Monday, November 10, 2008

All Hail, Guilherme Marchi!

Since the last four nights of the 2008 World Finals added up to the greatest extravaganza of bull riding I’ve ever been privileged to witness, I have decided that I need to bite it off in little chunks to have the remotest chance of doing it justice. So I have to start by paying my respects to the great Guilherme Marchi, the PBR World Champion for 2008.
It is almost impossible to adequately summarize what an amazing season Marchi has had. Of course, I could always turn to the stats—five event wins, 15 times in the top five, 19 times in the top 10, 13 90-plus point rides, 14 consecutive rides, seven rides out of eight at the finals, and an overall riding percentage of 74.75—but one stat really tells the whole tale. Marchi competed in 33 events this season—every single BFTS held this year. Only four of the top ten riders accomplished that, and besides the good fortune to avoid serious injury, this achievement points to single-mindness and concentration on all their parts. Marchi, however, extended his single-mindedness and concentration beyond just getting to the event, to climbing on the backs of 99 bulls and riding 74 of them. His mastery of the mechanics is just amazing to see, and he did it again, and again, and again, all season long.
And was there ever anybody happier to be competing? Was there ever anybody so set on being the bride, not the bridesmaid, this time around? Was there ever anybody so determined to conquer the challenges he faces, whether it’s riding a rank one or speaking a foreign language in front of thousands of fans in the arena and tens of thousands more out in the television audience? Was there anybody within earshot whose heart didn’t rush out to him when he proclaimed Sunday night that he was “living my American dream”?
Was there ever a more manly moment in all the history of the PBR than right after Guilherme won the title Saturday night, when that grey-haired gentleman beside him atop the cage kept hugging him and kissing his cheek? Oh, maybe there was—that moment when, down on the arena floor, Marchi and Adriano Moraes collided in a cosmic bear hug, and the confetti and the cheers kept cascading down on them like blessings. I don’t know if there was a dry eye in the house in Vegas right then, but I can tell you, there weren’t any in my living room.
It remains to be seen whether Guilherme Marchi will become the first to win back-to-back world titles, but if he never climbs on the back of another bull, he has earned his place in the panoply of champions, not just because of his riding, but also because of his attitude and his conduct. He is a worthy successor to the mantle of Adriano Moraes, and an excellent representative of the sport. I will never forget the show he put on for us this season. My heartiest congratulations, Guilherme Marchi! We hope to see you back in Vegas, leading the pack, this time next year.


shannon said...

Making separate blogs is a great idea, SQ. There was so much about this particular event that made it special that I don't think you could have remarked on everything in one blog--at least not in a way that did them justice.

Guilherme's win was a sight to see and I'm glad I witnessed it. I assumed the gray haired man was his father (or perhaps not), but it was the hug between him and Adriano that got my eyes tearing up. I hope someone got a picture of it. Anyway, I knew his riding percentage and knew that he'd broken some records, but to see all the stats listed like that was something else. What a great athlete. I'm so glad this all happened before Adriano retired.

His attitude couldn't be better! Every time I hear him speak, I wonder just how tough it must be to find the words, but am always thrilled to see him trying his best and with a smile on his face. This is a man that tries his best in everything--not just bull riding. I'm sure he'll be a shining example to the Brazilians coming onto the tour in the future.

His comment about "his American dream" made grin--especially after what our country has been through in the last week-- and his "coming for broken" made my heart melt just a little. We all knew exactly what he meant--he's shown us all season.

I hope he can keep the momentum going next season, but if he can't, I'm positive he'll still have the same, wonderful attitude that I've grown to appreciate.

Jaye said...

This was a fantastic finals, and like you, I was so happy to see Guilherme crowned as World Champion. And the bulls were spectacular. I'm hoping you'll post about them as well. Thank God for DVR's. I've got about 12 events saved, and they'll just have to pacify me during the break.

Stockyard Queen said...

The bulls are just one item on a long list of stuff I plan to orate about. You folks are going to get tired of hearing from me.

Black Boots said...

Wonderful post, SQ! Hear, hear to everything you said. Guilherme is deserving of the greatness that he has achieved and the greatness that lies ahead of him. He's young, in fabulous physical condition (can I get an AMEN! here?) and with his mindset he's in perfect position to go for that first back-to-back World Championship. Coming for broken in '09!

Thanks for creating such a wonderful blog. I love the idea of posting separately on topics, too. That way the joy can last a little longer, and it'll make the time between now and January 9th fly by!