Thursday, June 24, 2010

World Cup Musings

Yes, I watch the World Cup. I root for underdogs and the USA. Granted, that's often the same thing. Makes rooting easier. And the offsides rule seems designed to be despiriting. "GOOOOOAAAAALLLL!!! Oh. Sorry." And it is so much better watching soccer on the spanish channels - the commentators seem to know what they're talking about and they find a lot to talk about. The English-speaking commentators seem to be at a golfing event. And they talk about those vuvuzuelas a lot.

But why watch the World Cup when I don't normally watch soccer? Well, the stakes, of course. They don't get any higher. Not even at the Olympics. They add drama to the games. There was an Italian player sobbing on the field when his team lost and got eliminated in the first round (if I heard correctly, this was the first Italian team so eliminated in the history of the World Cup). You don't see that in a regular game. And is Ghana the first African team to make it to round two? I think so. Just imagine the pride. To represent an entire nation and battle through where great soccer nations like Italy and France have fallen.

At the start of every Olympics I have something like this same thought - I don't like to fail. In a sense it would gall me to enter a competition where I knew I had no chance of winning or even doing well. But at every parade of nations I see crowds of people smiling, waving their flags, wearing their nation's uniform, proud almost to bursting though they know the games will be short for them and they'll be headed home empty-handed. That it means so much to so many that they're willing to sacrifice their egos for nation-pride. That's something else. And you get that at the World Cup.

So in a few days when the US plays Ghana in a loser-go-home scenario, I'll be rooting for both. Who knows? Maybe they'll win...


Blogger Graham Powell said...

I'm not a big soccer fan but I was off yesterday and got to watch every minute of US vs. Algeria. It was one of the most dramatic sporting events I have ever seen. Now I'm fired up about the knockout rounds.

Oh, and I think Nigeria has been past the group stage before, but I could be wrong.

June 25, 2010 12:08 AM  

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