The New Workout Plan

Franco Baldini and Walter [Ualter] Sabatini said they wanted something different, something new and bold. On the basis of that desire, we can unanimously claim them successful even before a single back has been kicked this season; the contrast to one year ago couldn't be larger. Then, Roma got walloped back and forth across Europe in pre-season, having spent weeks doing nothing whatsoever meriting being labeled 'work' in practice. Ranieri led Roma then, a product of the system that produced him. I don't want any part of it, but it's hard to blame him for being the way he is; an entire career, indeed life, has molded him into this.

So now for something completely different...

Luis Enrique asked (via his Twitter account, as if the comparison begged for more ways in which he differs) for a good route for him to get to practice every day at Trigoria. On his new mountain bike. He lives in Olgiata, roughly 40 km from Trigoria, his route cut off by one of Europe's worst cities to drive in, factoring in smog, other drivers and congestion. If we hadn't already gleaned it by his Iron Man participations, his 6am workouts during training camp, this 80km daily round-trip is the ultimate proof that Luis Enrique leads by example. (Even if he does the exercise for his own well-being, it's an inevitable added boon that it inspires others.) The old school Italian standard, to which Ranieri and others belong, likes to fall into a caricature of the sergeant from Full Metal Jacket mixed with, well, that sergeant's even tougher father.

If I'm a player, I know what's going to push me harder between a coach one burger away from a coronary yelling out orders to me while he's standing still, and the the very real possibility that my coach, everything from 5 to 20 years my senior, could outdo me in every single workout. It's an ego thing. It's healthy and human to not want to suffer the humiliation of your coach being a better athlete than you. It motivates you. It pushes you. Ultimately, I don't see how your respect for him can help but to grow.

Something different feels good. Why haven't we tried it sooner?