For those of you who don't know me personally, I am football (soccer in the USA) mad. I've been in love with the sport since 1972 and I discovered Pele. I've watched every World Cup since then, and followed England's EPL almost as long, with my support of the MLS in the US for the past 5 years. It's taken a while since I wanted to make sure people were taking it seriously. I firmly believe that soccer will one day supplant football as the most watched game in America. Especially when people realize that one game need not take all day long. Just a little over 120 minutes with stoppage time.
Anyway, this weekend will be somewhat of a soccer orgy for me, with all the games set to record in the event any emergency should happen and I am forced to miss a game or even a fraction of one. I have snacks, beverages and first aid supplies laid in. All phones are turned off or disconnected during the actual games. If Uncle Fredo in Utah dies, well, that is what voice mail is for, right?
Let me tell you why I like soccer, even over a sport I can play, like baseball. They don't hobble any of their teams or players. You are the best because you actually ARE the best and not because someone felt sorry for you and let you get ahead based on emotion rather than talent. In America we say World series, but it's only us. In the World Cup they strive for four years to get to the month long finals tournament. Competition for the next Cup starts right after this one ends. And, the ENTIRE Planet fields teams. The World in World Cup means just that. Soccer is the antithesis of any sort of socialism. It's a team sport, and the team must play together to win. No one helps anyone along, you either play well or you don't play at all. Period. Ability is what this game is all about. Pure, unbridled talent.
Sorry... was getting a bit worked up there... where was I...
Oh yeah, the talents in soccer... Last World Cup was the Cup of Divas. From Wayne Rooney and Christiano Ronaldo to Figo and Zizou, we saw some of the best soccer drama EVAR! Figo, winning straight tens in the Greg Louganis Dive Championships, was the best actor out there. He then quickly faded into obscurity somewhere in the Arab Emirates after leaving Portugal. Apparently some sheik built a better dive complex. Zizou retired after his infamous headbutt and loss to Italy. I almost miss him and his ego.
However, in perhaps the most important match in the Cup, England played Portugal and teammates Wayne Rooney and Christiano Ronaldo played against each other. Both of them just 18 and 19 years old, carried massive egos into the German soccer complex and out on to the pitch. Both of them showed their immaturity and threw tantrums during the match. However, Rooney being red carded after stomping on the groin of a Portugal player was perhaps the nail that shut England's World Cup coffin shut. I will never forgive him for that. In fact, I refuse to even consider listening to new about Manchester United because both of them play for Sir Alex Ferguson.
And this brings me to my soccer lover. John Terry. Once captain for the England Team, taking over after David Beckham retired from world play. His emotion after the loss to Portugal four years ago broke my heart. He sat on the pitch and wept, openly, after the match. Frank Lampard and David Beckham could not console him. He's struggled in the past four years with injuries and personal foolishness, and is not coming into the Cup at his best. I will watch again as he defends England's goal against all comers and pray his head is once again on the pitch where it needs to be. I want England to fight out USA for the Team C spot.
Now, to Team three of my teams to cheer for in the Cup... Holland. ORANJE! Moi hej! My husband's family is from Holland, so we have the orange jerseys and paraphernalia. I have my Lion swinging, nodding and staring. However, I would be remiss in not scolding the Coach for AGAIN overlooking van Nistlerooy. Last cup another coach benched him during a decisive game and Holland sucked donkey balls. This cup they entirely ignored him. So van Parsie, Robben et. al. must soldier on. Play well, Holland. ORANJE!
The games will all be on ESPN and ABC. It's spectacular in HD. It's nearly time to turn off the phones again. I'll be screaming my head off for nearly two hours. This should be epic!