Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Go Team!

Soccer is actually getting big in America. The World Cup made the front page of some newspapers, and USA games are being broadcast on network tv. Before I came over, I worried about where I'd be able to see the games in Vermont. I thought I'd have to drive miles to some smoky den of anglophiles for two a.m. broadcasts. Turns out least two bars in the next big town are showing the games, and that includes the old school "sports bar" which only, I thought, showed baseball and gridiron.

But the weird thing is, when I got here I suddenly had zero desire to watch the World Cup. I really like soccer - I used to play it and I like watching it. Back in the UK, where people are gaily festooning their cars, homes and dogs with England flags and tattooing players' names on their unmentionables for luck, I was getting totally swept up in the frenzy of anticipation. I've seen the pictures on the net of what's going on over there... the drunken brawling in Manchester's Exchange Square, the outbreak of those embarassingly gauche England fan hats... and I know that there's no getting away from it over there, whether you like it or not.

Maybe that's why it's nice to be here, where Team USA has turned out to be kind of sucky, and - perhaps by coincidence - national interest in soccer is dwindling. We don't like to lose to other countries, and there are so many other sports we're the best at. Like baseball. We hold the "World Series" every year, and don't even have to ask any other countries to play. We're that good. (The Brits think the World Series is a perfect example of American arrogance. I think they're just mad they don't play baseball real good like us.)

So the only sport I've been watching is ice hockey, the sport I was raised playing and watching, and the only sport my entire family cares about. It's the Stanley Cup right now, and I've actually seen most of the games on Canadian TV. Sure, there are some silly hats on display, but, compared to soccer, hockey seems so fast moving and exciting. And Don Cherry makes me laugh. In the World Cup, the US team got hammered by the Czechs and we're about to be embarassed by the Italians. England looked shaky in their first match. Wayne Rooney's foot hangs in the balance. But it's nothing to me.


Anonymous scully said...

Actually the World Baseball Classic was started this year and the United States SUCKED! I laughed so hard I thought I would hurt myself. Japan won the tournament.

2:23 PM  

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