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John Sciacca Writes...

Features, Reviews and a Blog by John Sciacca

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Random Thoughts (Blog)

I backwash into the World Cup!

Posted on June 20, 2010 at 10:15 AM

Am I the only one who is resistant to the mad cow-like virulent strain of insanity that is plaguing the country right now? Shall I be forced to wander this continent alone, sipping rain water out of old, rusty peach cans and ducking into cover just before dusk as I hunt down all of you suddenly rabid World Cup soccer zombies with a gnarly pistol grip equipped sawed-off shotgun? Cause I’ll do it. And, I’m not proud to say it, but I’ll probably enjoy it a little.


Seriously, America! When did you become Europe? (And not in a cool Europe way with great history, wine, cars and clothes. More in that lame way that Europe serves drinks medium warm, won’t give you but 2 ice cubes, charges you to use the toilet and can't figure out that shower curtains are a brilliant means to keep the water INSIDE the shower.) Lost, Survivor and Idol are gone, but we still have so much else to watch. Pop open an old fashioned macro brew, eat some kind of meat stuffed with another meat and tune into some classic US programming like a baseball game, the US Open at Pebble, The Bachelorette, or something starring The Kardashians!


Now, it can’t be that I don’t get soccer because I never played it. Because, if it were that simple, then none of YOU would be getting it either. (OK, Craig, I know you played soccer and Gary, you live in France so *clearly* you’re gonna love soccer, err, futball, but the rest of you had better start ponying up an excuse!) And using a soccer ball to play dodge ball or kick ball or playing football on a soccer field all don’t count as acceptable answers.


I tried watching some of the US match on Friday and after about 5 minutes I wanted to ram a vuvuzela into each of my eyes. Guy kicks ball. Guy steals ball. Guy kicks ball. Guy heads ball. Guy trips. Ball rolls out of bounds. Repeat until you pray for the death that will not come. It would be more action packed to dump a scalding cup of coffee into my lap and then watch the area slowly redden and then blister. And the announcers act like *every* play is JUSTABOUTTHEMOSTEXCITINGTHINGTHEY’VEEVER……SEEEEEEEEEEEN!

Maybe I just can't fully embrace a game where two of my favorite appendages are completely out of play or where the playing field is just slightly smaller than Rhode Island or where it is a very REAL possibility that you’ll have to stand in front of a guy firing squad style as he kicks a ball as hard as he can either at your face or dangle downs. Oh yeah, and you’ve got to fight your God-given instinct of protecting said face and gents with your hands cause, you know, uh, soccer.


You just know that you’re in for an exciting treat when a high scoring game will be a combined number less than 3 and that a tie is a VERY real outcome. Because, if there’s anything that we American’s love, it’s the conclusion of a no-end-in-site skirmish with no clear winner. Also, what’s with the time in soccer? Is it just like a *suggestion* as to when the game might end? It just seems to run and run and run and then all of a sudden the people stop kicking the ball and wander off the field so I *guess* the game is over....? No wonder there are so many riots after games. People are frustrated, angry and confused. "It's over?! And another bloody TIE!!! Bollocks! I've got a full pint left and now I'm right well pissed! I'm gonna punch the first tosser I see wearing a different colored jersey!" They need the riot because it is the only way to actually have some sort of closure to the day.


Soccer, sure, we had a very brief fling when I was younger. But I see now that it was really just some youthful experimentation, and I thought that it was cool to wear the cleats and see how far I could kick the ball.  I think I totally lost interest in you back in the early ‘80s after watching the Stallone movie "Victory" (OK, seriously, any movie that can organically combine Pele, Stallone and Nazis pretty much demands a viewing) and subsequently tried to emulate a Pele bicycle kick on my parent’s bed and ended with a bloody nose after I kneed myself in the face. (An event that happened about 20 years prematurely to capitalize on the injuries-are-funny America's Funniest Home Videos craze.) Since then, the only thing cool thing soccer has ever done for us is to give guys an excuse to rip off their shirts and then run around like an airplane. Which, granted, is actually one of the coolest ways possible to tell your opponent that you just owned him and that now you have to fly away to make sweet and angry love to his woman.  It's also totally implied that you'll hijack his WiFi, change his passwords and steal his iPad and marry it to your own computer, likely a PC.


Nothing can sum up my feelings on soccer better than this bit of dialog from the Simpson’s 9th season (known as episode 5F01 to the cool kids):


TV Announcer: The Continental Soccer Association is coming to Springfield! It's all here--fast-kicking, low scoring, and ties? You bet! You'll see all your favorite soccer stars. Like Ariaga! Ariaga II! Bariaga! Aruglia! And Pizzoza!

Homer: Oh, I never heard of those people.

TV Announcer: And they'll all be signing autographs!

Homer: Woo-hoo!

TV Announcer: This match will determine once and for all which nation is the greatest on earth: Mexico or Portugal!

World Cup, I give you a Red Card! Now, hit the showers and go away for another four years!

Categories: June 2010, TV, Rants

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Reply Gary Mardell
5:47 AM on June 21, 2010 
Look, just hang in there. The group stages are always a bit frustrating to watch, even for hardcore football fans (I refuse to use the term soccer!). The knockout stages start on Saturday, so no more draws (a tie is what you wear with a shirt), there has to be a winner in every match, so we're into the whole extra time/penalites scenario.

As an aside, your guys have been pretty impressive, especially in the second half of their last match. I hope they manage to beat Algeria and progress to the next stage. I think they deserve it.

I suppose cricket would be out of the question? At its finest, a 5-day game that can still end in a draw. No, I didn't think you'd get it ;-)
Reply John Sciacca
8:50 PM on June 22, 2010 
I Googled the ONE soccer player whose name I know (Beckham, due almost entirely to Keira Knightley starring in a movie about some guy with apparently the same name). My query "Is Beckham playing in the World Cup." The first answer I clicked on said, "No, you stupid yank!" as if the ONLY person who would ask such a ridiculous question would obviously be a Yank. So, guilty as charged... Point: Europe!
Reply Craig
1:40 PM on June 23, 2010 
Don't be a hater!!! If you didn't see the match this morning, then you missed what is truly beautiful about soccer and being an American.

On the flip side, and to link it to the continuing "sack" saga, I played soccer last night and I got drilled by the ball in the sack. I did not crumple, I did not weep, but man did it farking hurt!!!
Reply Gary Mardell
1:48 PM on June 23, 2010 
Strangely enough I got the Algeria vs USA match here in Paris rather than the England game. The USA deserve their place in the last 16 and as winners of the group too.

Anyway, tonight we find out who England get in the next round. If Germany top their group, then we get them next. Then John, you HAVE to tune in for that. One of the the classic sporting occasions: England vs Germany in the World Cup.

And Craig, respect!
Reply John Sciacca
1:54 PM on June 23, 2010 
Gary, meet Craig, one of my best high school friends. Craig, meet Gary, my most distant member.

OK, saw I some of the game today (my co-workers insisted on having it on every TV in our showroom). So, along with the previous game, is it basically the American team's strategy to keep a tie going as long as possible, wind out all 80 minutes of play, wait until they are deep into the mystery time remaining extra time section, then score a miracle last second goal that then may or may not be allowed?
Reply Craig
1:57 PM on June 23, 2010 
John Sciacca says...
, is it basically the American team's strategy to keep a tie going as long as possible, wind out all 80 minutes of play, wait until they are deep into the mystery time remaining extra time section, then score a miracle last second goal that then may or may not be allowed?

I think the team has a deal with the American Cardiologists Association to employ that strategy. Either that or the team has one of those pots where all the fans have to throw in money every time they say a cuss word.

Gary, please take Germany off our hands. I'm hoping for a miracle that we somehow get Australia next.
Reply Gary Mardell
2:22 PM on June 23, 2010 
Pleased to meet you Craig.

It's going to take some major math and not a small bit of divine intervention to allow you to get Australia next, but I'll see what I can do. But it isn't guaranteed that the Germans will qualify yet.

I've been very impressed with your man Donovan and with the general team spirit of the Americans. I think they deserve to get through the next round to the quarters.
Reply Craig
2:29 PM on June 23, 2010 
I used to be anti-Donovan, but his time at Everton has served him well. He needs to go back and get some more seasoning.
Reply Gary Mardell
3:31 PM on June 23, 2010 
As far as I can tell, he seems to have been running the show.

Of course, as well as the football, I've had the pleasure of watching at first hand the French footballing establishment rip itself apart. An epic of biblical proportions ! Unbelievable.