Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Soccer, The World Cup, and Lack of Knowledge

If you haven't heard (because you've been on Mars, though I think they have ESPN there), the World Cup is coming (over-promoted by the Worldwide Leader, and if I hear U2's "City of Blinding Lights" one more time), and you're supposed to care about it.

We've talked about it on "The Press Box", I'm proud to say, and we'll continue to. The problem is nobody has answered a question for me:

Can you explain the game to me, and tell me why it is so great?

I asked a recent guest, and got some stuff about "strategy." That's it. Ryan DeMaria and I just stared at each other after that. I've watched a couple of games recently, and all I seem to be getting out of it is that the women were watching because the Italian guys are hot, that there are players on the English team they'd like to see (preferably personally), and not much else.

It would be like guys rooting for the Cowboys for their cheerleaders. Wait, you mean that really happens?

I'm serious about this. I'd like to grasp it. I don't hate the sport. I just don't understand it, and I've been talking about this for some time. For the most part, it seems to fall on deaf ears.

Here's what I see: kick, run, run, run, kick...wide. Throw the ball over the head. Kick. Line up in front of the net. A few saves (mostly right into the keepers' body), and so on. I also hear a lot of "oohs" and "aahs" from viewers, when it seems obvious to me that the ball is going nowhere near the net.

I suppose once my understanding comes together, then I'll begin to get into the history.

I've even suggested to Sean that he start playing. His mother played in her hometown rec league, and his grandfather coached. I would support him, though I don't suspect I would coach him. Sean declined the idea.

Look, I didn't really know a lot about playing another sport (and not enough about its history), so when Michael Breed and John Connelly asked me to be part of a golf show in 1999, I was dubious to say the least. Eventually I would come to co-host "Tee Time" (and even fly solo on occasion). Now I'm much more versed and love the game (and played yesterday at the annual Greenwich Football Tournament).

Maybe Carrie will be the one to educate me. That would be fine.. I've asked fellow broadcaster Kenn Tomasch for his knowledge, because I don't enjoy the mere waive of the hand that we ugly Americans give the sport. He'll be on "The Press Box" later today (Tuesday, June 8th).

I'd be happy to join the party. For right now, I feel like an outsider. I hate that feeling. I think anybody would.

To finish, here are a few videos. This commercial is very well done, but what put it over the top for me was the use of the song "Hocus Pocus" by Focus. I...love...that...song. The video link is here.

Speaking of Kenn Tomasch, he posted this video. Funny (and linked here).

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