Saturday, June 12, 2010


I don't think soccer will ever catch on.  First of all, the name.  It's futbol across the world but soccer in the States.  That's not helping.

I watched the US vs England match in the World Cup earlier today.  OK, I recorded it and fast forwarded through much of it, but still.  Nothing happened.  Almost 100 minutes of playing and there were just two goals.  Nothing happened.

Here's how futbol works.  The ball gets booted around for a minute, then someone tries to kick it into the goal.  The goalies are 95% effective at blocking shots.  Bounce-bounce-bounce-shoot.  Bounce-bounce-bounce-shoot.  Bounce-bounce-bounce-shoot.  For 100 minutes.  Every once in a while, the ref would call a penalty but I couldn't ever see why.  And the announcers, whose job it is to tell us what is going on, ignored the penalties and anything else of interest, but when someone would try to kick a goal, they'd get unreasonably excited.  Remember that 95% block percentage I mentioned?  Yeah, let's get excited about 25 attempted shots on goal for every one that goes in.

And what's with the varying clock? Futbol is supposed to be two halves of 45 minutes each, but at the end of each half, four extra minutes appeared on the clock.  The announcers didn't say anything about it, so it must be a common occurrence.  Stupid, but common.

And offsides?  A penalty that has no reason to exist.  The ball is in possession of one team on one side of the pitch and a penalty is called because a guy on the other team is a few inches too far away on the other side.  What the hell is that about?  Maybe they could have fewer penalties and more scoring.

I want to enjoy futbol really bad.  I loved Bend it Like Beckham and She's the Man is a favorite guilty pleasure, but futbol is better in the movies than real life.  Infinitely better.  The sport is never going to catch on.

Speaking of England, I found out two things today I did not know.  They have their own flag.  I thought the Union Jack - you know, the Austin Powers flag - was the flag of Britain.  Turns out, that's the flag of the United Kingdom.  England has their own flag for when they want to shun Scotland, Wales and Ireland. It's a red cross centered on a field of white.  Greedy bastards.  Do they really need two flags?

I also learned that the national anthem of England is "My Country 'Tis of Thee."  I always thought the sweet land of liberty and land of the pilgrims' pride that the song 'tissed about was the US of A, but I stand corrected.

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