Sunday, July 11, 2010

Two Worlds, One Cup - Volume III

Thanks again for reading. Welcome to the final Volume of the World Cup writings. In case you missed Volume I & II, you can read that as well as all my blogs at (all the hip kids are doing it)

-- (Continued from July 9th)--

Yellow Card # 6 – Strategy ?
I’ve heard several soccer experts talk about the strategy that played into a 1-1 tie. What strategy are we referring to here? Do your best to not kick the ball into the net? It’s like herding cats out there… you’re going to sit there and tell me there is one iota of strategy out on that field? I could put an Emu and an Ocelot out on the field and let them run wild and it would look more organized. Can’t we all get in agreement that strategy in soccer is a lot like a youngster at an Easter Egg hunt – a lot of running around and hoping for the best?

Yellow Card # 7 - Penalty Kicks
So I’ve already gone over the amazing difficulties when it comes to scoring goals, but then a penalty kick is rewarded to a Nancy Boy who gets lightly tapped and knocked down close to the goal, thus completely cheapening the goal. For those who haven’t witnessed this ridiculous freebie, the ball is placed mere yards away from the goalie who has a blink of an eyelash to determine which way the kicker is shooting. This is like starting Viking’s Running Back Adrian Petersen on the five yard line and asking him to get across the goal-line with Pete, the captain of his 3rd grade chess club in his way. I could make 99 out of a 100 penalty kicks and the last time I played soccer was 1986. You basically have a better chance of catching a bullet with your butt cheeks than to stop one of these penalty shots, yet somehow professional players still find a way to kick the ball over the goal and miss completely.

Yellow Card #8 – Injuries
If you wanted to see a comparison to the amount of whining that takes place during a soccer match, you could probably head down to your local daycare where about twenty youngsters are playing, tauntingly parade the largest lollipop you can find in front of their faces and, when they least expect it, turn and sprint out the door. This is what it’s like to watch a soccer match. Does the coach of the team go out and find as many sissies in the neighborhood as possible then teach them the sport? Be a grown man for Christ’s sake. I’m sorry did that bad man kick you? You’re wearing shin guards! Get over it. If, in the very rare circumstance, there is in fact a real injury (for these guys like a hangnail for example), what is the signal to the trainer that says, “hey bozo, I did actually split my ulna in two. Can someone get out here?” These guys cry wolf so frequently, how do they know when someone is actually hurt? Is it a hand signal or something to sidelines, or do they just look for a waterfall of blood, a dangling ligament or a decapitation so they know for sure? If we took the same approach as they do in horse racing we wouldn’t have that problem the next time a player goes down holding his ankle. “You think you’re leg is broke Pele? Off to the glue factory for you.” Trust me, he'd get up right away when the trainer rushes out with a semi-automatic weapon and a bottle of Elmers…

With all this said, believe it or not, I do really enjoy watching these World Cup games. There are some positives to the sport, like for example headers. It is unfathomable how these guys had head the ball accurately. Have you ever taken a soccer ball to the head? It is not comfortable to say the least. I think the last time I did, I saw stars for about five minutes and I'm pretty sure it rendered me unconscious. And the endurance of these players is really amazing too. Watching TV on the couch for 90 minutes can sometimes be exhausting, yet these guys are in full sprint for that time. Ok, so the game isn’t as bad as it seems. With that said…

Go Orange! Enjoy the finals, and thanks for reading…


Friday, July 9, 2010

Two Worlds, One Cup - Volume II

Thanks again for reading. In case you missed Volume I, you can read that as well as all my blogs at (all the hip kids are doing it)

-- (Continued from July 8th)--

Yellow Card # 3 – Offside
I figure offsides is just another attempt by the sport to prevent the one thing that would make the game watchable… Goals. This asinine rule requires a defender to be in between the ball dribbler and the opposing net, even though some eccentric rebel-outcast, wearing an ostentatious neon-yellow shirt, who responds to the handle “Goal-Keeper,” is standing in the center of the goal - right between the ball dribbler and the net. If this rule was instituted in football, Larry Fitzgerald would have to stop running as soon as he accelerated past the strong safety en route to the End zone, giving a defender absolutely no reason to stop a player who gets by him. I mean, why stop at just offsides? How about if a player is able to dribble the soccer ball for at least five yards, Godzilla comes out of the crowd and swallows the player whole? I’m all about 110% or not at all. Let’s just make it absolutely impossible for anyone to score. Why don’t we adjust the size of the goal to the size of an acorn while we’re at it.

Yellow Card # 4 – The Zebra
There are leaders of small countries with less power and control than a referee in a soccer game. Referees are mere mortals, not Egyptian Gods with absolute rule of the land, so why are they given the authority to significantly affect the outcome of the game? The head referee covers a field that is roughly 120 yards by 80 yards. This provides enough space for the entire population of Uruguay to fit inside comfortably, so I do revel in the fact that these guys are in tremendous shape, however a Cheetah could cover just as much ground with the same officiating results. This aspect makes soccer the only sport that could be officiated more effectively from my parent’s basement while in my underwear than from the field itself. With no instant replay, official game clock, or accountability for anything, a novice in his or her undergarments 9,000 miles away can do a better job calling a game. This could work for other sports too, but I certainly wouldn’t want John McEnroe yelling at me even through a Skype connection…

Yellow Card #4A – Extra Time?
Just when we think the referee controls all that they can in the game, we’ve given them power to add extra time or “injury time,” as they call it, onto the end of the game. Lest we not forget no player actually gets injured in soccer (see tomorrow’s blog, card #8, 2nd verse, line 11), they only whine about it, so why do we need to add time onto the end? Or, even more importantly, we have something called electricity now, which can effectively start and stop the game clock if there are actual injuries. (Thanks Thomas Edison!) I know it puts the official scorekeeper in quite the tizzy to have to press a button to stop the clock, and then perform yet another daunting task when play resumes having to press that button again. Can we maybe try it just once, instead of the incongruous estimates kept mostly by the head ref on his Casio?

Instead a country’s fate relies on about the same ballpark guess as to how long one should cook their chicken quesadilla. “Johnson how much injury time?” “Er, let’s see, carry the one, add the beans…give it another few minutes, make sure its brown on the bottom…” “Johnson, I meant the game…” “Oh…yeah a few minutes sounds about right for that too, why not?… Ok, to be honest I have no clue…”

This reminds me of when I used to play tackle football against myself when I was six (yes, I didn’t get out much). Sure the Browns may have kicked a game winning field goal with time running out to defeat New York, but I was the one who controlled both sides and was tackling myself. (Again, didn’t get out much). Isn’t that what a ref is doing…? “Hmm… Hold on… Let’s see if Nigeria can slip one in here, er, give it a few more minutes…”

Yellow Card # 5 Power kicks over goal
This has got to be one of the most frustrating parts of the game. A skilled professional, someone the very best in their sport, can still blow a wide open shot on goal… and they often do. The problem is, the opportunities are so few and far between, they are likely in complete shock they have a chance to score and end up blasting the ball not only just over the goal, but way over and into the stands, when all they had to do is finesse it past the goalkeeper. It is like waiting your whole life to sleep with Carmen Elektra, and then right at the opportune moment your zipper is stuck…

Son of a…

Check back tomorrow for the finale of this series... you can read all blogs and subscribe to the subscription list at :

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Two Worlds, One Cup - Volume I

Welcome to another edition of the blog. If you're still reading at this part, you've gotten further than most, and if you continue reading you will be treated to the first part of this three part musing leading up to the 2010 World Cup Finale. If you're reading on Facebook, you can read all my blogs at , but ultimately all this means is that you're wasting valuble time that you could be using to Facestalk, tweet your BFF, or possibly get in some quality sexting on your Iphone...And now to the write up...

FOR most Soccer enthusiasts, the start of the World Cup after waiting four excruciating years, is a jovial beginning of sportacular bliss, but for others it feels like that intoxicated hook-up one calls every six months that nine out of ten relationship therapists suggest you probably shouldn’t; sure you have a great time with her after a few too many, but the next day you sneak her out the back and spend the afternoon trying to convince your roommates you went to bed early, yet all they heard all night was what sounded like a dying, or at the very least, a wounded manatee screaming in agony coming from your room. (Or just choose an entirely different analogy that is less despicable and flippant that works for you…). This is how I feel about soccer ; every four years, I can’t get enough of it, but if I had to watch it on a regular basis, I may have to erase “Blue Shirt Girl, Tavern Bar,” out of my phone completely.

now, now, it's not you it's me...

Watching a World Cup game is like having a bad case of explosive diarrhea and you are exasperatingly pacing outside a bathroom awaiting your turn, but the bathroom’s inhabitant keeps jiggling the door as if he is coming out, but never does. (Or, again another more appropriate analogy…) You’re constantly on the edge of your seat, tension is building, and just when you think something is going to happen, nothing does, the game ends in a tie and you’ve just soiled your pants.

Since I only watch only every four years, I have been willing to sit and take it like a penalty kick to the rear, but if I’m going to suffer through a 90-minute contest that ends in a freakin’ tie, then I think I deserve to throw up a few yellow cards…

Yellow Card # 1 - Vuvuzela Horns

This year’s World Cup at least has hit one milestone – it is the first World Cup that a beekeeper and soccer fan can finally combine their two loves into one blissful-matrimony. If anyone reading has heard these horns, you would know that If a blind man sat down to listen to a game, he would probably run for his life in fear of attack since these horns sound exactly like a swarm of ferocious yellow jackets. In America we have an occasional cheer, yell or drunken idiot screaming “Jeter Sucks,” but at least they give it a rest after a couple taunts. Who has the lung capacity to keep these horns going for an entire ninety minutes – a Grey Whale? I recently blew up a small beach ball and nearly passed out afterwards due to oxygen loss. Shouldn’t these horn blowing-buffoons be using their breath-holding talents for something more productive, like saving drowning children in one-hundred feet of water… Like…on Jupiter? If you go online, there are German computer programmers who have figured out a way to filter the buzz from your TV broadcasts, so you can actually hear the announcers call the game, using a high scope band stop filter which removes the frequencies which will work on a computer with a sound card with low latency... Seriously? This is what they’re wasting their time on? What these crafty Hasselhoff-loving engineers didn’t realize, was that most soccer fans under the fear of an impending killer wasp attack, are not exactly the savviest at reading directions, and probably went insane before even managing to turn on their PC’s. Here is just a minor suggestion – stop blowing the blasted horns!

Darn-it Sheila, I knew we should have just gone to Applebys

Yellow Card #2 - Scoreless Ties

The ties I get. 1-1. 2-2. 3-3, fine - but a scoreless tie? A fan pays $100, sits and watches ninety minutes of soccer, witnesses absolutely zero goals, and then the games ends, without either team accomplishing the one and only point of the game – scoring a goal. Basically, if the players never set foot on the field, the same conclusion could have been drawn. What exactly do you talk about after the game with your buddies? “Wow those were some great sideline throw-ins – who am I kidding, gosh darn it Rico, we got screwed…”

Yellow Card #2A Blowouts

I have no idea what constitutes a blowout in soccer but I do know that Portugal beat North Korea 7-0 in Group stage. This is probably the equivalent of winning a baseball game 114-0.

* Check back for Part II of this riveting saga tomorrow, and for the record no manatees were harmed during the writing of this blog. Blue shirt girl, is merely a figment of one's imagination, like a sasquatch, yeti, or the credulous belief, that one can walk into Taco Bell and place an order without an interpreter...