Friday, June 11, 2010

How to watch the World Cup of soccer

  1. Visit a non-US site in order to get information from a place that takes the sport seriously. The BBC is good; is fine. There are many of them. ESPN is not recommended.
  2. Pee first. Unlike US football, soccer does not break for a few minutes every fifteen seconds. It breaks every 45 minutes (except for fouls). Note: US broadcasters tend to ignore this reality; watching the 1990 world cup at my brother's house I missed a goal because there was a commercial break. A "Broadcaster, please" moment.
  3. Relax. Unlike US football, where you watch with intense concentration for a few seconds then can then go wax the car, soccer is watched with little concentration but in long doses. Open a beer (if you're rooting for the UK or Germany), bottle of wine (France, Italy), or Coke (if you're rooting for Atlanta, which doesn't have a team, so you're not actually watching soccer).
  4. Learn what the "offsides" penalty is. This will take care of 98% of your "WTF happened that guy was about to score!" moments.
  5. You cannot use your hands in soccer. This should help you understand the remaining 2% of your "WTF happened that guy was about to score!" moments.
  6. Dig in for the long run. There are 32 teams and a month of games; this isn't some best-of-seven wham-bam-thank-you-coach.
  7. Don't set your hopes on the US. Not that they don't have a good team, but when bookies rank them outside the Top 10 you better be ready for some disappointment. Remember: Bookies care more than any other human beings about how well the teams do.
  8. Think about calling it "football." Why? A sub-list:
  • It is actually only played with your feet.
  • The other 7 billion inhabitants of the world call it football.
  • Your neighbor who speaks Spanish calls it football.
  • I call it football, and it's my blog.