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Yes, we poor people have the right to laugh too

The first sip of beer (and other small pleasures in life) is a book by Philippe Delerm published in France in 1997 that became a sales phenomenon. It describes thirty-four seemingly insignificant moments, without any significance, which produce a small but intense pleasure. I read it almost twenty-five years ago and now I see that I marked thirteen as my own. My self now is quite different from back then and I only recognize myself in some of the selected moments back then (splashing peas, eating a croissant on the street, going to the cinema). Like everyone else, I have my own list of small pleasures aside from Delerm’s: drinking a 20 cl ice-cold Coca-Cola in one gulp, eating sardines on Empúries beach, sunbathing until I sweat flood your face or open a bottle of cava downstairs. And also, a pyrrhic and long-suffering victory for Espanyol against Valladolid.

I was intensely happy on Sunday. Hard to understand, I know. It was Valladolid, it was only 1-0, the game was fair and everything is to be done (although not everything is possible). But the 20,000 resisters who went to Cornellà experienced this first home victory intensely. By chance I entered the stadium through the door dedicated to the rival coach (my door, 94, Pacheta’s door). Each approach of Valladolid to our goal was experienced with great suffering: we have internalized that we play without a goalkeeper and we celebrate with enthusiasm any save. The ball-gatherer was ready and quick: it didn’t look like Espanyol. We spent the four minutes of stoppage time in the corner wasting time. Playing cheaters’ football, which I don’t like unless it’s in exchange for giving my life. The final whistle unleashed euphoria, the players stood on the pitch jumping and dancing as if they had won a title. It was only 1-0 against Valladolid. Returning with the cars, we sounded the horns. On the way home from the parking lot and seeing our scarves, different parakeets greeted us with complicity and joy.

Happiness is not measured by the greatness of the thing that motivates it. Happiness has its own measure and can only be appreciated by those who are feeling it. I was very happy on Sunday. For a small thing, with a small pleasure. But very intense. It is very possible that Osasuna will beat us today. But what we experienced on Sunday cannot be taken away from us. And it has an unrepeatable point. Because we’ll never win the 2022-23 home opener at the fifth attempt again. Sunday was the day. More to come. And the rich won’t be spared any more crying and we won’t stop laughing. In football as in life.

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