Sunday, July 02, 2006

No Hands


I don’t know much about soccer, heretofore referred to as futbol, but I can get into any sport as a great event. Like, I don’t really watch the NBA, but come playoffs I'm picking my teams to win it all. Same goes for baseball too. And though I’m not the biggest football fan, I am a San Francisco native and did grow up during the mighty dynasty of the 49ers, so I try to watch some of their games for support, and always hope that they win the superbowl. But other than that, I’m pretty “meh” about competitive sports. Hockey bores me. Boxing is too brutal. And unless you catch me in a particularly curious mind, golf and tennis might as well be like listening to a senate hearing on audio cassette.

But I tell you, during this world cup, I haven’t missed a match.

Its not like I’m suddenly a jock or, to be more rousing and dangerous, a hooligan. No, I leave those duties up to L-pompom, who relishes in the role. (Come the playoffs of ANY sport, this woman is on the couch eyes wider than wide, ignoring the world, screaming at the television set, demanding another beer ASAP]. It’s just that there seems to be a grander scheme at work when its countries playing other countries. There is pride at stake. Loyalty at stake. There are a million different sets of eyes all looking into the sky and praying that their team wins. It’s almost overwhelming. You can feel an entire hemisphere weep when their team is eliminated. You sense the tides rise from an elation felt across the oceans when another team advances. There is a great spirit in the world cup. It still baffles me that it’s taken so long for America to receive it.

Not to say I’m suddenly an expert, or even been down from the get go. Shit I’m fairly new to this myself. Still…

I’ll admit, I had a bit of preparation. I have some relatives in Virginia, two cousins. 18 and 12. Both are avid futbal fans. They hipped me to the standings in the premiership [top three rotates between Manchester United, Arsenal, and Chelsea.] and tipped me off to the player to watch: Thierry Henry (AKA ON-ree!). According to them, the best player, or at least most exciting, in the world.

I couldn’t pick the team he was on though, not just because they liked him. I had to make a firm decision on which squad I would support on my own. I had to have a team to follow and look after. I wanted to captain my own ship, and I was ready to go down with it. I wanted my faith to be authentic, not borrowed.

So I went by the country that had, in my opinion, the best literary output. This meant my choices to be in the finals were USA and France. Then in the semis the two aforementioned teams plus England and Columbia. The round of 16 should include Ireland, Russia, Scotland, then maybe Germany and Spain and whoever the fuck else. Maybe Italy. Maybe Mexico. Whatever.

I went for all the African teams too, but knew it would have set me up for sure heartache were I to commit to supporting them, so I just rooted when they played and sighed when they lost and got on with the rest of it, letting the past be the past.

I wanted Brazil to win but only because I have a tender spot for their women. That’s an entirely different sport though…

And well wouldn’t you have it. Not only did France advance to the semi’s, beating Brazil in a shocker, but the great Thierry Henry is part of their squad, The USA, as assumed, didn’t even get to the round of 16. England lost in a nail biter to Portugal, who I don’t really care about at all. I don’t even know if Columbia, Ireland, or Russia made it in the tournament. And does Scotland even have a team?

So it hinges on France now. GOOOOOOO Camus!

On a side note, according to a conversation I had earlier with someone that just returned from the world cup, there is a huge wave of German national pride that swells in a colossal roar whenever the team gets on the field. This would be expected, seeing as how the cup is being hosted by Germany, but underlining their celebration are faint hints of the last time the Germans embraced nationalism, which stings the hearts of the liberal leaning population of the country. It conjures up images of past eras, where national pride in Germany equaled an unqualified sense of supremacy. I guess I can understand that. The shame that is. Some sores take generations to heal.

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I stumbled across this interesting blog written by a clever waiter. I'm not the first though, considering the amount of comments he gets. Hey, do you like Star Wars? Well then you will LOVE this. And these interesting bits of trivia will surely add a deft edge to your end of the conversation at the next dinner party you attend. Oh, check out this interview with Jamie Lidell on D*I*R*T*Y digital culture, and peep their mix page too, there's some definite heat to burn up your eardrums.

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:gray matters: by jkg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at downtownalleys.blogspot.com.