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No kicks from World Cup

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

As a child I never liked being force-fed strained carrots or whatever awful creation they made for babies back then. I don't actually remember being force-fed, but I know I don't like it as an adult so I only assume I didn't like it as a child.

Maybe that is why I don't care much for soccer. Oh sure, billions and billions of people around the globe watch it and apparently ESPN bought the rights to this year's World Cup for billions and billions of dollars so I am stuck with nothing but soccer for a month.

It isn't that I despise soccer. As a matter of fact, I have grown not to hate high school soccer and at times even enjoy it. But that is seeing the game in person while watching it on television is a lot like watching paint dry.

Unfortunately with ESPN's minute-by-minute coverage I have unknowingly followed the World Cup and found out some of the exact reasons I don't like soccer. Seriously, some of these story lines are straight out of "As the World Turns."

One goalie apparently gave up a game-winning goal and immediately blamed the ball used in the World Cup. I'm assuming it is the same size and shape of all soccer balls but then I don't follow the sport, so what do I know? Maybe the ball was rounder than the one he is used to.

Another goalie gave up a goal and blamed his girlfriend, who is a soccer announcer and way too attractive to be dating a soccer goalie. Funny thing is, after the game she ripped him apart with her questions about him allowing the goal. You know, a woman scorned and all.

The French team has apparently acted like, well, the French, and kicked off the star player, followed by a trainer quitting and player walking out. There is nothing like some good team unity.

Funny thing is, I learned all of this from the highlights and analysis on ESPN that never seem to end. I think it is some sort of brain washing that ESPN is using while us poor souls are waiting to see our baseball scores. As a matter of fact, it was embedded in my head that USA played on Friday morning and I don't even know how.

But since I didn't have to work on Friday morning I decided to see what all the buzz was about. Let me tell you, there is a serious buzz and it annoyed me the entire match. It seems that in South Africa they like blowing horns called vuvuzelas. Imagine a herd of 1,000 cows in serious pain all bellowing at the same time and you will have a general idea of the noise that takes place the entire soccer match.

While they are annoying, I certainly understand why they blow them. Basically for two hours there are about five minutes or less of serious action. In the match I was attempting to watch, the Americans got down two quick goals to Slovenia. That's right, Slovenia. I had no idea where it was so in order to spice up the game, I decided to get out an encyclopedia and find out a little about the country, like where it was.

As I was searching for this nation, USA came back and scored. I must say I did raise an eyebrow but was well short of having a coronary like the announcers on television. Then there it was -- I found Slovenia located in central Europe and saw the Republic has just over two million people. So America was losing to a country with fewer people than Chicago. So glad I got up early for that.

As the game drug on I kept reading up on Slovenia to stay awake. The announcer kept talking about how much drama there was and he was right. Did you know that Slovenia gained their Independence from Yugoslavia in 1991? Fascinating.

Finally USA scored to tie the game and the announcers went crazy. Apparently it is one of the best comebacks in the history of USA soccer. I actually missed the goal while reading up on Slovenia, but I was able to catch one of the 15 replays they showed in the following 10 minutes. I guess it was a nice goal with the ball hitting the back of the net and all.

Then later USA seemed to score again and this time I was watching. However, the official called some sort of penalty and the goal wasn't allowed. Neither the players nor the announcers seemed to know what penalty was called so I didn't feel so stupid, but they were all outraged, which in turn outraged me. Seriously, you don't mess with the Americans or we may rise up like the Slovenians in the Revolution of 1989.

With the players irate, announcers confused and me educated in the Slovenian currency the game finally ended in a 2-2 tie. That's right, a ridiculous tie. What kind of sport ends the game in a tie? Maybe watching paint dry is more fun because at least in the end the paint actually dries. I could have just watched the two minute highlight on SportsCenter and not lost two hours of my life.

Oh well, billions of people can't be wrong right? Maybe not but McDonald's has served billions and billions and I don't care much for them so I guess I can dislike soccer. Of course ESPN wants to force it down my throat like a greasy Big Mac, so while you are reading this I am sure I will be watching the USA's next match against Algeria. I guess I'll just grab the encyclopedia and learn about Algeria to stay awake or maybe find the remote control so I can change the channel.

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David Jenkins
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