Pale Reflections: Top 5 Things from the World Cup

12 Jul

The World Cup ended yesterday with a whimper. Don’t get me wrong it was cool to see Spain raise probably the most sought after trophy in global sports for the first time in the countries history. But it was a snooze fest.

Then again you’re talking to a pretty standard American sports fan, except that I like hockey. Weird right?  A pale kid who lives in Boston follows the NHL rather than the NBA, I’m the guy in town who didn’t care when the Lakers won and didn’t watch Lebron’s Look-At-Me hour last week.

But anyway, the World Cup was boring to most US sports fans. Why? Because it was a tactical match that required an actual level of understanding to appreciate the strategy of both teams. Basically,  ESPN has not given the American sports fans the proper futball education over the past month of World Cup coverage.The Ginger Giant (Alexi Lalas) has taught us nothing with his video game reenactments.

But that doesn’t mean I haven’t enjoyed the World Cup. In fact I believe it is worth a top 5 Letterman style, except hopefully it’ll be funny.

#5 The French – There was no single World Cup performance that more accurately embodied the spirit of their national identity than the French, they quite in a tirade that lacked commitment and resolve in the most significant world sporting event.  World Cup, or World War, it doesn’t matter much to the French they can bow out with the best of them.

#4 ESPN3 – The fact that South Africa is six hours ahead of us on the East Coast would have normally been a problem for those of us who work nine to five jobs, but with the help of the internet and a cable provider we could all keep up on the the day’s matches. The only problem is that I actually have to do work now and work.

#3 Vuvuzela’s – There was no sound quite like the cacophony of horns filling South African stadiums. It honestly has become the single most powerful women replant surpassing popped collars and Andy Dick.  The sound grew on me though and ultimately became a necessary part of watching a world cup match. I tried to watch an MLS game and it just didn’t seem right without the Vuvuzeling.  Not to sound like Dr. Sues or anything.

Just remember, never use sound weapons against animals…they’ll find a way to get you back.

#2 Martin Tyler – The British accented futball commentator was absolutely on point the whole tournament.  It was more than his superior linguistic skills, it was his honesty opinion of the events. When people dove he called them out, when the ref’s made a bad call he called it “rubbish”.

That’s all I want from my sports commentary honesty mixed with passion for and knowledge of the game. Each post the US hit in it’s must win match against Algeria, he expressed the reality of the moment saying, “agony for US supports! agony “.  The man just knows how to get me into a game that is seemingly won, in most cases, by a score of 1-0. Or one-nil for those of use trying to us our newly acquired  futball lingo.

#1 The Goal – I speak of Landan Donavan’s golden goal in injury time to beat Algeria and propel the US into the elimination round. I would go as far as to say that it’s the goal that saved the sport of soccer in America. After getting robbed against Slovenia, after one of the most exciting comebacks in sports, Donavon lifted US soccer back into contention for American sporting audiences and young athletes. Of course the MLS is somewhere just above indoor Lacrosse and somewhere below the 4th of the 4 major sports the NHL.

Now we have to wait 4 more years to get back into soccer, or we could skip that and just start getting pumped for the Cricket World Cup!


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