I converted to existentialism when I was still a kid, before I even knew there was a word to define it. It was also on a soccer field. In the stands, I felt for the first time the absurdity of existence. That conviction that life has no meaning caught me with my arms raised, celebrating the 1-0 of a Athletic-Osasuna 1990.
The sequence of events was as follows: a few days before a person very dear to me had died. He died suddenly, from one day to the next. I had been in shock those days. I could not conceive of the world without the one who had left me, whom I loved so much. He couldn’t understand that the sun kept rising as if nothing had changed. But I went to the stadium. And I got into the game. And I forgot that death for a moment. And when Athletic scored that goal, I celebrated it, as I had always done, with all the intensity of my being. But suddenly, with my arms raised, in the middle of a shout of joy, surrounded by thousands of people who shouted and jumped with me, I was struck by the conviction that existence is meaningless. I stopped short. It was not an idea. It was a physical sensation, like a blow, like a smack.
That feeling has never quite left me. It is not constant, but sometimes, in moments I do not know if of lucidity or of total obfuscation, I look around me and I cannot but conclude that all this is a bad joke of an evil demiurge or the work of an incapable god.
But lo and behold, now that the world threatens to collapse and our existence appears frozen, I am obsessed with returning to the trivial. I watch football on television sighing like a deportee. I need to get back to the stands. Despite the deaths and the illness and everything serious about life, I want to celebrate the nothingness of the goal. I want to be with my people, screaming and jumping and singing. I want to raise my arms and tell myself, yes, this is all absurd, but what a blessed privilege it is to be able to gloat sometimes in what is insignificant in existence. May purists allow me to correct Bill shankly: football is not a matter of life and death, it is much less than that. Fortunately.