Wednesday, July 3, 2013

They Just Don't Get It

  There they go again. Why is America the only country in the world that doesn't get the beautiful game? I mean football of course. Real football, the sort played with a round ball which one actually kicks.
  Today I was watching Wimbledon, more precisely the Djokovic match, getting ready for Andy Murray and the camera lingered on the handsome visage of Nemanja Vidic, Manchester United's captain and arguably the greatest defender in the world. In a natty suit and tie, he was in the audience, presumably cheering on his fellow Serb. And what does the American commentator say, "Oh um,dunno who that is, must be some well-known British athlete (sic). We have to take the pictures the BBC gives us and they keep showing him .... etc etc." Now I defy any sports commentator from any other country not to recognise Nemanja Vidic when he sees him. Lamentable. Utterly lamentable.
  In the same vein, the Wall Street Journal columnist, Joe Queenan, is usually good for a mild laugh. But last weekend he went too far. Suggesting, tongue somewhere near his cheek I trust, that, should there be a boycott of the World Cup in Brazil, it would be a good thing - I ask you!  It appears Mr Queenan's main beef with our football (I can't bring myself to call it "soccer" since I saw our local paper refer to the World Cup as the "Men's World Soccer Championships"), a sport, he claims,  "short on thrills" and "rooted in cowardice and duplicity",  is that there are not enough goals. In one match he watched there was just one goal.  Doesn't he see that that's the whole point? Football is not basketball where goals come with tedious regularity and nothing much happens except goals. Blink and you've missed one. They are debased currency. No, goals in football are precious things. Their comparative rarity makes them so. And contributes to the subtle build-up, the wild anticipation, the terrible anti-climax of the miss, the frustrating "what might have been" of the struck post.  And at last the glorious ecstasy of that bulging net. I love Americans but in too many aspects of their lives, they just want instant gratification.

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