Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Somewhat Insensitive Thoughts on the World Cup

Random thoughts while watching the opening days of the World Cup 2010 in South Africa…..

- Does anyone actually know (or have heard of) anyone from Paraguay or Uruguay? I never hear anything about either country or even stories about people from those countries. I thought perhaps they were made up countries just for the World Cup. I even read the entire Wikipedia page on Paraguay hoping to get something interesting…..and all I found out was that it’s a land-locked country in South America with a river and all the the people live by the one city. So I was still in the camp that it was a made-up place until I saw this picture which completely changed my mind……..they’re real, and they’re spectacular.

- Enough whining about the vuvuzela horns. Honestly. Why are people so worried about the background noise during a broadcast? It’s a South African tradition, so who is to say they can’t blow their own horns if they want to? There are a ton of ridiculous US traditions at sporting events that are extremely annoying and no one tries to ban them: the rally monkey? Thunderstix? Dodger fans showing up in the 4th inning? Cubs fans preening and posing and being more aware of who is at the game than the fact that the team sucks again? All annoying traditions that aren’t going to change – just like the vuvuzela.

- I am a fan of soccer, having played it most of my life, but I absolutely hate the flopping and overdramatics of many of the teams – particularly the South American teams (the Europeans rank second in flopping). These guys are such great and tough athletes, but they act like the French when war breaks out any time a defender is within two feet of them. It’s pathetic and annoying.

- I’ve never been to South Africa (but it’s on my list), so I don’t really know what it is like there. However, judging by the ESPN presentation, I’m left to think it’s just like The Lion King. The dramatic, majestic music and continual pictures of zebras, rhinos and giraffes.

- The NY Times soccer blog is a great way to follow the games if you can’t watch them live. The amount of information during a live game in pretty impressive, keeping stats for touches by each and every player, and the heat map that shows minute-by minute where the action has been focused is awesome.

- This is another good site for all scheduling information for the World Cup to find out when the US plays again or who is playing each day. It’s also a good way to check when Team England is playing again, which is your next time to see some of the WAGs in the stands, like Abbey Clancy. By the way, they play Friday at 2:30 pm (EST), so set your DVR and hope for some shots of Clancy, Coleen Rooney or Alex Curran.

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