Saturday, July 3, 2010

World Cup Thoughts

When I started dating my husband, he introduced me to the wonderful writing of the TV show, "The Simpsons."  I thought I was "above" The Simpsons (remember, I was an English major who was "so" into cultured things) and based on the first few years, it really was a pretty base show.  Then, they were wise enough to hire some really outstanding writers (Conan Obrian for example) and the show became a great commentary on modern life.  Daily it seems something happens and my husband and I end up quoting a Simpsons line.  Because of who I am married to and my natural love for TV, we have seen most if not all Simpsons episodes.

So, what Simpon's line has been in my head the last few weeks?  "I've watched hours and hours of soccer and I almost saw a goal!"

With World Cup in full swing, I thought I would be fully invested.  Being raised in Boulder, CO, youth soccer was a big deal.  All of my friend's played it and in my high school, attendance at the school soccer games was big.  As a missionary in Argentina, World Cup 1994 was on and our mission president told us when Argentina was playing, if we could find an inactive member's house to watch the game, we should go there, since the whole country would be watching it and nobody would answer their doors.  True story.

While a missionary in Argentina, Diego Maradona was having his huge soccer come-back, after being suspended from the game for 15 months because of cocaine being found in his system.  He was viewed and is still viewed by many as Argentina's best soccer player and one of the best soccer players of all time.   Interestingly, his comeback was short lived because they found drugs in his system during the 1994 World Cup (not cocaine but ephedrine).   (I am still amazed I understood all of this, in that it was explained to me in Spanish and that at one time in my life, I understood the language fluently enough to really speak and converse in it.  Very cool.)

But before Maradona failed that drug test, all of Argentina was glued to the TV, to watch Maradona play including young, American me.  I LOVED watching the games.  I loved hollering, "Maradona" whenever he would touch the ball.  I loved breaking out into the Argentine National anthem when they would score a goal.  I loved walking on the streets and hearing the every house shout, "Goal!" as we made our way home to our apartment.  I even started playing soccer on my P-day when all of the other sister missionaries would sit on the side and watch.  I wasn't good but I imagined myself to be good.

So, again, I thought I would really enjoy watching World Cup with my nephews and kids.

Not so.  It must have been just a "I'm a missionary and really getting into the culture I am living in" thing because honestly, these games go on forever and nothing happens.  And then, when something does happen, it is called as off-sides and no goal happened.  Or we think the game is over but no because there is the time clock and then the official time clock and "stoppage" time.  Oh and Maradona, now the current head coach/manager of the Argentine National team, looks horrible.  So sad.  I learned (in English this time), he continued to battle cocaine use for many years and it almost killed him.

I have heard once that Pele wrote an article outlining ten things to make soccer a more interesting sport for the general viewer.  He suggested getting rid of off-sides, no kick offs, etc.  Maybe if those things would be implemented, I will watch again with interest.  Instead, I will keep on hearing Homer Simpson say, "I watched hours and hours of soccer and I almost saw a goal."


Paige said...

I've sat through so many hours of soccer with my kids. I say sat through and not watched, because most of the time I'm really not watching. Until the exciting parts. Those I watch. I have not been watching world cup, but I find it cool how into it everyone seems to be getting.

David said...

i used to feel the same way about soccer, but i find this tournament really interesting. the games have not bored me. there's been some great play and yes, even quite a few goals!!

i was in Frnace on my mission during the U.S. world cup.

Nadia said...

You should go to a Real Salt Lake game sometime. Something about seeing the game live, with all the crazy fans, makes it a lot more fun.

Jane Anne said...

I think you are a terrific writer! (yes, I used the exclamation point)