No, I’m not talking about that Kings of Camelot game on Facebook, though it IS highly addictive constructing one’s mini-feudal empire (who says D&D’s endgame doesn’t sound fun? Managing one’s kingdom can be fun!)…thanks (kind of) to my brother, AB, for getting me hooked on THAT.
Actually, I was talking about the upcoming 2010 World Cup in South Africa, which promises to occupy a ton of my time…now that I’ve finished watching the entire first two seasons of True Blood and completed the Lost saga, soccer is going to be the only thing going on my television between June 11th and July 11th.
I know I’ve blogged before that American football is my armchair sport of choice. But World Cup soccer is a close second and NOT because I played soccer for 8 or 9 years in school. Like most non-transplant Americans, my early disdain and disregard for “the world’s game” was acquired over many years of apathy. I credit my Mexican (born and raised) wife with opening my eyes to the larger arena of international sport competition.
Anyway, for me the tournament holds more interest than the Olympics (well, at least the Winter games…). And while I think it’s crazy that anyone would travel halfway round the world to see one or five soccer matches, I will still be waking up early-early (if not in the middle of the night) to catch as many of the games as I can, just as I did in 2004 (when the Cup was played in Asia).
Expect the blogging to suffer somewhat.
As for whom I will be cheering…well, even though the American fans are incredibly annoying (to me), I like the PLAYERS on the USA team and hope they go deep this year. For the sake of peace in my household, Mexico will be the team that gets cheered until they start playing like buffoons (they always seem to self-destruct before the quarter-finals). The most recent European infusion into my blood is Austria, and so I’ll be rooting a bit for Germany, even though my own ancestry is mostly English and Scotch-Irish.
The ladder/schedule is pretty interesting this year…because of the draw, there is no way that any of the Top 5 FIFA-ranked teams will play against each other in the Final. Brazil, Italy, Portugal, the Netherlands, and Espana will all have to fight each other to end up in the championship game. On the other side of the ladder, only Germany, Argentina, England, and France are even in the Top 10 FIFA world rankings (Croatia at #10 did not make the tournament). It’s possible that the two best teams in the world will be playing each other in the semi-final round just to see who will be forced to play for 3rd place in the tournament.
Okay, okay…that’s enough soccer talk…though as a little bit of trivia for my American readers: do you folks know why the game is called “soccer?” Soccer is a shortened form of the English term “Association Football” as opposed to “Rugby Football” the other “football” found in England. It is not called football because of the use of the feet…it is called football because it is played ON FOOT, in contrast to more NOBLE sports played on horseback (like polo or, perhaps, jousting). Any ball sport played on foot would be a type of FOOTball by this definition. Soccer (Association) Football is just one type.
We now return to our non-Anglophile programming.