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Soccer Deux

Straight is the gate, and narrow the way – Williams/Christ

My buddy Dave in San Francisco emailed the other day, commenting on my last posting about soccer. While I suspect part of his correspondence (like my article) was meant as tongue in cheek, he did use three rather strong qualifiers – “ignorant,” “reactionary,” and “full of shit.” He also likened me to Jim Rome, which remains a neutral remark for most people outside of Jim Everett.  Still, there was enough there to take a second look at my stance. I played soccer as a kid, and have a nephew who’s already an all-star at nine. While I can’t hear a tag like “The Beautiful Game” without cringing, I do cop to the fact that there’s a certain elegance to the sport. You would certainly never hear me assert that the game moves too slowly or is boring. And I’ve been watching much of the World Cup, whether at home or at a bar in Penn Station waiting for an incoming train.

I root for America, just as I would with any Olympic sport that I pay little attention to outside of that specific event. Heck, I even watched our squad battle to yet another tie against Slovenia yesterday and lamented the phantom foul call that cost them the win. Although unlike baseball, I couldn’t even tell what the blown call was. I still hold out that there’s too much going on with this game that isn’t really going on at all. I did chuckle and feel vindicated in my remarks about feigned injuries when the Slavic player went down writhing in pain until two officials with highway cleanup vests trotted over with a stretcher and sprayed some kind of aerosol crap on his ankle. (What’s in those cans anyway, Broken-Ankle-Away? Magic European Pain Un-doer?) Unfortunately, I’m still holding on to my rockhead line that, outside of international play, the game doesn’t do it for me. I was a bit disappointed to discover how many other knee-jerk anti-soccer rants there were out there, but the fact that these only appear during World Cup season should be an indicator in itself. The same can be said for the postings from the other side, seeking to pin America’s reticence in catching on to some sort of conspiratorial ignorance or knuckle-dragging mentality. Personally, I just enjoying goading pseudo intellectual foreigners who relish Yank-bashing while inhaling Quarter Pounders with cheese on the sly. It really isn’t a bad game at all, and I could just as easily have written a piece on the stirring feeling I got while passing a crew of construction workers in the hot Brooklyn sun, all listening to the Mexico-France match blaring in Spanish from a cement-dusted boom box. But I didn’t. Besides, Dave also favors Formula One racing and the Tour de France – two more Euro-oriented pastimes whose charms escape my Cro-Magnon perception. There will be opportunity to offend in the future.

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  1. Cookie Rojas wrote:

    I agree Formula One racing and Tour de France are crushingly boring (I subscribe to the Charles Barkley view that it’s not a real sport, “they’re just riding a bike, that aint a sport”. That said, context is everything. I watched the Mexico/France match in a bar full of Mexicans and French and it was nuts! They screamed and sang not stop for 90 full minutes.

    Tuesday, June 22, 2010 at 11:19 pm | Permalink
  2. Milt Pappas wrote:

    Soccer? whatever. I agree with Cookie Rojas (.263 career avg,. 1660 hits, 593 RBI’s) and Charles Barkley. Just because it’s popular around the world don’t make it right. You know what else really caught on around the globe? Religion.

    Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 9:48 am | Permalink
  3. Terry Cornutt wrote:

    And, for the record, Milt Pappas: 520 games, 209 wins, 164 losses, 1728 strikeouts, 3.40 ERA.

    Thursday, June 24, 2010 at 10:57 am | Permalink
  4. ED OTT wrote:

    For what it’s worth, Terry Cornutt: 29 games, 1 win, 2 losses, 23 strikeouts, 3.61 ERA. All the best, Ed Ott (33 HR, .259 BA, 195 RBI).

    Thursday, June 24, 2010 at 5:41 pm | Permalink
  5. admin wrote:

    Thanks for taking care of your own stats, Ed, and thereby ending this potentially endless loop.

    Thursday, June 24, 2010 at 5:47 pm | Permalink
  6. Pal Dave wrote:

    Good God, to hear yourself referred to as a soccer, Formula One and Tour d’ France fan in black and white is a wakeup call…for the record, I’m no Tour d’France fan, but am a Baseball and Basketball fan (and many other sports as well), so honestly, I’m not a complete fruitcake!

    Thursday, June 24, 2010 at 7:19 pm | Permalink
  7. admin wrote:

    And for the record, Pal Dave: .294 career avg., 21 HR, and a specialist catcher for knuckleballer Carl Musser.

    Thursday, June 24, 2010 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

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