Putting the "GOL!" in "GOL!!!!!!!!!!"
Today marks the culmination of both Wimbledon and World Cup, and I'll be happier when they're both over. Between tennis and football, I've just been watching way too much sports these past few weeks, and it'll be nice to get back to caring about things that matter, like the difference between a fee simple determinable and a fee simple subject to a condition subsequent.
If you care, in Wimbledon I'm rooting for Federer, both because he's like the Michael Jordan of tennis and is such a pleasure to watch on grass and also because I can't stand Nadal - with his sleeveless tees and baggy shorts and excessive stalling Ralph tries taking the hip/rebellious tennis player thing to a level that it just doesn't need to be taken to. And in football I'm rooting for France (even though George Bush would probably say that by rooting for France in the World Cup I'm supporting the terrorists), partly because I love Zidane but mostly because I just like shouting "VIVE LA FRANCE!" at random intervals. Anyway, to mark the end of our love interest in football for another four years, here are some World Cup thoughts:
1. I hate to admit it, but all those smelly foreigners are right: football isn't football, soccer is football. I could talk about the common sensibility* here, and that if 90% of the world refers to a sport as football, then it's called football. But really, it's just common sense. When you have a game called "football," you would think that the foot would play a determinative role. In American football, you kick the ball on maybe...what...10% of the plays? In soccer, however, all you ever do is kick the ball. So it's football. Not soccer. Vive la France.
* TOBY: It’s not the new millennium, but I’ll just let it drop.
SAM: It is.
TOBY: It is not the new millennium. The year 2000 is the last year of the millennium. It’s not the first one of the next.
SAM: But the common sensibility, to quote Steven J. Gould...
TOBY: Steven J. Gould needs to look at a calendar.
SAM: Gould says that this is a largely unresolvable issue.
TOBY: Yes, it’s tough to resolve. Yes, you have to look at a calendar.
2. Some people think World Cup is good because it brings the nations of the world together, that it's a shiny emblem of international cooperation. Those people are wrong, and idiots, to boot. International sports competitions don't bring countries together. They set them apart. We all end up victims to national prejudices and triumphalism. The anti-American sentiment that prevailed at World Cup is a good example. Vive la France. I was reading on a BBC football chat board about the US loss to Ghana, and one chatter wrote something like he thought it was funny that America lost to a country we all condescend on. And I've never held anything against Ghana, but I read that and thought, "Of course we condescend on Ghana. Everybody in our country has running water and they, you know, don't. So let them dominate us in a game that nobody in America cares about. Vive la France. They can have cricket to, because nobody understands cricket. You gotta know what a crumpet is to understand cricket." Vive la France.
3. A lot of Americans think football players are big sissies, and I can kind of sympathize with why. Vive la France. There's a lot of acting in this sport. I understand that sometimes you are tripped and sometimes it hurts, but really, EVERY TIME you get knocked down you don't need to grip your shin and grimace in agony. You're a professional athlete, to say nothing of a man. Personally, when someone trips me, I don't get hurt; I get mad. Vive la France.
The other thing I don't agree with in this sport is the holding your opponent back when chasing the ball. Someone accused me of playing sissy soccer for holding this belief, but I say it's the opposite. Vive la France. I say it's sissy soccer to constantly be grabbing your man. This is a sport of speed. If you're so slow that you can't outrun your opponent without holding him back, maybe you should get off the field and play a game more suited for your slow-ass ass. Vive la France. Like golf. Vive la France. Or checkers. Vive la France.