I am not a soccer guy, but I will watch as much as I can of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. I played soccer when I was younger. Loved to play goal. I understand all the rules and concepts of the game. But I just can’t seem to get into the sport. It might have something to do with the flaky personalities of the game’s international stars. It might have something to do with the media fawning over those same stars (i.e. David Beckham). As I key this in, the South Africa/Mexico match is about to begin the tournament. So, over the next month, I have decided there are five things I will do during the World Cup in South Africa.
1. Learn as much as I can about the World Cup – This should not be a tough one. Every single game is broadcast here in Canada on CBC. Which is amazing, since Canada is not even participating in the event. The vast majority are live. A handful are on a delayed basis. I don’t know much about South Africa. I can’t really name a single player involved in the event. But, more and more each day, sports television does a wonderful job of informing those who want to learn. I’ll be one of those.
2. Try not to show outward disgust when “injured” players begin writhing around on the ground – This is one of the things that turns me completely off the game. How old are we, five? Unless there’s bone sticking out of your leg, GET UP! I will also try my best not to hurl when the whining to the referee begins which, since they are about to now kick off that first match, is mere moments away. I will also try not to let the pace of play bore me to death.
3. Pick a team to cheer for – I do not know who this team will be. England sounds like they may do well. I suppose, just to be neighbourly, I should be cheering for the USA. But I am not. Yes, I believe England will be the country of choice. Their first three are against USA, Algeria and Slovenia. Since I am now cheering for England, I have decided all are slam dunks (sorry for the cross-sport reference).
4. Try to appreciate and learn the finer points of the game and appreciate the athleticism – Again, this one will not be hard either. Between now and July 11th, we will see what amounts to the largest collection of supreme athletic ability in the world. I can’t even imagine the cardio these guys have. I think I need to go and work out.
5. Pray for Nelson Mandela – There’s a saying – No parent should ever have to bury their child. Well, I’m pretty sure no great-grandparent should ever have to bury their great-grandchild. Yet that’s what Mandela will have to do this week. His 13-year old great-granddaughter, Zenani Mandela, was killed last night in a collision allegedly involving a drunk driver. It’s the luge tragedy in Vancouver all over again. Those Olympics went on to become a wonderful world-wide event. Let’s hope the same for the World Cup – and pray for Mandela.