I am a huge sports fan, but Soccer? Well..not so much. I grew up in the heart of the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles where weekend games were played on every open patch of grass that was not already occupied by dead cars and bounce houses.
In middle school PE they always had an season dedicated to soccer with the declaration that this was the biggest sport in the world and soon to be HUGE in America and to become more popular than Baseball or (do I even suggest) Football. WHAAAA? Has anyone informed The Chargers of this? I mean before they do something crazy like buy new uniforms or build a new Stadium.
But I wasn’t buying it.
Each day we would dress in our very un-cool PE uniforms so that we were not marked down as “non -suit” and sent to the benches for the hour to contemplate our crimes against 80’s athletic attire.
We would sit on our painted numbers on the asphalt and wait our assignment of which “team” played each other for the next 30 minutes.Right after a proper warm up that consisted of 25 jumping jacks, a reach for our toes (in my case, it was upper shins because I was born with a birth defect known as acute Cement Hamstring Syndrome) and ends with a quick bend to each side. Okay time to score some goals!
I get into what I assume is the proper formation and start running around. Five minutes in I realize that this is all really a cleverly disguised ploy to make us runs for 30 min. Back and forth. Back and forth. Never getting to kick the ball. For the love of Pele’ himself, isn’t the point to be able to kick the damn ball? Guess not, there is just more running. Back. Forth. Back and…(you get the idea.) All the time, I’m eying the kid who got the sweet gig of playing goalie. Not that putting my body in the way of a soccer ball hurling towards me at high speed is making my top ten list of totally radical to do’s, but my point being this: That guy gets to sit around and contemplate which Van Halen t-shirt he wants for his birthday between the VERY FEW moments that the ball is actually making its way into the space that he has sworn to the ADIDAS gods to protect. As I suffer from dehydration from chasing a ball that I have less chance of scoring with than I do an actual member of Duran Duran.
This sport will never take off here in the states…too much work for so little glory.~ My first and last attempt at predicting the future of sports in America.
Blame it on adolescent malaise, but spending the summer chasing that elusive ball in the triple digit heat sounded like even less fun than being seen out in public with my family.
Flash forward to 30 years later and I am surrounded by soccer at every turn in my life. Exes, friends, foes, even my dog loves his soccer ball. Everyone is a fan. Children are exiled to a life of shame if they are not playing AYSO at age 5, and here I am bored out of my skull. Is it horrible that the only part of soccer that I like is counting how many “One Mississippis” long the announcer will shout “GOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL” and those awesome chants/songs of the rivalrous fans?
So in the spirit of the World Cup and the madness that ensues, I will admit I feel a bit left out of all the online banter between my friends who are 1/16th Italian throwing shade at my other friends who are routing for Team Australia because their favorite movie was Crocodile Dundee as a child.
I have to admit those Matrix-like butterfly kicks are pretty cool, but how often do those actually happen?
Not often enough to keep this hater watching, that’s how often.
So I may have been wrong about the popularity of the sport but I at least will stay true to myself by not jumping on the bandwagon and buying a incredibly unflattering crimson and gold sweatsuit in an attempt to claim my 1/2 Czech heritage. And While we are on the subject of incredibly unfashionable sports attire, Why do soccer sweats make that weird swishy noise when you move? You would think the most popular sport in the world could pay the braniacs at NASA to invent a less noise polluting attire? How about a nice quiet fabric like organic cotton that breathes? Just putting that out there.
On that note, I wish all the fans a great World Cup and hope your teams win, whichever team that may be. But just know that I may or may not be praying that something really cool happens, like a UFO descending down onto the arena and abducts the goalie guy in highly dramatic fashion. Because my money is on the fact that right now, that guy isn’t doing shit.
P.S. My hilarious good friend James Kass at Chucklehutch.com wrote a funny related story today and you should check it out at :
It’s good stuff.