Thursday, September 9, 2010

Day 258: Goooaaaaaaal (or is it Goooooooal?)

The 2010 World Cup soccer tournament kicked off on Day 257 and I, like most of the country except for my boss Paul who hates soccer/football, was super excited to cheer on the USA.

Why all of the excitement over a sport I no next to nothing about and barely follow any other time in my life except during the World Cup?

I don't know. Because everyone else was. And it felt like the right thing to do. And soccer players are hot. I think that's reason enough.

Day 258's thing I've never done before was to attend a World Cup viewing party, England vs. USA, at Kyle and Greg's house.

This day's, "thing I've never done before," was certainly less about this particular day, and more about this day's representation of a several weeks-long obsession with this sport and everything having to do with the World Cup.

I didn't just watch the games (or it matches?) with all of the gusto of a lifetime fan, I immersed myself in soccer. One of my favorite blogs, Stuff White People Like, said that I probably like the World Cup because it allows me to, even if just for a few weeks, pretend that I'm European so that I can drink at strange times during the day. I can't deny either of those things.

But here are my own observations as a new World Cup fan:

1. Vuvuzelas are annoying. Probably equally as annoying as a bourbon-drunk Georgia fan singing, "Who's that coming down the track," but still super annoying. There, I said it.

2. The red card/yellow card system is so perfectly passive aggressive, I may incorporate it into my communication with everyone.

Yellow card = you've hurt my feelings
Red Card = you've REALLY hurt my feelings

3. The endless conversation about why soccer has never "caught on" and become a mainstream sport in the United States is perhaps why soccer has never become a mainstream sport in the United States. Play hard to get and maybe the people will come around. If they don't, it's best to just move on to countries and people who love you. Like Slovenia. Where the hell is Slovenia?

4. Never has ending in a tie felt so good. I love soccer!

The party was fun and not unlike any other sports watching party I'd ever been to, minus about 80 percent of us not completely understanding what we were watching. I managed to take the momentum from Greg's and carry it over to several weeks of World Cup watching, forcing my productivity, along with all of my colleagues minus Paul, to hit record lows when the USA was playing. And thanks to my own research and asking countless questions from any current or former soccer player (Greg, Andrew, Chas, Ben, FF), I think I started getting the hang of it, just in time for the USA to get eliminated.

But it was a fun ride while it lasted, and I can't wait to do it again in four years (or maybe sooner if I can figure out how to watch soccer in the USA when it's not the World Cup).

Let's take a moment, though, to remember this highlight:

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