In the June 30, 2010 edition of The Defender, I wrote one of my first columns for this page titled “Where’s my fever?” I am happy to say that some four years later, that fever still hasn’t caught up to me. It’s that darned World Cup fever that is once again spreading its ugliness across the globe. Who has it? I just want to know so I can stay away from you and be sure that I don’t catch it.
I decided to stir the pot a bit with a Facebook post that said I need a a nap so it was time to turn on the World Cup. Don’t worry soccer fans, I’m only trying to offend you a little. I did get an interesting response from a “Soccer Mom” in Peebles who claims to be in awe of soccer athletes who play in sunshine, rain, snow, and sleet with not time outs. To quote her, “They wear no padding like football players but can be taken down instantly by a slide tackle.” She even states that she would like to see athletes from other sports play a soccer game in some of those conditions. You have to love Soccer Moms, and let me add that her son was a pretty good player in his own right, but someone must give her the story of the Freezer Bowl or a late October World Series game in New York.Brrrrrrrrrr!
Another old friend of mine who now lives and works in our nation’s capital had this to tell me. “I respect the athletes for their endurance and skill but it is mind numbing to watch the constant running up and down the field and other than an occasional slide tackle or shot on goal, it 95% of the time results in no score. There seems to be nothing going on. I have seen it live on all levels and still it holds no interest for me.” Bingo! I always knew he would grow up to be a very wise man.
I also got asked by our beloved North Adams girls soccer coach whether I was tuned in to the Algeria-Belgium game. Negative to that one! He informed me that the score was 1 to nil (zero in soccer speak) approaching halftime. Oh, the excitement those two countries must be experiencing.
I wrote four years ago that I didn’t have any desire to paint myself red, white, and blue and hang out with a large group of people watching soccer on some giant TV such as they did on Fountain Square in Cincinnati yesterday. Guess what? I still don’t have the urge and I spent my evening where red-blooded Americans should, on a baseball diamond. (Oh soccer fans will get me for that one). If you are a “USA” soccer fan, why are you even watching? Your coach, who certainly doesn’t have an American name, has already stated that your team can’t win the World Cup. Either that was his sneaky motivational tool or he has another day job that he will soon be able to go back to.
I will confess that on my high school beat there have been a couple of local soccer teams that were pretty interesting to watch as they made nice tournament runs and I will still be out there covering our local soccer squads this coming season. You all are also aware that I have a daughter who will be playing her fourth year of college soccer this fall so I can’t totally escape. I actually really enjoy watching my daughter on the soccer field, but quickly switch into nap mode when she isn’t on the field. Her mother, who also responded to me on Facebook can vouch for that.
It’s all in fun, so local coaches don’t kick me out of your fields this fall. Soccer isn’t the only sport that I am not big on. Lacrosse doesn’t do much for me either. Let me add though that four years ago I wrote of the heartbreak and bitter disappointment of the American men losing to Ghana. Well, happy days are here again! In four years, the Americans have improved enough to pull out a win over powerful Ghana this time around. Hallelujah for the USA’s “futbol” team.
So four years from now, I guess I can write this again and Lord willing four years from now that fever still hasn’t caught up with me. I’m old enough not to want to worry about any sickness invading my body and I will continue to be the social outcast who gets no enjoyment from the World Cup and likely will not watch a single minute of that inspiring action. But I only watched the last two minutes of the NBA finals. (I like watching the victory celebrations.) But take heart, the real “futbol” training camps come next month. That will get me excited. Who Dey!