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OK, so billions of fans can’t be wrong. The game two Central American went to war over is the most popular team sport in the world, by far. It will be, however, a hard sell to get me to watch another Soccer game after the World Cup Final just past.

I sort of saw it as a duty to watch because our friend Rob Simon, a Netherlander, so badly wanted the country of his birth to win. Whenever Holland is in a big televised game, Rob and his Dad, who lives there, spend the entire time on the phone, watching it together so to speak. Wendy and I also thought we should watch because it is such a big deal even in the United States and Canada.

If I had just arrived from Mars witnessing this game for the first time, here are a couple of questions and observations I would likely make.

·       Why does every player who is nudged fall to the ground, arms around one knee obviously in excruciating pain, until a guy in another uniform than those of the players, waves a card whereupon the injured man leaps to his feet and runs off to join his teammates?

·       When someone bumps into a player from the opposite team, why does he get a Yellow card?

·        Isn’t the game awfully slow? Wouldn’t it be better if the field were half the size with only six players on each side?

·       Why do the announcers speak such puerile trash throughout the game? The only one that made any sense to me was the American and they’re not supposed to care about soccer.

·       Doesn’t anyone ever score a goal?

·       Why, when that rare goal does happen, it’s always when you’re in the loo having a whiz, or getting a beer from the fridge?

·       Why does the loner in the blue suit always stop the play just when it looks like something might happen?

·       Forgive the inelegance, but are all the players gay who have foreplay with one another whenever a goal is in fact scored? I mean they hug and kiss, rub each others hair leaving one the impression of a multi partnered love-in due to happen right after the game. Hell, there may be a couple of “straights” on that field; they must be praying that their side doesn’t score!

As I watched yesterday I was fascinated to learn that the referee adds to the time played, any time that play was stopped. Hockey insists upon the full time allotted being played but they use a device going back to the middle ages to take time out when appropriate – it’s called a watch and for many moons now there have been watches that you can stop when the whistle blows indicate a time out and start it again when play starts again.

I found yesterday’s tepid contest right up there with curling and watching paint dry for excitement.

I heard someone bemoaning that it didn’t all happen again for another four years while I found myself saying, “thank God for small mercies”.

One Response to “From Rafe’s desk: World Cup”

  1. Jeff Taylor says:

    Soccer is as popular around the world mainly because it costs basically nothing to play it. With so many people around the world poor or at best lower middle-class, there’s the answer.

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