As Spain hoisted their first-ever World Cup yesterday in South Africa, a month of frenzied soccer partying came to an end. I love how passionate soccer fans are world wide. And, if I never hear another vuvuzela again, it will be way too soon. Before the tournament began, I freely admitted I was not a “soccer guy.” I’m still not. But it’s time to recap and re-visit five things I did during the event.
1. I learned as much as I could about the World Cup – Of the 64 games played during the tournament, I probably watched all or part of 60 of them. That would be about 58 more than I have watched in any previous World Cup. I learned that a single commentator in the booth sounds awesome, especially when he has a British accent and uses his words economically. I also learned that soccer is hopelessly behind the times when it comes to getting calls right on the field (right, England?). A ball that crosses the line, but is not ruled a goal, has no place in a World Cup. Period.
2. Try as I might, my disgust only elevated when players began the writhing around on the pitch – I can literally count on one hand the number of turf rolls I saw that I would consider legit. That is absolutely absurd. FIFA may want to consider opening up a travelling theatre company, so the players can do their acting on a legitimate stage. Shakespeare might be nice. Perhaps some Arthur Miller works.
3. I threw all my support behind England – and that didn’t play out too well. Wayne Rooney was a disappointment, but not as much as their goaltending. Even if the goal-that-was-not-a-goal had counted, they would have been ousted. The fact that England has only won the World Cup once should be a complete, ongoing embarrassment to the country.
4. I tried to understand what makes Maradona tick – and I did not succeed. From the periphery, it appears to me that a national soccer coach’s main role is to talk in circles and make everyone think his team is the one to beat. Maradona did that very well, wearing the “mysterious” mask – right up until Argentina got their a** kicked. Then he was just another schmoe in a suit.
5. I decided that once every four years is often enough to hold this event – Until soccer figures out how to score more (I’d rather have a tooth pulled than watch a nil-nil match go to penalty kicks) and how to make sure balls that go across the goal line are counted as goals, one adjective remains to describe the sport – borrrrrrrrrrring!