Ol’Jack is just getting over a rather serious case of “futbol” fever, but the prognosis is good and I think I’ll fully recover. This means that I probably won’t watch another game until the next World Cup, which will be held in Russia of all places. I guess the Winter Olympics were a bigger success than I thought.
Since my lovely wife and I are from the States, we’re fans of what’s called in these parts “American football.” Personally, I think we have the names all wrong. The American game should be called soccer—you know, socko! Rock’em and sock’em—and then leave football to the feet of the rest of the world, because in America’s favorite sport the foot seldom touches the ball and mostly in a defensive manner, like punting the ball away. Even when a field goal is attempted, it’s because the team failed to score a touchdown.
I do have to admit that it got exciting especially when the U.S. still had a chance and then Costa Rica. If they can do it, then Panama can do it. Most of my Panamanian friends still aren’t over the Mexico game during qualifying and don’t even mention the U.S. game.
The World Cup is a heck of a tournament though, with as many as a billion people watching the televised championship game all around the world. Those numbers make the Super Bowl seem like a rerun of “Desperate Housewives” in comparison.
That doesn’t mean that I’ve become a football or futbol or fooootball fan. For one thing there’s not enough scoring, and about half the time it seems accidental, with the ball glancing off some guy’s shin or bouncing off a random face and into the net for a GOOOOOOAALLLL! Oh, please, stop. Mostly the game is a series of frustrations as an attempted kick soars over the bar and into the cheap seats or dribbles weakly into the goalie’s lap. “Oh no, another missed opportunity!” I can only stand so many. Then I start complaining: “Stop kicking it back to your own goalie and try kicking it toward the opposing keeper,” just a suggestion.
There are just too many cultural differences. American guys are never going to say that the score is “nil/nil.” We’re always going to say “zero/zero” or more to the point “nothing/nothing.” And that is the point—until one of the teams score, you got nothing and all too often that is what you still have after regulation time, nothing to show for all that running back and forth.
Then talk about frustration—after another half hour of “nada,” how do you like to lose on free kicks? For me, (and you know this is coming), I’m in favor of sudden death which will eventually occur when somebody finally scores.