Now let me get this straight. The World Cup is the most exciting sporting event on the face of the planet, right? Okay, then. What’s second place; the New England Spinsters Knitting Circle Seniors Tour? Which would make Supermodels Filling In Crossword Puzzles With Leaky Ink Pens a close third. Let’s not forget those scintillating Midnight Coastal Colombian Tarantula Crawl- Offs.
My God. It’s so European. Like a Bergman Film. “Firdley passes it to Rodrigue who kicks it back to Firdley who returns it to Rodrigue, who stands still for a robust twenty seconds. Genius tactical move. They’ve really put the attack back on the full boil now. Rodrigue crosses it to Firdley near the net and he takes a shot and oh no… it bounces off the crossbar, and so, late in the second extra time, the score remains, nil, nil.”
You can’t tell who anybody is, because the only camera angle has the lens conveniently mounted on the inside rim of the Hubble Telescope. As an added attraction, every single game in South Africa has been accompanied by a hundred thousand vuvuzelas, an instrument that gives cacophony a bad name.
It’s a mouthpiece leading to a long flaring plastic tube with a repertoire of a single blaring droning note. From beginning to end of every single match through extra time, half time and every time. To participants it must sound like playing inside a hornet’s nest that’s been microwaved on defrost for twenty minutes. Rumor has it the CIA is looking into possible uses for interrogations.
FIFA, the world governing body of soccer, refused to ban the vuvuzela saying it would deprive the world of the authentic South African footballing experience. Yeah. What a loss that would have been, especially considering the tradition of the vuvulzela being the unofficial football horn- like instrument of South Africa harkens all the way back to the early 21st Century in 2002.
To say the officiating has been a bit erratic is like inferring BP’s cleanup of the Gulf has been less than exhaustive. Referees have missed goals and calls like jury summonses, handing out their precious colorful cards to players whose only infraction was proximity to an opposing player who fell down for no apparent reason. Not just fell down, but dove to the ground holding their face writhing in agony like they were struck in the forehead by a heated metal coil festooned with jutting spikes. Holding their face? The hell is that? These guys would last fifteen seconds in the NFL. Tops.
Grown men egregiously flopping is just one reason the sport will never catch on in the USA, no matter how many soccer moms drive minivans. Americans can’t get it up for any sport that doesn’t involve eighth of a ton, no- neck, brain- dead, pieces of premium beef, tearing each other apart like the last sack of powdered milk at a United Nations relief tent in Kandahar. And in soccer, that’s the fans’ job.
Part of it has to do with the lack of commercials. We don’t have the attention span. The same reason why a Royal Family wouldn’t work here. Of course, next year is the Womens’ World Cup which men WILL tune in to just on the off chance that some competitor will pull a Brandi Chastain and rip off her shirt. Next time around the guys might want to try that. Or more head butting.
Will Durst is a San Francisco based political comedian who often writes. This being a sporty example.
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