Its World Cup Season, everyone! Which means its time for Americans to drop their façade of indifference, which is more likely not a façade and just plain indifference, and whole-heartedly embrace a sport they have little to no understanding of, nor have much interest in. Quick everyone, rush out to Walmart or the corner liquor store and buy a not-so-cheap knock off of an official jersey of some country you have never been to, emblazoned with player’s name you can’t pronounce, in colors that are in no way flattering to your skin tone. Of course, the better the team, the more expensive the jersey, which is why there is a whole neighborhood of San Diegans sporting Team San Marino shirts. Because being on the bandwagon is fun, but shelling out $175 for Italy, Spain or England paraphernalia for a flash-in-the-pan hobby is just ridiculous.
Now for those of you now peeved at me for calling out your Fair Weather Fandom—you who right now may be shaking your fist at me while muttering “I’M a real fan, you little…”—I would like to take this opportunity to point out that I am not so far off base here. Fun fact, Team USA does most of their recruiting by looking at children of soldiers stationed abroad that have dual citizenship. Why? Because ‘Mericans don’t do balls-to-the-wall soccer training like those crazy Rest-of-the-World-ers.
Eeeeek! that sounded way too sportsy-smortsy. Must insert useless fluff knowledge, NOW–Rob Kardashian skipped KimYe’s wedding due to body issues. Or issues believing this marriage will actually last. (phew, I feel better now…)
Now back to what the rest of the world calls Football (or as those sexy announcers pronounce it Fuuuutbull)
And then there is my household. We are classified along with those faithful few that specifically signs up for that weird, offbeat sports cable package with the Italian soccer channel (screw you, “mainstream” English footballers!) and get to enjoy Seria A year round! I say year round, because I swear Italian play soccer fifty-five weeks a year. It is always on… and the five seconds it is not on the boob tube, enter the sprint of Superbike and GP racing season. Yippee.
Now way back when my Italian hottie of husband and I were first dating, I thought his fascination with soccer and motorcycle racing was so cute and European. Sigh – so adorbs! Ever the dutiful girlfriend, I tried to get into both, but lets be honest, marathon shopping trips and make-up tutorial experimentation are my sports of choice. Fifteen years in, the honeymoon is well over and I would rather spend the time baking unpronounceable desserts, or sawing my left pinky toe off, than sitting through those torturous “ninety minutes” of game time (which we all know means four hours of actual time).
First comes the pre-game commentary, which makes about as much sense taking Spanish lessons in Dutch. With the average number of goals coming in at less than TWO per game, they blah blah blah on about “strategy” and other crap advice on how to increase scoring, which we all know isn’t going to happen. We have a better chance of seeing Michael Jackson mud wrestle Tupac than we do of seeing a double-digit scoreboard. Pffft.
Finally the game kicks off with a series of national anthems that could rival John Cage’s Organ2/ASLSP in length. Thirty minutes later, with the singing/patriotic-tear-to-the-eye wrapped up, the game begins. This is when the fun starts. Glistening men dash around in circles, with cute little headbands holding back their flowing locks, sweating profusely, hurling themselves in front of flying balls, cursing at the refs, and spending inordinately long amounts of time writhing on the ground, pretending to bawl like babies. All the while, the stands are bursting with songs and chanting no linguist has ever been able to decipher. At least at this year’s Cup those God-awful horns from the 2010 South Africa game have been banned—it was like listening to an entire heard of sheep being tortured to death with a pair of dull pliers.
So this joyous revelry continues on for hours upon hours. And that is usually just for one game—now increase that times ten for the entire World Cup. My theory on why people, Italians especially, like the game so much is that it doesn’t cause you too much indigestion since you aren’t bothered with things like standing up to cheer for a goals. Why? Goals don’t happen so much. This means that the light snack of prosciutto, mozzarella, fried polenta, risotto, lasagna, Saltimboca and garlic bread won’t give you indigestion since it will have plenty of time to settle while you sit around, waiting for a goal and dinner to finish cooking. (FYI, this is how the menu reads when I go to my in-laws for a light supper. I ❤ Italians!)
I’m sure there is a wealth of more interesting things to say, but I am not officially bored with this topic and must go try on some new lip gloss to rid myself of this icky “sportsy” feeling. So for those of you enjoying this current craze, Forza Italia!
And for my peeps, enjoy the sale at ASOS.com (50% off, my friend! May the game be long and your husband’s attention span short enough not to miss his credit card!)