Random Thoughts from the World Cup

00027000.jpgAs the World Cup is now whittled down to 8 teams, 7 of which even I could probably have predicted, I am moved to reflect. I stand by all of my soccer comments I wrote during the “tour.” The diving and the whining and the crying is pathetic, and I will never truly support a sport where that is so prevalent. Perhaps get 2 referees or something, I don’t know. And I’m sorry, the US had exactly 4 shots on goal in 3 games, over 4 and a half hours of “action.” That’s less than one shot per hour of soccer for our boys. And that, my friends, is also pathetic.

But I’ve gained an appreciation for the sport as well; especially the rabid fans around the world. I’ve come to realize that a naked orphan in Burkina Faso can play soccer with a pinecone. This is why it’s so popular around the world; one can truly rise from the slums of Brazil or Ghana or wherever to succeed. And that’s pretty cool.

Anyway, here’s some random good stuff I’ve collected these last few weeks. First, I highly encourage you to view this short Swedish film about how soccer is really played. It’s excellent:

Someone told me once I could write a Dave Eggers book better than Dave Eggers. Don’t know about that, but I’d certainly write something incredibly similar to these two paragraphs, which he wrote:

The second and greatest, by far, obstacle to the popularity of the World Cup, and of professional soccer in general, is the element of flopping. Americans may generally be arrogant, but there is one stance I … stand behind, and that is the intense loathing of penalty-fakers. There are few examples of American sports where flopping is part of the game, much less accepted as such. Things are too complicated and dangerous in football to do much faking. Baseball? It’s not possible, really—you can’t fake getting hit by a baseball, and it’s impossible to fake catching one. The only one of the big three sports that has a flop factor is basketball, where players can and do occasionally exaggerate a foul against them, but get this: The biggest flopper in the NBA is not an American at all. He’s Argentinian! (Manu Ginobili, a phony to end all phonies, but otherwise a very good player.)

But flopping in soccer is a problem. Flopping is essentially a combination of acting, lying, begging, and cheating, and these four behaviors make for an unappealing mix. The sheer theatricality of flopping is distasteful, as is the slow-motion way the chicanery unfolds. First there will be some incidental contact, and then there will be a long moment—enough to allow you to go and wash the car and return—after the contact and before the flopper decides to flop. When you’ve returned from washing the car and around the time you’re making yourself a mini-bagel grilled cheese, the flopper will be leaping forward, his mouth Munch-wide and oval, bracing himself for contact with the earth beneath him. But this is just the beginning. Go and do the grocery shopping and perhaps open a new money-market account at the bank, and when you return, our flopper will still be on the ground, holding his shin, his head thrown back in mock-agony. It’s disgusting, all of it, particularly because, just as all of this fakery takes a good deal of time and melodrama to put over, the next step is so fast that special cameras are needed to capture it. Once the referees have decided either to issue a penalty or not to our Fakey McChumpland, he will jump up, suddenly and spectacularly uninjured—excelsior!—and will kick the ball over to his teammate and move on.

From this article.

A bit late, but I found several things in this article on point and funny. Figures, the writer writes for the Onion.

Remember this picture I posted and captioned,”Here, have some magic phony Italian fairy dust spray?” Well, here’s an explanation of soccer’s magic fairy dust.

And finally, it appears that cnnsi.com had the same idea as I did. I had a cute baby. They had NYC, San Francisco, more free time, and a budget at their disposal. I don’t know, you tell me. Whose is better? The Sports Illustrated World Cup Pub Blog.

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This about sums it up for me

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Is this the best Ecuador has to offer?

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1. Native Americans in Holland? 2. Very attractive young lady. 3. Imagine wearing all that crap for 3 hot hours. 4. This dude in drag is blocking the very attractive young lady. Soccer is lame.

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If I captioned ESPN

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