The Monday Morning Punter, as you may know, is in reference to one of the only two occasions where the foot actually touches the ball in the misnomer that is American Football. But for this month, picture the MMP like a bad-ass goalie as he launches the ball like a freakin’ mortar across the huge field – Tim Howard will do fine for this mental exercise. Yeah, I’m pretty into the World Cup.
Now I hardly know shit about soccer; never played the game, but greatly admire it from afar. My sports were Football and Basketball. And it is my familiarity with these two sports that always gave me an appreciation for the tremendous athleticism required to play Soccer; what it takes to run back and forth like a Basketball player on a field slightly wider than a Football gridiron. But it’s not all about just running. These cats have some hops, the way they get up there to head that ball, and balls, the way they risk those heads. (I couldn’t play Soccer, because I’d be too busy screaming in a high pitched voice, “Not in the face!”) The agility on display in this game is incredible, as the players weave themselves and the ball through a gauntlet of adversaries. And I find it fascinating the way all these body parts are flying around and firing out, everything but the arms and hands. It is all beautifully spastic. And this all leads to some real rough moments and some pretty gruesome injuries. Soccer players are kind of bad-asses, expect for when they flop about like Vlade Divac or Manu Ginobli (it’s probably not a coincidence that some of the NBA’s best all-time floppers hail from countries where Soccer is big.)
Another big reason for my appreciation for Soccer is that lots of my friends not only played and play the game, but are really good at it; back in the day they won a lot of games . At Masuk High School, my alma mater, the Panthers were a force to be reckoned with, as we dominated southeastern Connecticut, and were in the mix for States. Big Ups to my boys – Kenyon, Jeff, Dave, Lex, Chris, Tony, among others – who anchored those great Masuk teams of the mid 90s, from the time they were freshman or sophomores. My college friends had mad success too: Nasty Nate, Jimmy, and Prah kicked ass in central PA for the Mifflinburg Wildcats; and the twins, Ben and Dan, brought home a New Jersey State Championship for Princeton High School.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not following club teams, nor do I have a favorite MLS squad. This little crush only comes around every four years. I’ll never be full-time Soccer fan because, like most Americans, I simply don’t have any more room in my life for another sport. I have a hard enough time keeping up with the ones I already follow, especially since the NFL pretty much has a hold of at least a little of my attention all twelve months of the year now. It’s just like the Olympics: most people dig the Swimming and Snowboarding and Track & Field, but they are not following the box scores after The Games.
So I am gonna enjoy this spectacle that is the entire world coming together, and going bananas over The World’s Game. The sights of the flags and crazy, colorful costumes, combined with the sounds of singing and, mostly, vuvuzelas (more on those in a bit), are all truly something to behold. And finally, you have gotta love our own country galvanizing behind our Boys in Blue, as they try to kick the world apart. U-S-A!!! U-S-A!!!
Here a few other thoughts regarding the 2010 World Cup:
Far-Right Poltical Reaction –
It figures that certain far-right bloggers and commentators would get their myopic, xenophobic, moronic panties in a bunch over the inherent “Anti-Americanism” of Soccer. What a bunch of jerk-offs. These asshole see “Anti-Americanism” under their beds every night and in their Cheerios every morning.
New York City –
I was living down in the West Village back in the summer of 2002, when the World Cup took place, and was amazed and delighted by how often you would pass by a random bar packed full of people repping some nation, and cheering their squad in full throat at 9:30 on a weekday morning. The crock-pot of cultures that is NYC has to be one of the most exciting places to be during the World Cup.
The Vuvuzelas –
By now everyone has heard about the plastic buzzing horns, also known as Vuvuzelas, that sound like gigantic kazoos, and created the sensation of being inside a bee’s nest. They’ve been the talk of the tournament not related to the play on the field. Most people seem to hate them, finding the sound very annoying. Me, I don’t really mind them all that much. For one, I’ve always been partial to droning sounds: I can easily sleep to the sounds of AC units, traffic, fans, and the like. I’ve already has a nice little power-nap during the middle of one game; I of course didn’t miss any scoring.
But the biggest reason I dig the vuvuzelas is because of how much they seems to be pissing everyone off, specifically the powers that be like the players and commentators. But that’s just the rascal in me. “Waaaagh, the buzzing is bothering me!” Shut the fuck up and do your job, Soft Serve.
Weezer’s Un-Offical, Official USA Soccer Anthem –
Weezer front-man, and Harvard-grad, Rivers Cuomo is apparently a huge soccer fan, so much so that the following song is the second written specifically in honor of the US team, and its pursuit of our nation’s first World Cup. Idon’t know about the last song from 2006, but this one rocks! This is quintessential Weezer, blasting the power chords as they get us fired up for an improbable run at The Cup. So enjoy this bitchin’ song and video, “Represent.” If you really dig it, I’m pretty sure it can be had for free on iTunes until this Friday.
For whom The Bell tolls? It tolls for thee, Slovenia, 10 o’clock est, Friday morning. Keep talkin shit, and you’ll catch it but good you little punks! U-S-A!!! U-S-A!!! U-S-muthafuckin’-A!!!!