Dear big brother

In the run up to this game I had in my mind settled on a simile I felt fitting to describe the impossibly terrible shortage of actual professional players: Roma is the little kid on the block who for the first time had to stand up to and fight the bully, after his big brother, the would be protector, had moved away for college. The big brother here is Totti and De Rossi, while our bully is, of course, Juve. They still carry with them an intangible fear factor I experience every time Roma plays them, even after losing so much punching power post calciopoli. Juve is the quintessential example of the sum being greater than the individual parts it is made up of, and it feels as if that effect is multiplied whenever they play Roma (they look ridiculously beatable most any other week I watch them).

Before 8.30 I had hopes, deeply buried hopes for fear of jinxing, of the little kid channelling that big brother and holding his own in the fight. The little kid didn't channel anything, so instead got it ass handed to him. That stings, but not for what happened, more for the regret of what didn't happen. I can't pretend I'm shocked we lost with eleven players out, nor will I any time soon call for the heads of Spalletti, Baptista or Vucinic to be brought before me. Quoting RFK, who was in turn quoting George Bernard Shaw: "you see things that are, and ask 'why?', but I see things that never were and ask 'why not?'". In that spirit, I ask: would there have been anything more charming than seeing a Baby Roma stand up tonight? Not saying they'd have anywhere near enough influence to sway the result, but would D'Alessandro be less useful than Menez, at least earlier when it became clear he wasn't in the game at all? And would there be anything, anything at all, that could redeem Panucci any more than becoming the leader he had to be with big brother(s) gone? But it wasn't to be, the club football equivalent of the German national team machinery ran Roma over, mauled down the remnants of opposition.

Tonight, a new wrinkle was born in Spalletti's forehead.