American in Spain

Spanish Current Events

August 29, 2007

A few interesting things happening in Spain lately. Last Saturday, Marga and I decided to try the local pizza parlor for which we've said "We should try that place some time" every time we walk by it since we moved here two years ago. It was as expected: mediocre. While we were there, there was a soccer match on a muted television, as normal. Somehow, my Y chromosome didn't fire as normal, and I ended up sitting with my back to the sports on television. A disgrace to my gender, I know. Anyway, I distinctly remember Marga's eyes getting big and filled with concern just before she pointed to the television. On the television, a stretcher was being rolled out of the soccer stadium and into an ambulance. Later we found out what had happened.

Antonio PuertaAntonio Puerta, a player for the Sevilla team, collapsed on the field without any contact with other players. Somehow a teammate knew to keep him from choking on his own tongue while he lay there unconscious (there is dramatic video footage of this). The first aid folks rushed out, and miraculously, Puerta regained consciousness and walked himself off the field. Shortly thereafter, his heart stopped. According to the sources I've seen, his heart stopped and started nine times between the stadium and the hospital. Not good.

He was listed as critical condition for all of Sunday and Monday, and he died on Tuesday at the age of 22, leaving behind a young, pregnant wife. English news articles, with good photos, about him here:Sevilla footballer Antonio Puerta has died from the heart attacks suffered last Saturday25,000 Sevilla fans welcome the body of Antonio Puerta on his last trip to the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuan Stadium

My first reaction, besides the initial empathy for his poor wife and family, was to think, "Well, geez, no one's healthier than these 22-year-old soccer stars. When this happens, it really brings into focus how any one of us could die at any moment." But then I realized that that's not exactly the case. These professional athletes are constantly pushing their bodies to the absolute limit, and more than a few of them take "performance enhancing" drugs to get closer to the limit. Any time you're doing anything "to the limit", there's an elevated risk that you might pass the limit and hurt yourself. While 22-year-olds do keel over and die occasionally, I bet that being a professional athlete increases the risk of such an unlikely event. Either way, it sucks to die young.

And nobody loves a good funeral like the Spanish press.Montaña Clara One of the Canary Islands is up for sale. It'll only set you back 9,000,000€, too! The one thing that I found particularly strange about that news article was how they listed the size of the island: 2.7 cubic km. The Wikipedia page for Montaña Clara says that the surface area is 1.48 km2. If my multivariable calculus wasn't completely atrophied, I'd try to figure out, just out of curiosity, what sort of shapes an object is limited to by those measurements. The shape with the most volume and least surface area is obviously a sphere (or a dome, if you're an island). Anyway, I thought it was funny that the size of an island would be measured in cubic kilometers.

The Tomatina starts today.


That sure looks fun, doesn't it? Dangerous, but fun.