeper to the center-forwards does their part in what is a team effort led by the spectacularly selfless Messi.)

(Update 2. I just watched Messi aim a curling free kick into the net, over the heads of many Seville defenders and well past a goalkeeper. What a brilliant shot, and how lucky I feel I am to have watched it.)

(Update 3: Barcelona’s defeat by Real Madrid. I had a premonition it would come. Here are my observations about the game: Barcelona’s opponents have become increasingly physical and determined to attack and block its attacking trio, often with penalties missed; the massive Sergio Ramos blocks the agile Messi, and a penalty is denied. Barcelona plays more of a gentleman’s game, a game of pure skill and art–which, however, was in short supply at this match–whereas its fiercest opponents, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, are aggressive and ruthless. Is this a reflection of the real world?)