Please don't hate me sports fans. You know that I am truly one of you. I am the loyal idiot who has supported the hapless Maple Leafs through 40 some odd years of futility. I am the jerk who rises early on a Sunday morning in July to watch breakfast at Wimbledon. I can tell you who won this year's Indy 500, (Dario Franchitti) this year's Kentucky Derby, (Super Saver with jockey Calvin Borel in the saddle) and this year's Masters tournament (Phil Mickelson) without the benefit of the wiki links that I have courteously provided for all of you. I can argue the merits of the Roy Halladay trade vs keeping Cliff Lee in the Phillies rotation with the most devout of baseball fan, and I can hope against all reasonable hope that Sam Bradford is the answer that the Rams have been searching for under centre since the crazy decision to cut Kurt Warner in favour of Mark Bulger. I can quote you the rules of curling and I really do understand the muddle that is free agency. I watch the NFL and NHL drafts on television. Yes, I am a fanatic in the true definition of the word. So it truly pains me to discover that there is a sport that is more than a little bit uninteresting to me. I speak of course of the "beautiful game" that is the entire world's obsession--soccer.
I realize that I am in the minority with this opinion, and believe me when I tell you all that I have really tried to like this snoozefest of a game. Every four years, this undeniably multicultural city in which I reside becomes all atwitter at the mere mention of soccer's World Cup, this year being hosted in South Africa. Work stops when various nations are at play. Construction literally comes to a standstill in this city and productivity in the towers of Bay Street grinds to a halt as everybody crowds into bars or around their computer screens. Today, Little Italy in the midtown section of Toronto was packed with rabid fans cheering on their homeland heroes. (Given the tightrope that the Italians walked for most of the game, they almost had to give many of the patrons oxygen to avoid the inevitable hyper-ventilation!) Me? I decided early on this week that I would try to once again understand why watching these unquestionably superior athletes run around a pitch playing to an uneventful 1-1 draw was the least bit exciting. Whenever I have found myself at home for these early tournament games, I have turned on the HD and tried to watch. I have yet to make it through a half, let alone a full match. I usually doze several times throughout. Waiting for a goal can be torture and the subtleties of the game are lost on me as the commentators never explain the "action". These European play-by-play guys have about as much vitality and spice as Cheez Whiz! As if that weren't bad enough, the diving and bullshit writhing on the ground in pain is enough to earn several of these players Academy Awards. If that crap were to occur with the same frequency in hockey, some guy would find himself the recipient of a well-place elbow to the jaw!
New York Post. C'MON!!! IT WAS A TIE!! Sorry-a draw. This is what passes for excitement in the biggest tournament in the world? Yesterday Germany actually broke out for 4 goals against their obviously inferior opponent and it was considered a offensive juggernaut. For some perspective? In 6 Stanley Cup games this year the Blackhawks and Flyers combined to score 47 goals. In 11 games as of this writing, a paltry 18 goals have been scored by 22 teams thus far. I have goosebumps just thinking about the the own goals and strange bounces.
I haven't yet found the hook that billions of others around the world have evidently discovered when it comes to this game. As a true sports fan I do believe it is my obligation to try, but I am quickly running out of patience. Well, at least there is music. I am seriously thinking of taking up the vuvuzela. What do you think of that as an accompanying instrument at Rosh Hashana? Tekiyah!!!