Friday, May 23, 2014

World Cup 2014

The World Cup is a kind of diversion on this weblog, but four years ago, or was it eight, people were actually tuning in to read whatever some American (me) had to say about it, and I was surprised, but I couldn't help but notice that the blog was actually being read, for whatever reason.

Now you will notice right away that I am a USA fan, but don't know that much, really, about the USA team, or any other team, for that matter. A friend of mine made a comment about the reason Landon Donovan could have been excluded from the USA team this year, and, much as I snickered, I realized that I have no idea why he really was excluded, and very little time to do the research, having way too many children, and having those children more interested in the relationship between Elsa and Sven than in Landon Donovan. But I do know that Ghana is, again, our biggest rival; that our division is considered tough; that the backdrop (Brazil), this year, will be quite interesting; and that interest in the World Cup has been steadily rising in the USA, as part of a general trend toward internationalization in the younger generations.

As to this last tendency, I would like to consider myself a leader. Notice the world, I would tell fellow Americans. In particular, notice how soccer doesn't physically destroy its players as American football does. It is a world spectacle; its players are the kings on the world throne, they get the girls, the Ferarris, the television time, the money; they cheat and pretend, dramatically, to be injured, but hey, I feel better about feeding this monster than the American football one, which gives people repeated concussions, and broken ankles for life. I realize that's not quite justification. If this is an exercise in rampant nationalism, in unhealthy adoration of physical skills, then maybe it's better "Letting it go," as they say. But I'll save that argument for another season. For this one, I'll stick with my tendency, which is to love the USA (underdogs in this situation), like the African teams (always underdogs, for financial reasons), like most of the South American teams (always so passionate, so colorful), and like Mexico (local favorite). I like 'em all, actually, I like watching, and caring. It's an international spectacle, like the Olympics. It's much more fun to talk about, than political maneuverings in Ukraine. It's a little hedonistic, that way. But bring it on, I'm sick of talking about wars. Here the US is threatened with war in the Ukraine, war in the South China Sea, not to mention war in Afghanistan (it's been there all along), war here, war there, drones in Yemen, drones in Pakistan. We just can't seem to stop killing people. Well I say, kick the ball, and stop with the killing. If you can't take care of your soldiers when they come home, let the soccer players go out there, because you don't have to take care of them; they'll latch on to some team like Arsenal, and they'll make a fine living, and they'll marry into money, and everything will work out ok. We'll get our competitive streak satisfied, yelling about the way they "shoot," and nobody will die as a result (generally).

I say, let the games begin!

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