I’m finally beginning to understand what all the fuss is, about the World Cup. Here in the United States, where it takes a team of Clydesdales and a professional athlete with a pending felony charge to get a football game rolling, we don’t appreciate the fact that every other country in the world is up to their ankles in a sport where a forward pass takes place at a level where feet are more important that fingers and there is something more spectacular to see than girls with extended ribcages and multicolored pompoms.
And all along I thought the World Cup was half of a really big bra.
In America, when we’re still yelling at our kids, “Don’t grind the crumbs into the carpet with your foot. Pick that up with your hands,” international mamas are saying, "How are you going to dribble if you can't even kick your sister?"
I don’t think these World Cup guys started as babies discovering their fingers. Once they got their toes in hand, they were ready to play. These guys learn to use their feet for fancy ball work better than many of my relatives use cutlery at the family reunion. That’s why we have mostly finger foods; Cousin Earl is still puzzled by the spork.
I don’t want to toot my own vuvuzela here, but my kids have played soccer since they were so small their shin guards doubled as a protective cup. (The vuvuzela is horn that produces an obnoxious noise in support of the obnoxious behavior on the field or in the row behind you. We have something like that in America, too. We call them “Yankee’s fans.”)
Son Two opted out of soccer when he realized that games competed with Ninja Turtles time on Saturday morning (after all, Michaelangelo was a Party Dude), but Son One played until he stretched the envelope of the age limit far enough to require extra postage. Rules state that once you’re old enough to serve in Congress, you can’t play AYSO soccer.
When my kids first started soccer they spent more time chasing the ball into the woods than kicking it into the net. I’ve never seen World Cup play halted for a parent to dash onto the field to tie somebody’s shoe. Son One took his job seriously as a ninja goalie and didn’t allow me on the field even when he was six, but I don't mind admitting that the time he tied his shoe to the string in his pants was a show stopper.
Team USA is out of the competition for this year, but their inspiring play brought the game to our attention like never before. Americans have a dedicated mindset when in comes to sports and I’m sure they will use the four years between now and the next World Cup competition boning up on the rules, finding out more about their favorite players, and planning ways to make a profit by selling bobblehead dolls. After all, the way to our hearts takes a direct path through our wallets.
I hope they never have the games in this country, though. After watching the SuperBowl commercials, I'm convinced that if the World Cup took place in the United States, someone in advertising would try to supersize it and add fries.