Sunday, July 2, 2006

Worldcup Observations

Ok, I must preface this post. I know absolutly nothing about soccer, other than you don't use your hands. So I am commenting on this from a level of complete ignorance. My daughter will be playing soccer this summer in her very first attempt at team sports. I have nothing against the sport. I just don't understand it at all. Several reasons for this. I was born in 1969 and raised in Texas. Football rules the roost here. Of course I was too small for it when I started, I lasted one season. My sport was baseball. Soccer was something we would see on the Mexican UHF channels. Now there are just as many soccer goals as there are football uprights and baseball backstops in the local parks. Soccer moms seemed to be all the rage in the 90's. I remember Mia Hamm running around without a shirt on and now I am about to become a soccer dad. So lately I have actually been paying more attention to the game than I ever did before. It's like when you buy a new car and all of a sudden you notice there are thousands of the same kind of car you just bought. Sorry I am digressing.

I thought I would share a few of the World cup related things I have seen and thought of in the last few weeks.

It started with the hooligans. It seems that each country has a set of rabid followers. Sort of like our fans who paint their faces and bellies. The difference is that these guys line up at opposing pubs, drink beer all day and then proceed to beat the crap out of each other after the game along with the local cops. The German police force arrested about a hundred Polish Hooligans.

The next thing I remember drifting in and out of my conciousness was Iran verses Mexico. I was happy Iran was defeated. I only hope the team wasn't shot for losing. Shades of what Saddam did to his Olympic team when they came home empty handed.

This morning I was listening to National Public Radio on the way to church. They were reporting on Brazil's defeat to France. Evidently Brazil was devastated they didn't win the cup six years in a row. C'mon even the Steelers didn't win the superbowl that many times consecutively. I have a friend who from Brazil who works at our local Starbucks. It was my understanding she didn't get out of bed today in order to mourn. Anyway the reporter went on to describe how a "highly decorated" French (I don't remember his name) player deftly shredded the Brazillian defense. I didn't know European sports stars were awarded medals. Can you imagine Brett Favre given a bronze star for dodging a sack?

The next report they carried on NPR was one of those morning edition reports on a town in Africa. (I forget the country or the name of the city.) Anyway they were speaking about brown outs in the obviously poor city. In their usually descriptive manner they described the deep pot holes and lack of infrastructure. How the men would gather in the streets and watch the game on tv's powered by generators in local shops. Alas, they could only watch the game as the generators were so loud you could not here the commentary. To me the reporter seemed to think this was so charming, idyllic. One of the locals was saying how great it was to be able to watch the game, to forget the troubles of the day. Of course at this moment half a world away I turned off my car and walked into Starbucks. Thinking at the time "what's so noble about poverty." I planned to comment on how crappy it seemed that NPR was glamorizing how poor this country was.

It comes to me now. Just as I finished the previous line. Why do we let this happen? Why do we as a nation allow such poverty. As a christian I am told to help people in need. Jesus asks "Did you feed me when I was hungry? Did you clothe me when I was naked? So how do I accomplish this? I honestly don't know. Oh I can donate to the Red Cross, Salvation Army or any number of charitable organizations. I serve at my church but how do we fix it? I need to do a whole other post on this. I have so many things rolling around inside my head right now. I meant for this to be a light hearted post on an American's goofy thoughts on soccer. I will post this out tonight but not on this one.


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