Thursday, June 15, 2006


As of the writing of this blog entry, 43 goals have been scored at the World Cup. I was sad for the U.S. team and their disappointing opening 0-3 loss against the Czech Republic but have high hopes that they can come back when they play tomorrow. Brazil is my favorite to win the whole thing. I love that announcer who screams G-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-A-L.

So, what do I know about the rules of engagement in a professional soccer game? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. I think there are 2, maybe 3, 45 minute periods. I know each team has a goalie. I know there are such things as penalty kicks. And that about sums up what I know about soccer.

But I won’t let that get in the way of my ardent cheering for Team U.S.A. and my tracking of the World Cup standings. Because I. Love. Sports. Specific to this blog entry, I love international competition, no matter what the sport. I’ll save football for a later entry because today it’s about the international games, be it soccer or hockey or gymnastics or ice skating or track and field or tennis or bicycling or skiing. Especially if it’s a “big event” like the World Cup or the Tour de France or the French Open – I’m there with the ferver and the dedication of a life-long enthusiast.

The grand dame of them all – the Olympics - ought to be declared a national holiday so that we can watch minute by minute coverage 24/7.

Even the more obscure sports totally rock – curling, luge, fencing, wrestling, swimming, horse racing – I can get behind them all, especially when it’s one country against the other.

The drama. The suspence. The unexpected. The rivalry. It’s great stuff. I believe man is wired to compete – probably has something to do with the survival of the fittest, only the strong survive, power equals dominance, must clain the other guy’s turf and all of that other evolutionary, psychological stuff. Sports provides a battle ground and men (and women) compete to be the best. To win the war. To claim the prize. To be the top dog.

At the same time, sports can represent the best of who we are, honoring discipline and commitment and team spirit and overcoming the odds. Nothing can move me to tears faster than a poignant sports moment. I might have never before heard of that event where cross country skiers stop and shoot at targets but, man, I was rooting like a crazed person for that Swede who was trying to make his come back after a near fatal car accident that killed his wife and kids. That day, I was that guy’s biggest fan. And he won. And I cried.

So here’s to the World Cup and to all of the fans from around the world. I hope your team does well -- but I hope our team does better. Go U.S.A.!


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