1968: june 27
a few hopefully final words on euro 2008

euro 2008: the final

There was no real reason for me to get a PhD ... I make a little more money at my current job because of it, but it cost me more to get it, so I haven't even broken even in that regard. And while I have had a few jobs that required the doctorate, most of my jobs would have been just as easily acquired with a master's degree.

But I had a history in my life of reaching the penultimate stages of whatever I happened to be doing, and then stepping back, finding a new interest, moving on. It was typical fear of success.

And so I did get the PhD, and no one can take it away ... I will be Dr. Rubio forever. And I can go on with my life, and maybe I won't get past the penultimate stage again, but I did it once, and that's what mattered. Especially since, as I was told since I was young, I was the biggest underachiever in my class in high school.

It had been 44 years since Spain won a major soccer tournament. The last time Spain even made the finals of a major tournament was Euro 1984, when they lost to Michel Platini and the French. Obviously, the current Spanish squad is made up entirely of people who weren't born back in 1964. But this squad was fairly young by international standards, so young that half a dozen of them weren't even born before Euro '84.

Which is to say, they don't seem to have been burdened by their history. They entered the tournament identified with the Spanish stereotype of the great underachievers of soccer history ... but they acted like that stereotype was something for the old folks to worry about. They never lost a match, they played an entertaining brand of soccer, and now they are the champions of Europe.

And all of those Spaniards who suffered through the last 44 years can feel a little better about their country today.

Back when Euro 2008 started, I predicted Spain would triumph. I didn't actually believe it, but I always say it, anyway. Truth be told, I figured the odds makers were right in making Germany the favorites. But today, it was Germany who couldn't score, it was Spain who won. My prediction, based solely on heart with no consultation with head, finally turned out to be true.

That blog post was titled "top goal scorer will be fernando torres." Torres played in some bad luck during the tourney, but whatever the excuse, he only had one goal coming into today. It was his countryman, David Villa, who led all scorers. But today, Villa was injured and didn't make an appearance. It was left to Torres to score the goal that gave Spain the championship. And he's only 24 years old.

I'd say what follows tells us something important about soccer in our own country, except I'm not sure what prompted it. All I know is, my baseball-loving, non-soccer-fan sister watched as Spain won the tournament. She may never watch another match the rest of her life, but for one day, she was with us, and in touch, I imagine, with her Spanish heritage as well. Glad to have you along!

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