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Soccer, known to the rest of the world as football, is claimed to be the most popular sport on Earth but to me and so many others here in the U.S. it’s also the most boring. Despite efforts over the years to get us excited about it, including all the hype associated with the signing of megastar David Beckham, professional soccer just hasn’t caught on and I doubt if it ever will. All of or sports require hand-eye coordination, even including ice hockey since the stick is nothing more than an extension of the arm. Soccer’s prohibition against the use of hands is foreign, in origin as well as in practice.
Don’t get me wrong for it surely requires athletic ability, stamina, talent, and years of training to become a good soccer player and I’m sure the competition is a lot of fun, but to sit in the stands and watch a bunch of guys run around, seemingly haphazardly, for 90 minutes only to end up scoring just one or two goals is beyond my endurance. They probably have set scoring or defensive plays but I cannot discern them so to me it’s merely organized chaos.
It isn’t as though I haven’t tried being a spectator since one of my grandsons played soccer from the time he was old enough to join a kid’s team, and I went to cheer him on at dozens of his games over the years including the ones played when on his high school’s team. It was fun to observe his progress as he grew and of course I watched with rapt attention when he was on the field, proudly cheering every time he made a good defensive play or scored a goal, but truth be known I was always glad when the ordeal was over. To help maintain interest I’d usually bring a camera along and take loads of pictures of the boy since just sitting and watching, especially when he was on the sidelines, would have been cruel and unendurable punishment.
What brings this to mind of course is the 2014 World Cup Soccer tournament currently going on in Brazil. I have no interest in which country’s team is winning or losing, only being glad that the games are televised only on ESPN so they don’t interfere with my normal TV viewing. Speaking of the World Cup, I actually attended one game of the FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) World Cup Soccer tournament when held here at Foxboro, MA in 1994, and a horrible experience it was.
At that time, one of our major customers was a corporate sponsor of the event and as such had tickets to the games so a group of us were asked to attend a match. I didn’t want to go but how could I refuse the invitation without giving offense so I reluctantly went along for good will. Not only was I disinterested in the game but had to sit under a blazing sun while attired in a business suit, white shirt, and tie. Naturally I had no hat for protection so I’ve always considered my survival that day a minor miracle for not having died of sun stroke or heat prostration. Not having any idea or concern as to who was participating let alone the game’s outcome, I couldn’t wait for the torment to end, only wanting to get out of that hell hole so I could go home to remove my sweat-drenched clothes and jump under a cold shower.
The one and only highlight of the event however was the fact that our seats were directly in front of President George Bush Sr., accompanied by several of his grandkids. Of course all the seats within their immediate proximity were empty and Secret Service men surrounded the group for protection, but other than that experience the affair was a total disaster. Who says you shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth?