Sunday, June 18, 2006

World Cup Fever

Everyone seems to have World Cup fever. Bars are showing soccer matches instead of Yankee games; work is at a standstill; dinner discussions revolve around World Cup. I even know one person who put her blog on hiatus while the World Cup was going on because the games were taking over her life.

Is it just me or do more people in the US (or maybe I mean New York) seem to be paying attention to the World Cup than before? I don't know much about the event, but I do know it takes place every four years. And I know that in my past 16 years as a teenager and adult, I have never once paid attention to the World Cup. I vaguely remember when it was in the U.S., but it seemed like you had to practically pay people to go to the games. Now, it seems people are in disbelief when I confess that I know nothing about what is going on with the World Cup and I haven't been to a single bar to watch a game. And these are people who as far as I know have never paid attention to soccer or much less sports in general. I want to ask them, where did this sudden interest in soccer (and sports) come from?

It's all fun though, and I have to admit, the idea of heading to Germany to see World Cup matches sounds like an awesome trip to me. The main thing that has really bothered me though is the ESPN ad featuring the Ivory Coast with a voice-over by Bono. The story, as told by Bono, is that the country has called a cease-fire to its Civil War while the Cote D'Ivoire makes its way through the World Cup. I'm rooting for them, but it kind of boggles the mind that a sport is powerful enough to stop a civil war. And what about afterwards when the Ivory Coast team will be eliminated? Not to be a downer, but Ivory Coast is no Brazil in the soccer world. Are they just gonna go back to fighting? And how about the players? Talk about pressure. That's kind of a lot pressure to put on these players. They now have peace in their country resting on their shoulders. Are they gonna be shamed when they come back home?

Anyway, I have no idea what's going on in the World Cup now or if it's even over already. It does seem like a good time though. Maybe I'll catch the fever in 2010.


Aaron Weber said...

Yeah, I'm kind of confused by it too-- even though I've been watching the game. I think a lot of it is that soccer has been growing in the US for a really long time, and is finally reaching a critical mass where lots of people know at least a little about it from their kids or their own childhood play. And at that point, you can watch a game or two casually and be prepared to make small talk about it, even if you're not a hardcore fan.

So, even though I still don't understand how off-sides works, and I just learned the red-card rule yesterday (apparently when someone is ejected from a game, their team has to play one man down for the rest of the game), I am kind of curious to see the outcome.

Robin said...

Ha, I hope I'm not the person to whom you refer in having the games take over her life! I was at the beach!

But I hear you about the growing interest. I admit I didn't really care before, but Michael Owen got me going several years ago, and it's so much fun to watch the games with a group of people. The sport is exciting with no commercial breaks and the international commentary and how the rest of the world is so into it. Yes, I do believe sports have to the power to affect politics, too (just as the Olympics have in the past).

Don't tell me you're not watching the big US game on Thursday? Come to the east village to watch the next Brasil game, too.