Bulking up with the Dalai Lama of the MLS
FootballerÃ¢ÂÂs blogs are a peculiar business.
Back when Crazy World was a lad, information about your favourite player was thin on the ground. The best you could hope for in the seventies and eighties was the odd Q&A in Match, in which youhÃ¢ÂÂd find out that your hero was married to a woman called Joan and disliked rude people. Insightful it wasnÃ¢ÂÂt.
These days, quite the opposite is true. The internet has provided us with numerous websites run by dedicated fans or media organisations, packed with the most astonishing minutiae of players lives, from their literary preferences (Ã¢ÂÂI donÃ¢ÂÂt read booksÃ¢ÂÂ says Andrew Johnson) to their pets (Dirk Kuyt apparently has a rabbit called Trigger).
Most of them, it has to be said, arenÃ¢ÂÂt worth bothering with. The blogs are dictated down phone lines by bored players to bored journalists, or collated by anoraks, and are chock-full of the usual bleeding obvious platitudes about being over the moon following the latest win.
Strangely, the one time they do get interesting is when a time-rich, laptop-toting player decides to actually write it themselves.
Things really took off with Aki RiihilahtiÃ¢ÂÂs wonderfully random web diary, in which the former Crystal Palace midfield maestro discussed life, the universe and everything with all the gusto of a Selhurst Park Hunter S. Thompson colliding with Karl Pilkington.
The Finn, now plying his trade at Djurgardens IF, famously claimed heÃ¢ÂÂd been very popular at junior school because of his ability to stand on his head for over two minutes.
He revealed a philosophical side, claiming: "sure, I cry and feel pain about football results, but the view of an old man grieving next to his wifeÃ¢ÂÂs coffin is real pain.Ã¢ÂÂ
And he had a unique talent for a metaphor. Ã¢ÂÂInjuries are like ketchup,Ã¢ÂÂ pondered Aki once. Ã¢ÂÂFirst there is long quiet period, but then suddenly there comes out a big wave of shit.Ã¢ÂÂ
Next was Moritz Volz, a German so wilfully wacky that weÃ¢ÂÂre surprised he doesnÃ¢ÂÂt take to the pitch in a collapsible clown car, wearing a revolving bow tie.
His blog is here, but all you need to really know about the Teutonic crackpotÃ¢ÂÂs philosophy is contained in this FourFourTwo interview, where the Fulham defender reveals his near-fanatical dedication to David Hasselhoff.
However, this week a new blogger was brought to Crazy WorldÃ¢ÂÂs attention who could conceivably be the most interesting of the lot: Joe Cannon of San Jose Earthquakes. His latest effort is a two thousand-word tract about breakfasts.
It all started when big Joe, the EarthquakeÃ¢ÂÂs ginormous stopper, was running late for training, not leaving enough time to prepare his usual oatmeal.
Ã¢ÂÂI thought about my favorite smoothie in the world,Ã¢ÂÂ salivates the former MLS Goalkeeper of the Year. Ã¢ÂÂThe gift that keeps giving, the dessert of the morning, the perfect blend of taste, nutrition and substance. I was thinking about the Ã¢ÂÂHULKÃ¢ÂÂ.Ã¢ÂÂ
The HULK, it transpires, is 20z of goodness containing weight gain, butter pecan ice cream, bananas, egg protein, soy protein, milk, carbohydrate mix, vanilla, wheat germ, turbinado, and honey.
Ã¢ÂÂI, Joe Cannon, put my name and reputation behind this,Ã¢ÂÂ states Joe solemnly.
However, upon arriving at the purveyors of the HULK, Smoothie King, Joe gets a shock. The store is to be shut down this week. He isnÃ¢ÂÂt happy. Ã¢ÂÂI felt cheated, slapped in the face, and disrespected.Ã¢ÂÂ
Ã¢ÂÂEach of us have a "HULK" in our lives. To some itÃ¢ÂÂs their wives, to others itÃ¢ÂÂs their soccer team. The "HULK" is symbolic to all of us, to remind us that there are things in this life which are fighting for.Ã¢ÂÂ
Cannon is now spearheading a campaign to save the San Jose store. Ã¢ÂÂThe chances are slim that I can help rescue Smoothie King, but I have to try.Ã¢ÂÂ
He adds: Ã¢ÂÂLife is not about the result, but the journey,Ã¢ÂÂ a wonderful philosophy that is in keeping with the teachings of the Dalai Lama, but at odds with the thought of most football folk who, conversely, are just happy with the three points even though we didnÃ¢ÂÂt play as well as we know we can.
Whichever school of thought youÃ¢ÂÂre in, it makes a refreshing change from the norm. Crazy World will certainly be reading Joe's ramblings every week. And next time weÃ¢ÂÂre stateside, our skinny ass is getting bulked up on one of these