I Like Soccer

Leetsdale, PA – I have yet to watch any matches of this year’s World Cup. This is not out of indifference or disdain, such as that expressed by fellow Grand Junction area writers Steve Beauregard and Gene Kinsey. It’s just that I’ve been busy, and Leslie doesn’t have cable. I did catch the highlights of the USA-England match online, and I think that the goalkeeper for England will likely not be walking into any local pubs for a while.

In response to these local naysayers, I like soccer..a lot. The fluid nature of play, combined with the skill and endurance required, make the game very appealing. I like the same things about hockey and lacrosse, and watch those whenever I can as well. Defense is as appealing an aspect of these sports as offensive prowess, and some of the low-scoring affairs, especially in hockey, can be some of the finest examples of athleticism and effort.

Contrary to some warped conventional wisdom, there are lots of soccer fans out there in the states. During the last World Cup in 2006, I was in Massachusetts, and was enthralled by the number of knowledgeable and boisterous American fans watching in bars and restaurants.

I also enjoy watching other sports that don’t emphasize constant movement, but are driven by intricate strategies. Baseball, American football, and curling are examples of these. Leslie cringes whenever I mention curling – she thinks it’s pretty ridiculous. I personally think that her affinity for the PBR is kind of interesting, but I also think that those riders and bulls are the real deal. Now if only the hype-generating marketing style that resembles what I have called “NASCAR with livestock” would back off some, then I would enjoy it more as well.

One thing that everyone seems to have noticed about this year’s World Cup is the profligate use of the vuvuzela, or what I call a ‘stadium horn’. The South African fans have been driving many to distraction with these. I had one in my trunk for years when I used to go to a lot of Pittsburgh Spirit games in the 80’s. I think I got it at Mike Feinberg’s on Penn Avenue.

Yeah, it was loud. Yeah, it was fun. Good for them.

My favorite teams are the Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer, Arsenal of the English Premier League, and Inter Milan of the Italian Serie A. Inter was in the news most recently for winning the UEFA Champions League title. They also have the coolest jerseys around.

That probably looks like Sanskrit to those who don’t pay attention to soccer. That’s OK. I don’t pay attention to NASCAR, and I’m seriously in doubt about “Mixed Martial Arts” (AKA cage fighting) as an honorable display of the best humankind has to offer in the way of athletic endeavors. To each his (or her) own.

Now it’s time to root for Team USA, because everyone knows that Americans love an underdog, and that’s something we’ve been on the world soccer stage for many, many years.

We’ll be at Children’s Hospital all day today, as Michaela needs a transfusion along with a radiation treatment. The hospital has lots of creature comforts for the young patient and visitors; TVs with cable channels, and wireless Internet everywhere. Maybe there will be some good soccer on, if I can somehow get the channel changed from Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon. Good luck with that..

Have a good weekend.

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