To be perfectly honest, the actual games are kind of secondary in my interest. Don't get me wrong, I believe soccer is one of the most physically demanding sports and the games are interesting and engaging to watch. But even after years and years of watching games of my brother's, I still don't know the positions, fouls, or understand their offsides. (Of course, I don't always know these for college b-ball either but it's still an obsession.)
My primary interest is just in the spectacle of it all, the history, the back stories. I love reading about the players, the teams, the countries. I am a sucker for a good human interest story and the harder it makes me cry the more obsessed I get. (I'm the same with the Olympics, but worse.)
A few things I've observed/learned/picked up on thus far:
- The nationality of the fans doesn't matter: when they realize they are on they Jumbotron, they will immediately devolve to the universal language of dork.
- I'm beginning to think some of the American press doesn't understand how this month of games thing works. It seems like every headline declares "Team X STUNS Team Y." (I'm looking at you, HuffPo.) There's no way every game already has a clear winner. If this were true, then there would be no point in having a month of games, now would there? Therefore, there should be more headlines that just say "Team X, 1, Team Y, 1."
- Because, of course, every game has to end with a draw. I assume it's in the World Cup guidelines? So far all the games I've been able to see have ended in a tie. But I am looking forward to shoot outs in the next round. I love a good shout out. Primarily because I love to see grown men cowering with their hands over their groins. I mean, I would assume as a professional athlete that your most precious commodity would be your feet or legs or eyes, maybe cover those. Nope? Just the groin? Ok.
- Those blasted horns wouldn't be so annoying if they were used in the vein of a cowbell or other noisemaker: to reward a good play or performance. Instead, the incessant droning is just that, an incessant droning.
- Though polls routinely prove that a terrifying number of Americans don't know the vice president's name, our country's date of independence, or what comprises the Bill of Rights, the costume choices of soccer fans and some of the insults they hurl, suggests otherwise. (I.e. Elaborate colonial costumes and references to the Revolutionary War and War of 1812 before the match with England last week.)
- Soccer players are hot. It had to be said.
I won't be purchasing a jersey or figuring out that offsides thing anytime soon, but it's something fun to occupy the days and it has been too long since I got into a sporting event without overwhelming dread and nausea. (See: North Carolina Tar Heels men's basketball, 2010)
All pictures taken from Yahoo Images.