Thursday, June 24, 2010

Landon Donovan's never been on a box of Wheaties...

I really don't hate soccer...but then I also have a vested interest in the sport.

That's my teenager playing her favorite sport in the photo. She's been hard at it all week starting her day at 7-9 am conditioning drills with her new high school teammates and ending it with a 3.5 hour soccer camp around 8:30 pm.

Oh to be young again.

My daughter has been playing soccer since age 5 when the Saturday morning festivities consisted of twelve preschoolers kicking feverishly at a lone ball moving up and down the pitch in a cluster more resembling a rugby scrum than soccer. I called it 'amoeba-ball.' There were no keepers, and the goal/nets were made by Fisher-Price. We've come a long way.

Now the astute have already noted my post is starting to litter with strange, foreign-sounding words like pitch and keeper. I assure you this isn't to try to impress you with sports-specific terminology or present an air of sophistication often associated with the sport known by our Latin neighbors as futbol. I accept and acknowledge football is played on a field, basketball on a court, baseball on a diamond and soccer on a pitch. But, I came to that place kicking and screaming...if you'll pardon the pun.

The world is in a frenzy of World Cup madness today. The tournament started with 32 teams and is now down to 16. What? You're not keeping up with it? Well, you're not alone. The United States has never really embraced the sport of soccer. There was a time when soccer was the game of rich kids because it was just so much safer and less malodorous than polo. While the rest of the world's poor children used the game to briefly escape the miseries each day brought, we thumbed our noses at soccer in preference to the domestic sports of football, baseball and basketball.

That's right...the 'holy trinity' of recreational and professional sports in our country. All three games were created here, and we love to wallow in the fact each is American as Ford, Apple (i not pie) and tobacco. Sorry hockey fans. You too are on the outside looking in evidenced by trying to pronounce the names of any current NHL roster. It's just who we are in this country. If we didn't invent good could it really be?

So we watch with fake enthusiasm trying just to globally fit in with everyone else as the world celebrates the pinnacle of sporting events. The Olympics? Sorry, not even close. Over 715 million people watched the final match in the 2006 World Cup between Germany and Italy. Last years Super Bowl didn't break 100 million as a matter of comparison. Mention that fact alone in the wrong place of the US South and be prepared to rumble. Football is spelled with two o's down here and must have at least one player named Bubba (nickname, not Christian name...usually).

Yes...I know...concussion is also spelled with two o's. But that's completely different!

Well, at least it looks like the toddler is interested and apt in the All-American sport of gymnastics. Wheaties box here we come!

Greek?! Are you sure about that? But Mary Lou Retton was from West Virginia! For the love of...


David said...

Tony C is never going to be on a box of Wheaties - maybe a Christian magazine.

Thanks for enlightening me - and be careful what you say about hockey fans in Orr country! There’s a reason these teeth are crowned.

Michelle said...

Wow..I remember when she was playing the amoeba sport way back when...time has gone by WAY too fast!

Nate has been Hilarious at home with his great confusion over the sport of soccer. He doesn't understand any of the calls or the "whys" of "why did they do that?" Quite amusing since he is a major sports fanatic all the way down to table tennis. (i.e., I spent a few weeks back watching NCAA softball! ????) Soccer...his worst nightmare is for our son to play.