I’m not going to lie to you and tell you I love soccer.
But I don’t hate it nearly as much as I used to.
I loathed soccer as a teenager and young adult. Maybe it’s because I was cut from my seventh grade team at Burr Junior High School (Tommy Briel made it over me. Not that I’ve been carrying that around for a while or anything).
Or maybe because soccer is long stretches of boredom where nothing happens, broken occasionally by an exciting play. I used to really hate soccer, and wrote about my hatred one time in my gig at the University of Delaware’s student newspaper, The Review. I got my first experience with hate mail on a large scale after writing a piece in, I think it was 1996, saying soccer was stupid, it will never catch on in this country, and the new Major League Soccer organization would fail miserably.
Turns out a guy from Kansas City somehow read my article, posted it on a soccer list-serve (remember those?) on the Internet, and I got all kinds of angry emails from places I’d never heard of telling me soccer rules and I should shut up.
Anyway, I learned to like and appreciate soccer when I covered a minor league team in North Carolina for a few years. I became friendly with the players, they explained a lot of the strategy and technical aspects of the sport to me, and I learned to truly understand why things happen they way they do.
Still, like millions of Americans Saturday, I hadn’t sat through a full soccer game on TV since the last World Cup. But I love any competition where nations go at it, so I was riveted by the U.S.-England game.
Great to see America forge a 1-1 tie, even if the goal we scored, by Clint Dempsey, was softer than a Sumo wrestler’s midsection. That poor English goalie; if the Brits somehow miss making the second round because they tied America, he’ll never live in peace. Still, the U.S. played a great second half, and could’ve won if Jozy Altidore’s shot wasn’t stopped by English keeper Robert Green and ticked off the post.
Only thing that ticked me off watching the game was those horribly offensive and annoying vuzuvela noisemakers. It sounds like a swarm of 50,000 bees coming through your TV.
But go USA! I think we’ll make the second round, but after that, who knows.
**So I’ve been meaning to blog about this for a while but keep forgetting. The Oklahoma Dept. of Corrections in Cleveland County, Okla. has taken a drastic step to identify prisoners.
And make them look funny. Inmates there now have to wear hot pink shirts, striped yellow pants, and jelly shoes while walking around in the jail.
The state says it’s to make it easier to spot inmates if they escape. Me, I think it’s a desperate ploy by the warden to get attention from Joan and Melissa Rivers.