Sunday, June 18, 2006

Tuning in, turning on to soccer

For the first time ever, I've been watching soccer.

And enjoying it.

Early senility?


I want to know what the delirious fans are chanting and singing at the World Cup matches in Germany, but the commentators never say.

My guess:
We will kick you in the shins
We will knee you in the 'nads
Then we'll score another goal
And hoist our drinks to "Skoal"!

If you like Foosball, it seems you should like soccer. And with all the American kids who've been playing the last couple generations, it seems like the sport should gain more traction than it does here in America.

One thing I've noticed in my World Cup viewing: no soccer players are wearing glasses. I guess because you use your head so often to advance or control the ball.

I also wonder if a lot of foot fetishists are into soccer, because those soccer players can do some amazing things with their feet and it seems as if that would be a huge turn-on for the world's foot fetishists.

In the past week, because I'm curious, I've spoken to two different men, both of foreign origin, about the World Cup games. I hunger for knowledge and understanding, so naturally I didn't strike up any conversations with anyone who appeared to be a native-born American.

Both men seemed delighted when I told them I just started watching and enjoying soccer with this year's World Cup games.

It was a beautiful moment of international understanding. Without soccer, I wouldn't be talking to these guys!

Maybe that's why everyone hates America. We don't "get" soccer.

I asked one guy, who was of Chinese descent, if he goes to any of the games of Houston's new Major League Soccer team, the Houston Dynamos. This Chinese guy and I were both gazing at a World Cup match in a waiting room, when I struck up the conversation.

He said no, he hasn't been to any Dynamo games, then asked if it wasn't true that most of the people at those games are Mexicans. I wasn't sure whether he meant the players or the fans or both. In either case, I said I had no idea.

So I guess the Chinese don't like the Mexicans. And probably vice-versa. So much for sport bringing cultures together.

Screw international sports brotherhood, viva soccer xenophobia!

The other guy I spoke to, an Ecuadoran salesman, spoke enthusiastically about the "beautful sport" and complained that Americans who think there isn't enough scoring don't appreciate the defensive skills involved in the game.

I asked the Ecuadoran if he went to any of Houston Dynamo games and he said no, though he did say he likes to go to Bear Creek Park in Harris County to watch adult amateur teams play.

Was that because of the quality of the Major League Soccer play is poor, I queried?

It was, in his view.

OK, then, if World Cup soccer play could given a grade of A, what would he give the quality of MLS play?

I went through all the letters, top to bottom, until I hit F and he said, "Yes!"

Maybe he's full of hot air. He said nothing about the Chinese or Mexicans or foot fetishists.

Today, my education continues. Ukraine's whuppin' Saudi Arabia 3-0.

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