Monday, July 10, 2006

Cupful o' Ramblings

The World Cup. Of course I watched some. A lot of 'em. And yesterday? One of a billion. With a "b." That's pretty cool.

Here in America we're so insulated from international sport. Granted, we do have cool sports. The NFL is very cool. NBA, pretty cool, but a little more blatant on the gang-bangers who don't wanna grow up attitude. MLB is cool too, and loaded with tradition. If it wasn't for steroids... well, I digress.

Those who know me know that I'm a little more into international sport than my average Merkin neighbor. I'm wild about Footy (Good Old Collingwood Forever!), I quite enjoy Rugby (Union only please. League bites and is only for weenies) and watch a lot of Super 14 and Tri-Nations action, and adore EPL Football, especially Newcastle United. There is a love for team and a fanatical atmosphere amongst the foreign football crowds that US crowds can rarely match. Oh, there are a couple that come close: Oakland-Alameda for Raiders Home Games, Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City where the Chiefs play. Or perhaps your big college crowds are more akin. Whatever the case, it's a community to which I wish the US could open its eyes.

Oh, sure a lot of folks here watched the World Cup Final. Big deal. A very telling comment was made at the end of 90 as the teams began overtime play. The TV commentator said, "If you've just tuned in, Italy and France are in overtime in a 1-1 draw. Coverage of the Blahblahblah golf tournament is live right now on ESPN."

Okay, if you changed the channel to ESPN, you're a wuss, you ain't no sports fan, and you're barred from watching any sport with a ball larger than 2 inches in diameter. Enjoy golf and ping-pong.

It's pathetic. He should have said "Italy and France are still playing. Cope, you stupid pantywaists. If you want golf, YOU figure out where it is."

You know, the USA could be a superpower in Football (I refuse to call it soccer anymore. Even among my friends I say football, and when they display confusion, and they all do except for my Honduran friend, Oscar, I roll my eyes and say, "Soccerrrrr?" The "Duh" is understood.) There are only three reasons we're not: NFL, NBA, MLB. If REAL football was the first choice of all our athletes, we would have a world cup trophy or two to show for it. As it is we get on that big ol' stage and even when our team is good we find we can't maintain the poise and the form. Those big boys, Brazil, Argentina, Italy, Germany, France, England, they know we don't really belong there, not yet.

Being partial to England, once they were out I didn't have much of a preference to who won, as long as it wasn't Portugal. Cristiano Ronaldo is a superb player, but I'm with English fans who think he helped do Wayne Rooney in. I was glad to see Germany stomp their faces in the runner-up game.

I guess I found myself rooting more for France in the game, but probably because I'm more familiar with Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira. Especially Henry. He is an incomparable magician. I may hate the side he plays for (Arsenal - bleagh!) in England, but you can't help but love the way he plays football. He put in a nice game, but didn't really have enough support for his chances and was smothered over and over again by Italy's monster defense.

Still it seemed like France had all the chances. Then Vieira goes out, injured. Henry runs out of steam. Then, to the horror of Frenchies everywhere, Zidane freakin' head-butts Italy's Marco Materazzi in the chest! What the hell? Your team needs you desperately and you do that? What can someone possibly say about your mother to make you dump out on your team on their most important day ever? And what language did he say it in? I mean, I'm just curious about that part.

Oh well, most of my friends who read this have no damn idea what I'm talking about, and care even less. That's okay. Long live Italy... for four years anyway.


It's about me, dummy!!!


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