World Cup Musings and Hot Chicks With Balls
Every four years we're reminded that Americans are immune to World Cup fever. Sure a few people here and there catch the bug. And yes our so-called "immigrants" get excited, but they're also the same people who shout "Osama bin Laden, Osama bin Laden" whenever their home country plays the Red, White and Blue, which would piss us off more if their labor wasn't so darn cheap. But that's another story.
What is the story is that in America the slagging of soccer as a sport has turned into a sport itself; on par or greater than the persistent pondering of whether poker is a sport. For most Americans, watching scoreless games with a bunch of foreigners running around chasing a ball for 90 minutes just isn't as interesting as watching a bunch of large men in pads tackling each other and slapping each other's asses.
Wicked Chops Poker however does love soccer--almost as much as we love watching large men in pads tackling each other and slapping each other's asses. We play soccer (almost) weekly. Watch it (almost) regularly. And we're not even immigrants (well almost--just a generation or two from green cards). And yes sometimes we even write about soccer here, like when Danish star striker Mads "The Mechanic" Junker got caught cheating his teammates during their poker games and when England's Wayne Rooney racked up a 700K quid gambling debt.
But we know we are the exception in America. Consider what the late Chicago newspaper columnist Mike Royko once said about soccer's popularity:
"All that proves is that most of the world is too poor to build bowling alleys, golf courses, tennis courts and baseball fields. There's hundreds of millions of people out there who still ain't got indoor plumbing, but that don't mean there's something great about an outhouse. Soccer is boring. I've never seen a more boring sport."
The rest of the world loves soccer. Surely we must be missing something. Uh, isn't that what the Russians told us about communism? There's a good reason why you don't care about soccer - it's because you are an American and hating soccer is more American than mom's apple pie, driving a pick-up and spending Saturday afternoon channel-surfing with the remote control.
Then there's the guys over at SoccerSucks.net.
And finally, check out this entertaining email rant we received from a guy named Crawford Adam (another who's first name is a last name and last name is a first):
Is it just me or do they not do a good job of advertising the world cup? I mean this is the biggest sporting event in the world correct??? And what do we have for commercials advertising TEAM USA? URGH that's right...BONO from U2 talking about how one ball can stop a war. note to george bush!!! all you need is a f'n soccer ball (futbol) to stop the war in iraq.... Is it too late??? OOOOH I can't tell you how much Bono's words mean to me as an American. That this one ball can stop the entire world. A BALL. I have two balls and it doesn't stop the fact that I have to work on Friday. I don't even know who team usa's keeper is not to mention any players on team USA. I think there's a guy on our team called "donovan". For all I know that rasta man Coby Jones is still playing. And if memory serves correctly Beckham is English....played on manchester united...now plays on Real Madrid (SPAIN) plays for England/Spain??? and boinks a spice girl. Now that is exciting. So tell me what you want..what you really really want. I want a . I want a . I want a zing a zing zang...POOP POOP POOP. I tell you what I really like about this world cup and it ain't the final score of a 1-1 tie heart stopping hour of Scotland and the Netherlands....NO it's way beyond that. What I like is that for one month every four years....Americans get out of work to drink with their friends for a BALL. Now that's cool!! Oh and Brazil is going to wax it!
Now we don't know Crawford from Adam but he's a good friend of WCP-occasional-contributor Beans and he somewhat has a point, or at least made us laugh while making it.
"Who wins the World Cup is no more important than who wins at the end of Star Wars. And yet anyone who, like me, couldn't give a monkey's about this tournament is about to spend a month feeling like we have some communicable and weird disease."
While Hanlon doesn't give a monkey's ass about the World Cup, Ukraine soccer coach Oleg Blohkin recently made a monkey's ass out of himself when equating certain foreigners in the Ukraine soccer league with our primate ancestors:
"The more Ukrainians that play in the national league the more examples for the young generation. Let them learn from Shevchenko or Blokhin and not from some Zumba-Bumba whom they took off a tree, gave him two bananas and now he plays in the Ukrainian league."
Unabashed bigotry aside, Blohkin's comment sheds light on the reason the rest of the world is so passionate about the World Cup. It's all about unbridled nationalism. You see, most (read: all) of these countries suck at business, winning wars and taking showers regularly but they kick ass on the grass. And this gives them something to be proud of every four years. And because the rest of the world loves soccer and hates Americans, we return the favor with a bit of our own nationalism by hating the sport the world loves so much.
Simplistic? Sure. Has merit? Tons.
So hate it or love it, take it or leave it, Wicked Chops Poker will be watching the 2006 World Cup with fervor over the next couple weeks, as it leads up nicely to the 2006 World Series of Poker. Unlike the aforementioned Beans, who was born in Britain, we'll be rooting for the good ole USA all the way, and we'll soon even make a prediction on who will take the Cup (not the USA, likely Germany, maybe England, official prediction still to come). Finally, as a service to you, but in no way servicing you, Wicked Chops Poker will continue to scour the so-called "Internet" for hot chicks with soccer balls. Because, barring the few Clags who venture to this site, we're all on the same team when it comes to hot chicks with soccer balls.