What’s Cinderella in German?
Maybe it’s VfL Wolfsburg.
(The literal answer is Aschenputtel, as an FYI).
The reason for comparing the club that’s currently sitting quietly at 8th in the Bundesliga standings with the honor of the college basketball darling this time of year is based on the aforementioned team’s shocking performance against one of the top clubs (and brands) in the world. For context, VfL Wolfsburg’s opponent in the first leg of its Champions League quarterfinal match was Real Madrid. For greater context, Real Madrid beat Barcelona 2-1 at the Nou Camp this past Saturday in El Clásico.
The game today was a classic, but not for the Spaniards…
(Click Play, then “Watch this video on YouTube” and Return to Read the Rest of the Blog!)
2-nil is the worst lead in soccer, so when Real Madrid cannot even get one goal back against an admittedly lesser opponent, that’s a seismic statement and final result for the determined German club. VfL Wolfsburg not only held its own in front of their fans in the Volkswagen Arena, but the VW-branded team surprised the Spanish giants by playing in and excelling in 4th and 5th gears to open their quarterfinal home-and-away series in the 2016 Champions League.
Next Tuesday, in the return leg in Madrid, the world will discover if they need to learn more about what VfL Wolfsburg is and why Volkswagen’s comeback may not involve cars.
The next bizarre chapter of the Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito saga begins with the two former lovers being found guilty/colpevole by a Florentine appeals court. When the verdict came down yesterday, it had to be utterly surreal and downright depressing (mentally, emotionally and even physically) for Knox and Sollecito.
The two most important questions at this juncture: how and why?
How could there be a guilty verdict if there wasn’t any new, groundbreaking evidence to definitively prove that Knox and her former boyfriend committed murder against Meredith Kercher or that they were even at the scene that treacherous night? For a moment, contemplate the places you’ve walked through and sat down just today in the past ten minutes. Could you retrace your steps exactly as you took them and then clean literally every single spec and trace of your presence?
If it seems impossible, it’s because it is, unless you’re a villain from The Blacklist. And even then…
And, if Knox and Sollecito did pull off that impossible feat for themselves, why did they leave their partner-in-crime Rudy Guede with his DNA everywhere? If so, why didn’t Guede ever mention such a betrayal? It’s usually quite difficult to disclose something that didn’t really happen, which is why nothing like this was ever divulged.
Having followed the case closely, as well as having read Knox’s book that details her painful and exhaustive account, this case is not 100% clear-cut. That’s been well established. There were a few questionable reactions by Knox, but none of which was ever attached with hard evidence that would lead to her to be deemed guilty. To proclaim her guilt based on wild conjecture requires one hell of a story.
Why has this specific case extended far beyond a standard legal trial for murder? Sadly, ulterior motives seem to be part of the never-ending argument being formed by the prosecutor and his wild and disturbed imagination, the Italian police originally involved, the Italian public and the Italian legal system as a whole. A legitimate hypothesis is that they all feel forever embarrassed by how the world saw them investigate and conduct themselves throughout this highly publicized, divisive and scrutinized trial.
There is justice to be had, but it seems like one side is eternally clouded by bitter revenge.
One more thought to reflect on is whether or not the Kercher family owes (now or in the future) Knox and Sollecito an apology? Why is this question being asked? Think about what has been determined by hard evidence: Rudy Guede was at the crime scene with his DNA everywhere (including the walls, floor, bed comforter, the bathroom and Meredith’s body). He was a known criminal who had previously broken into other buildings. He then fled on a train out of the country the very next morning after the murder took place.
With the evidence lacking against Knox and Sollecito, and while being completely sympathetic to the Kercher family wanting to know every detail and to receive every bit of justice for their daughter and sister (100% understandable), it seems like what they have relentlessly put two innocent kids through in a suspect (at best) legal system multiple times should be at least mentioned.
Knowing that the above statement was a very sensitive and controversial proposition to bring up, it still seems like a legitimate point to make. Would the Kercher family feel the same way about their persistence of assumed guilt for Knox if their daughter was in Amanda’s shoes and Meredith was subjected to the same scrutiny and fantastical stories by the prosecutor, Knox family and local media?
Rudy Guede, who was proven guilty with overwhelming evidence and a confession, is locked up behind bars.
And yet, this is all just another crazy chapter in a surreal story that ceases to have a real ending.
Twelve years ago, two hijacked airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center Towers, a third hijacked airplane crashed into the Pentagon and a fourth hijacked airplane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania on a clear, unassuming September morning. The world was changed forever.
I was walking through the second floor of my high school’s library when I heard a fellow classmate of mine since elementary school say, “a plane just hit the World Trade Center” to someone near him as I strolled by towards the doors to the hallway. I could tell that while he said it as if it was probably an accident, he also knew it was something more…Confused, I initially hypothesized a small plane had accidentally flown too low and hit one of the skyscrapers. Once I walked into my math class and saw the images on the television screen hanging in the front left corner of the room that every single person was fixated on, we all knew something truly terrible had happened. It was no accident. Then, soon thereafter, the second plane hit. The United States was under attack and nobody could believe what their eyes were seeing.
Reflecting on what occurred on that morning, I have prepared 12 thoughts regarding what happened and what transpired on September 11, 2001:
Nobody saw it coming and our heart’s sank as the smoke billowed out from the towers
Everyone rushed to a television in shock, watching a nightmare unfold without our eye lids closed so tight
Vast panic flooded the streets of New York, Washington, D.C. and those aboard the planes as a numbness started to paralyze those running and sitting in confusion, panic and fear
Each fireman, police officer and good citizen offered a helping hand as hell surrounded them all, giving a glimmer of hope to those experiencing the unimaginable
Real heroes emerged that day, sacrificing everything for their fellow man, woman and child
Forever etched in our memories, that morning changed the world
Our accidental glances up into a clear blue September sky will never again look completely peaceful or tranquil
Rebuilding our hearts takes time, but we make sure to always take pause on this day
Good people never returned home and that’s a vacancy and pain the entire country felt then and feels today
Even as we mourn, we must also know that in the darkest of places can rise a sign of optimism, like a cross standing strong amongst the rubble or the brave words, “let’s roll”
True heroism and courage is quietly honored today, combined with the overwhelmingly emotional reflection of the entirety of what transpired on September 11, 2001
9/11 will always be remembered…always