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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Soccer, oh ok Football Explained.

Today we are going to discuss the World Cup, Life Explained, Explains Soccer, or Futbol, or Football, it doesn't really matter, it is all the same game.  Soccer (I am just going to call it soccer, if that is alright with everyone) is a game played on a big field, called a pitch.  Which is kind of nice, because it is a term that makes most Americans comfortable.  "Pitch, you say, well I remember when Dwight Gooden, (Good ol' Dr. K) would mow down batters, on his way to Rookie of the Year.  Sigh"  So, you see we are more comfortable already.

While it does seem odd to most Americans that soccer players are not allowed to use their hands most of the time, it does not bother the rest of the world at all, in fact they love it.  Sometimes, violently so.  Soccer is played, talked about and watched almost everywhere.

Of course, it does raise the interesting question, why?  Why did someone dream up a game where you were not allowed to use your hands?  And the question, who.  Who thought that was a good idea to play a game and not use your hands.  And the question, where.  Where did the person who thought is was a good idea to play a game that last 90 minutes without being allowed to use your hands live?  And, as long as we made it this far, what.  What, in the name of God, was he thinking?

Let's be real for a minute here.  Pretend you are on a team, playing in the baking heat and humidity.  And, you are running around a "pitch" the size of New Hampshire.  Chasing this tiny ball, trying to kick it into a relatively small goal, past what appears to be hundreds of hostile opponents, one of whom is going to grab the ball with his hands when you begin to close in, and boot that thing about a mile and half down the grassy continent you have just dribbled across, avoiding collisions, and theft attempts, and angry enemy combatants, armed only with your shin pads, and sweat soaked clothing.  Soon you look up and it is at the 88 minute mark (the two minute warning, for you football fans, the football played using your hands, that is) and the score is tied zero to zero.  You are almost out time, what do you do?  You pick up the damned ball and run it into the goal, that's what you do!

Then you spike the ball into the grass, and bust a few dance moves right there in the goal, and you go play defense.  That is how American Sports are played.

But, we are learning to love this game, football, and its odd beauty, and raw athleticism.  There is something magic in a sport that has not changed to add more scoring, something powerful in the way the game reveres its past as much as embraces the present. Americans might be able to love this game, but we will need to learn some new phrases, instead of "wait 'til next year," we should say, "wait until 4 years from now!"