Sunday, July 18, 2010

A World Of Knowledge

Viva the motherland!!!!!!

What a final! I'm probably in the minority in saying that, with everyone complaining about the refereeing and the mounds of missed opportunities. But hey, better that than every American sportscaster grilling a penalty-kick final for the next 4 years. If you look at it, it was the only way that the biggest sporting event in the world could end, with two storied soccer nations that needed an extra 30 minutes to duke it out for their first world title. As I finished celebrating Andres Iniesta's goal in the middle of The Joshua Tree in Allston, I realized that this is becoming more of an event on this side of the pond. Yeah, the American Cinderella story ended against Ghana, but many of us took a heavy interest afterward, with viewers backing their finals pick with as much fervor as they would their gridiron squads. Comes to show you that even through the midst of the brutally backstabbing mess that was LeBron's 'decision', sports can provide us moments of pure passion and excitement that's far distant from the next muliti-million dollar contract. As a student to this soccer phenomenon, I continue to learn the many quirks and nuances of the beautiful game. Here are some lessons I took from this African spectacle.

For the final time, the vuvuzela is annoying.
Just when you thought that was the sound of your TV imploding, or South Africa going through a killer bee problem in their winter time. The monotonous drone of the vuvuzela invaded and conquered the stadiums of South Africa with a high decibel. It has even blamed for spreading sickness, hacking down the performances of the world's greats and even destroying a few windpipes. The craze proved to spread like a virus, as it made its way through the American grandstands in Miami when the Marlins gave out 15,000 in a World Cup promotion that would literally and figuratively, well, blow. Makes me sort of regret that I didn't buy stocks in earplugs last month. I know it's a cultural tool. But like Heidi Montag's recent plastic surgery binges and American Idol, some things just need to stop.

Guess I see why the Dutch made it this far.

In the World Cup, wearing a mini skirt may get you in trouble.
Apparently, two skirt-wielding Dutch ladies were arrested and detained for allegedly participating in an ambush marketing campaign for Bavaria Beer, who paid the ride for over 30 women to support their Oranje footballers in South Africa. Guess it's pretty difficult for ladies in skirts not to get attention, but to get it for some marketing conspiracy is something else. Something tells me that a vuvuzela crack down would have been more popular amongst the populous, but I guess I'm only talking for the red-blooded males here. Either way, shame on you South Africa police. Shame on you! Sideways head nods all the way around.

Diego Maradona is still a disgraceful human being.
Don't get me wrong, Diego Maradona is one of the top 3 players/compelling people to ever play this sport. But even with all the energy and love to his team he showed on the sidelines, Maradona still showed to the world that he is as much of a loathsome figure to some as he is beloved to others. Running over a camerman is one thing, but to curse him out for being there while he lays injured just seems like something that would only come from the worst behaved on 6th Street in Manhattan. And then there was him calling out Pele to go back to the museum after comments he made as well as to Michel Platini's 'Frenchness', making Maradona have about as much social grace as an elephant with ice skates. I love Messi, but it's Maradona's consistent buffoonery that forced me not to root for Argentina in 2010. That or him promising to run around Buenos Aires with what God gave him if they won. But anyway, while we're still kind of on the French....

Karma is a.....well, you know
See: 2010 French National team. Classic! Enough said.

Nation's best friend or worst enemy?

A hot reporter girlfriend maybe a risky proposition if you're a goalie.
The goalie position easily has to be the loneliest position on the field. You're pretty much on an island, in charge of defending a vast space, spending a majority of the game as a cautious on-looker. So it's no wonder that every once in a while you may be caught off guard, so to speak, taking a trip to Dreamland. Well, at least that's what's what the citizens of your beloved country will think when you allow a goal that puts your country on the brink of exiting the world stage. Want another reason to blame Canada? Well, Britain got on board for blaming ex and Toronto native Elizabeth Minett for distracting British goalie Rob Green's sad excuse for a stop that helped the U.S. equalize the opening game of the group stage. And then there is Spanish goalie Iker Casillas, who allowed the lone goal in that Swiss early in the group stage. Who did the blame go to you ask? None other than the main Spanish reporter for the Cup, Sara Carbonero (wowsers!), who he just happens to be dating currently. So much for the 'un-biased' interview. But I guess it worked out for San Iker in the end, and if it does, you should definitely reward here like a saint should, in front of the whole world to see!

When all else fails, blame the ball.
Believe it or not, I think I know what's been getting more heat than Howard Webb, or any other ref that has officiated over a match this World Cup. Seems like the Jabulani has been denied some love this World Cup where it has been blamed for being believe-it-or-not, too aerodynamic, while having as straight of a trajectory in mid-air as a inadequately designed paper airplane, creating the 2nd lowest goals per game average in World Cup history. It was in South Africa where we learned that a soccer ball could have 'knuckleball'-type flight. Along with the vuvuzela, the ball, whose name meas 'celebration', prevented many of the Rooneys, Messis and Ronaldos from doing just that, affecting the quality of the tournament for some. Unless it was a game involving Germany or the Netherlands, the scores read virtually binary in many of the other fixtures in the tourney. As flawed as the ball design was, it can't be blamed for the lack of goals as stellar defensive sides like Uruguay, Paraguay, Spain and Portugal became mainstays in the group of 16. Guess the run...ehem..goal prevention theory goes far beyond baseball.

Let's do it again in Brazil in 2014!

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