A Sporting Event Where the Word “World” Means More Than Just The United States.

We have been diligently following the World Cup this year. Yesterday, we spent several hours at a local brunch spot where we watched Trinidad tie with Sweden, England win after Paraguay’s captian Carlos Gamarra headed in an own-goal, and Argentina beat the Ivory Coast, which was a must-see game. I rooted for the Ivory Coast. Not only are they the underdog, but also their economy has been stunted by political turmoil and civil war. The World Cup, and the camaraderie it brings with it, inspired the nation to call for a ceasefire thereby pausing its ongoing civil war. I can’t tell you how awesome that is, just another reason to adore soccer and worldwide sporting events.

I’m a little irritated that the United States plays for the first time at noon on Monday. I think a long lunch may be in order. I might even hit the ESPN Zone at Times Square. I’m also annoyed that it’s not being shown everywhere. For example, we were at the gym this morning and you can’t get it on the TVs there. Instead, they were talking about Barry Bonds and his juiced induced records, teenage cheerleaders, and old football stats. Why are American’s so turned off from soccer? Why do we follow football like it’s a religion and totally snub the World Cup? I will never understand this. People say that it’s because there aren’t enough points scored, and while I know that Americans tend to prefer quantity to quality, points does not an exciting game make.

I haven’t been so enthusiastic about a sport in quite some time. Perhaps it’s because I played soccer for a long time and therefore understand exactly what’s going on. Perhaps it’s due to the game’s constant movement. It’s so much fun to watch. It’s even more fun to play. And it’s been fantastic sitting in a room filled with people who are cheering for whatever team they choose.

Currently, we’re watching Mexico play Iran and even though Mexico is up one point and we’re 30 minutes into the game, I am rooting for Iran. There is a part of me that believes that it could be something as simple as winning a soccer match that might help an entire country cooperate and identify with the rest of the world.

Update: Monday, June 12th, 9:10 AM Trying to figure out a way to watch the US game at noon. (Checking score between Australia vs. Japan online.) NYSC doesn’t have ESPN2 but the kind gentleman working desk informs me over the phone that I might possibly be able to watch it on the Spanish channel, Univison. Cross your fingers they’re showing the game.

Update: Monday, June 12th, 10:14 AM This is how I’m “watching” the game:

Update: Monday, June 12th, 1:39 PM Ouch for the U.S. Ouch. I ran for the first half. Left at halftime and then headed to an Irish pub, which was packed with people there specifically to see the game. I left right when Czech scored their third goal. Bummer, dude. At the office again hoping for a miracle.

43 Comments

  1. What’s crazy, is that stopping a war for soccer isn’t all uncommon “both sides in Nigeria’s civil war called a 48-hour cease-fire in 1967 so Pelé could play an exhibition match in the capital of Lagos.” ( http://www.time.com/time/time100/heroes/profile/pele01.html )

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  2. well, its about time.
    you wont believe this but my suv-drivin, bush-supportin, light beer drinkin, texan neighbours are cheering for mexico right now!
    wtf? it must be getting chilly in hell right about now.
    you guys should be here in brighton when brazil invevitably wins it all.
    its like carnival.

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  3. Heather, let’s go to Brighton! Also, I got a wax. I thought of you.

    Hi. Ouch?

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  4. Sometimes it has the opposite effect!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Football_war

    The World Cup is great – don’t know if you remember the USA-Iran game from ‘94?
    It is a cliche, but sport really can bring people together…

    Just watching Angola v Portugal – former colonial v colony. The commentator asked some fans outside the ground how they each felt about the other: “They are our brothers” from both sets of fans. One of the Angolan players lost his father at three and mother at six in the civil war, had to bring up his family, and still sends money from every appearance fee to an orphanage in Angola. The games are much better than the Olympics as well!

    In this spirit of international cooperation, I’ll even grit my teeth and accept the term ‘soccer’!

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  5. Football also often incites riots, mob violence, and retribution executions.

    People who score own-goals during world cup matches have been known to get killed shortly thereafter :(

    Football really only brings peace for the duration of the game. As soon as the last whistle blows, its mob violence.

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  6. Doug, I hear ya. I was actually going to write football, i really was then I thought I’d rather Americans know what the hell I was talking about instead of believing I was talking about American Football (blah). :]

    But, from now on Internet. I’m using FOOTBALL! Wooo!

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  7. sarah is also rooting for Cote d’Ivoire, for much the same reasons. Plus, they stopped the civil war to cheer for the elephants. they played so well against Argentina yesterday, I think they’ve got a shot at moving on. I’ve been planning my chores this weekend around the games. Oh, its being split between ABC and ESPN 2 right now… if you go to espn’s soccernet page, they have a schedule with the broadcast network for each game… but its being broadcast by ESPN and ABC this year, so it should be easy to find.

    Jon, that whole own-goal killing incident happened once that I know of, maybe two world cups ago, very unfortunate, and somewhere in the world where kidnapping people is a steady source of income for many people. you’re a pretty glass-half-empty kind of guy, aren’t you?? or do you just like playing the devils advocate all the time?

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  8. Aimee, he’s a very negative person. I generally try and avoid even reading his comments anymore for fear of bumming me out. For example, I had no idea what he wrote above until I read your response. heh

    Also, is anyone planning on having a 90 mintue lunch tomorrow? I think I might have to. I’ll work early and late if I have to. :]

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  9. i might not go at all

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  10. OK, I just read Jon’s post. Jon, dude, if you can’t say ANYTHING positive, kindly stop writing. I wrote this post because I have seen some amazing people from all over the world come together over the last several days, both players and fans. Why do you constantly insist on bringing the tone down? It’s really frustrating. It’s really ugly. I don’t appreciate it at all.

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  11. Aimee, good for you! I’d be really curious to know how many people call in sick tomorrow. The more out of the office means Americans are taking our football! more seriously!

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  12. We’ve been attached to the TV watching the games as well. But in our case the first games have started at 6am so we have been rolling out of bed to watch them. Talk about dedicated! Mike plans on taking a couple of days off next week just so he can watch! I remember watching the games when I lived in Belgium during the 1990 world cup. It was so much fun going to a local town to watch the national team end up losing on a penalty shot against the England in the second round. Isabel has been watching as too. She even got up at 6am to watch the Netherlands play today. I only hope her future sibling will be just as interested in football as the rest of the family! :o)

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  13. woohoo! new babies on the way. I can’t wait!

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  14. Yesterday “Soccer Saturday” was showing on one of our sport’s channels… for like ten minutes.

    What was it replaced by?

    WWF.

    That’s priority for you.

    Not the biggest fan of soccer myself, but I would totally watch it if a few games were shown after work. Why not? It’s a once in a while thing, we should totally participate and root on a team or seven!

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  15. At least it wasn’t Nascar! Not that there is anything wrong with Nascar. (Dad, I mean it. It’s OK. Nascar is A-OK.)

    Imagine a World Cup for Nascar or WWF. Holy crap. Wait, doesn’t the first W in WWF stand for “World”? Is there indeed a “World” in there somewhere? Is there a British wrestling team? Uhoh! Headbutt! How about a Chinese wrestling team. Uhoh! Chop suey! How about a Mexican team? Uhoh! Nacho Libre! Oh, wait… Mexican.

    I bet the costumes would be divine across the board.

    I have a feeling an Austrailian team would be frightening. Austrialia scares me.

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  16. michele-

    my first comment was actually positive, and i was trying to only look on the bright side until hthr brought up the realistic aspects.

    i love world cup, i love how it brings people together – but truth be told, it also has a negative side.

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  17. I also find Jonathan’s comments to be an incredibly negative. He turns the comments section into a No-Fun Mihow.

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  18. My husband and I were camping around Europe in 98. Every night we watched football in the campground pub with the locals, it was too much fun!!! We were even in France when they one the whole enchilida (or should that be crepe?). But do you know what is even better ..in less than 12 hours we are on a plane to Czech republic, Poland, and Germay which means more crazy dinners with beer and locals watching footie! Here’s to world cup!

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  19. Ok I am not as stupid as I look right now i meant won not one. Damn I hate that.

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  20. In other Soccer news, the Park School grades 3&4 team lost 3-1 in the semifinals of Western New York’s “Coaches Cup” tournament early Sunday morning to St. Christopher’s. The challenge for a small, independent progressive private school is that they’re forced to play in a league of much larger parochial schools. I mean, really: who would God want to win? On a Sunday morning no less?

    Still it was a great game and followed two exciting wins on Saturday. I don’t remember my father ever watching me compete as a kid, but I love going to my kids’ sporting events.

    Best line of the day: I notice yesterday during the semifinals that Henry is subbing in for a really good defensive player, and we’re already down 2-0. “Henry is in for John!” I tell Kerry, to which she quietly replies “Oh no.” He avoided an own-goal, at least, but was quickly benched after the score went to 3-0.

    There were no retributions.

    Cue Jon’s comments on hyper-competitive parents, overemphasis on winning, and the erosion of sportsmanship in 3 – 2 – 1 …

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  21. Today’s USA game is at noon. I have figured out how I plan on fitting it in. At 11:55, I will hit the gym. I will run for the first half, shower like a bat out of hell, and then watch the second half at a local pub (probably TGIF as there isn’t much around me in midtown that will be open and/or showing the game. Hell, I’m not even sure they will be showing the game. Maybe I’ll run for 90 minutes and really kick my own ass. Most of the players do that anyway, right? heh)

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  22. its on ESPN 2. just in case.

    oh, and formula 1 might be loosely considered the world cup of racing…

    and if TGIF isn’t playing it on one of their 18 tvs, bitch them out until they change it.

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  23. Crap, I just read that it’s on ESPN2 this time. (Why do they keep doing this? Does ABC really have something that important they simply MUST show at noon? WTF?) I don’t think the NYSC has that station. How is it I watched the Germany/Costa Rica game on ABC while running on the treadmill yet they stick the US game on ESPN2? What the hell is up with that? Oh, so irritated right now.

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  24. that’s pretty weird. espn 2 is a cable standard. its the espn tandem. at that cable level, i didn’t think it was possible to pick and choose those channels. you’ve either got only network, the standard cable lineup of 78 channels or whatever, or the premium crap with hbo and all… you always have espn and espn 2 together. classic, news and other espn channels are the “special” ones…

    are you sure he isn’t lying??

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  25. btw, japan just went up 1-0 on a questionable goal. goalie interference. but the ref didn’t call it. its australia’s own fault, their controlling possession with nothing to show for it.

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  26. yo jonathan-
    what negative aspects did i bring up?
    i think you confused me with someone else.
    thats it. meet me outside after school.
    im putting an end to this once and for all.

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  27. aimee, yeah, he’s not lying. On Sunday we had the same problem at another New York Sport’s club. He tried to turn it on the large TVs and it wasn’t showing on ABC. No luck with the ESPN2. :/

    I heard about the Japan thing! Wow! That’s not cool. I wish I had seen! So annoyed I can’t watch. :/

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  28. Holy shit, Australia. Wowsa.

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  29. well, in that case, i guess you can’t go wrong with ESPNzone :]

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  30. Those last 6 minutes were astounding. Cahill has to be MVP of that match!

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  31. I am SO MAD I MISSED IT!!! I’ll watch it tonight. You taped it right?

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  32. he’s one of evertons fc’s finest.
    thats my boy!

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  33. you can get a more robust match counter here: http://fifaworldcup.yahoo.com/06/en/index.html

    it includes score and play by play

    just click the live button by the match

    David Beckham’s hair / what the hell?

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  34. Michele,

    My apologies if this has already been mentioned – but if you are stuck in the office (like schmucks like me) and can’t leave to watch a match you can get pretty decent play by play at: http://fifaworldcup.yahoo.com/06/en/ I tracked the USA/Czech Republic and Italy/Ghana (Italia!) games this way at work because I couldn’t wait until I got home to watch the taped games!

    Another good place is http://www.goal.com

    USA is in the “group of death.” I was curious to see how they played, but not too bummed or surprised that they lost. They just don’t have the caliber of players. Since I am routing for Italy – I gotta hope the USA goes down.

    P.S. I am totally jealous that you can amble down to an Irish pub to watch the games! We actually walked into a “British” pub on Sunday and they were showing golf – on both TVs – while the Ivory Coast game was on!

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  35. P.S. I am totally jealous that you can amble down to an Irish pub to watch the games! We actually walked into a “British” pub on Sunday and they were showing golf – on both TVs – while the Ivory Coast game was on!

    They should lose their ability to claim they’re British! My lord! That ain’t right!

    You’re rooting for Italy? May I ask why? Not that you need a reason. Just curious.

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  36. I’m an Italo-phile (is that a word?)

    Actually, Jim is a massive soccer fan and all my schooling on the sport has come through him. He roots for the Italian team and his favorite league team is AC Milan. He has nurtured me to be an Italy fan.

    Also, they are most like the Pittsburgh Steelers. They get a lead, sit on it, and very likely blow it in the end. It’s a familiar feeling (stress!) that somehow you become addicted to. sigh

    Damn that Roethlisberger for not wearing a helmet!

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  37. Also, they are most like the Pittsburgh Steelers. They get a lead, sit on it, and very likely blow it in the end. It’s a familiar feeling (stress!) that somehow you become addicted to. sigh

    Too funny! Awesome. Well, they played so super well yesterday! I am so digging this. Tobyjoe and I are going to start buying tickets to see the NYC team play at the Meadowlands.

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  38. I’m working at home today and trying to track down a live mp3 or realaudio feed. anybody know of such a thing? I could wheel the tv out here but it’ll probably be too distracting : )

    I have a soft spot for the brazilians ony because I’ve seen all hell break lose in this neighborhood when they win.

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  39. Donald, we spent hours trying to figure out a way to do this. If you have any success, let me know. We hit all sorts of roadblocks, either they weren’t legally able to broadcast it (as ABC owned the rights or some crap) or you needed to have some ISP and even if you did you needed an uber fast Internet connection. (WE even went to Best Buy and tried to buy XM radio! Nothing.)

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  40. Yeah, I fear the looking around is going to cost me more time than having the TV next to me all day.

    poop

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  41. Hahhahahah

    Hey, Doug (or any European who might be reading this), you should stream it from England so we American’s can hear it. Even if there’s a delay, we don’t mind! Hell, we’ll even pay a little bit for it! :]

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