A quick note about yesterday's post, and then I'll move onto a more pleasant topic - today's World Cup kick-off pitting Mexico against host-nation South Africa.
I fear I may have come across a little arrogant in the end. I don't expect to be America's border expert after having spent two years in Mexico. I mostly just wanted to say that I disagree with Arizona law, but I do agree that there is a problem - either actual or perceived - with what is going on at the border. And that this problem really sucks for me because I'm assuming will make my stay in Mexico a little less pleasant if not more dangerous.
OK. Soccer...er...futbol time. I have to admit I don't really understand soccer...er...futbol, and the World Cup, while apparently a feel-good tournament for the rest of the world, tends to fall on deaf ears here in the United States. Nevertheless, in my attempt to start adapting to Mexican culture a bit, I'm going to make myself sit through an entire soccer...er...futbol game.
To capture the excitement of the moment, I've decided to channel my inner Bill Simmons, of ESPN, and provide a streaming timeline of the game as I watch from home somewhat similar to what I did during the snowstorm. My early predictions, a lot of boredom but a high scoring game in which Mexico wins 2-0. And to make it a little more interesting, I've got a bottle of tequila in the fridge to celebrate every Mexican goal. Go Mexico!
10:05 a.m. EST - Kick-off, and the game is underway. Before the game got started, they sang national anthems of both countries, and it makes me sad that our national anthem sucks so much. Mexico and South Africa have much better anthems, and so does most every other country, at least of the ones I've heard.
Tiffy was very nervous for the start of the game.
10:07 a.m. - Mexico was on the attack early and had a shot at scoring a quick goal. By the way, it is worth mentioning that there is a constant buzz during the game provided by 80,000 fans blowing horns so that it sounds like a swarm of bees. You have to appreciate how much the rest of the world loves soccer...er...futbol and how dedicated the fans are. At U.S. sporting events, about half the fans are interested in the game, and the other half interested in something else - usually beer. And if it is a baseball game, it is more like 20% or less are interested in the game.
10:12 a.m. - The first penalty was called and it just reminds me how little I understand about soccer...er...futbol. I played when I was young, and I even reffed little kids' games, but I have no idea what constitutes a penalty in professional soccer...er...futbol.
10:21 a.m. - Another penalty called - this one against Mexico resulting in a free kick against the Mexican goal (but not a penalty kick), which went high. The penalty was called as a result of a great flop by the South African player. Soccer...er...futbol players are some of the best actors.
10:22 a.m. - First yellow card given. Surprise, it was against a Mexican player named Juarez. Go figure.
10:32 a.m. - A yellow card against South Africa. Boredom is starting to set in. Even Tiffy isn't immuned to it. I need to take a bathroom break from all the coffee I used to start the day. Hope I don't miss anything
10:37 a.m. - Didn't miss anything, and I got back in time to see Mexico somehow miss a shot that should have made it 1-0. By the way, at this pace, the score will be 0-0.
10:42 a.m. - Some excitement as Mexico scored a goal on a corner kick, but the refs feared the game might get too exciting and called offsides. On the replay, and as the announcers pointed out, it was impossible to be offsides as South Africa had a defender standing on the baseline. So it would be impossible for a player to be behind him.
10:50 a.m. - One of the aspects I hate about soccer...er...futbol is that the game clock says 45 minutes, which is supposed to be halftime. But no, only the officials are privy to the actual game time. This is one reason why this sport will never catch on here.
10:51 a.m. - Real halftime now. The announcers said Mexico should be 2-0 or 2-1, but I think they forgot this is a soccer...er...futbol match. Two or three goals in one half just isn't in the cards.
There have been a few excitement moments in the game thus far, but then there will be 15 minutes of the ball at midfield that boring.
Living in the U.S.A. definitely has played a role in my malaise toward soccer...er...futbol. It is common to hear that because we have football, baseball and basketball, our population has other sports to follow instead of soccer...er...futbol. But I don't think that is true.
Americans have never been interested in soccer...er...futbol. Ever. We invented other sports to fill the void.
There is a famous story from World War I in which the Germans and British stopped fighting one Christmas Day and started playing soccer...er...futbol instead. Kind of reminds me of the old expression, "I went to fight and a hockey game broke out." Make a few subsitutions, and you have this: "The world was at war, and a soccer...er...futbol match broke out."
Anyway, in our history, we have a similar story, sort of. During the Civil War, when the northern troops had some down time, they also partook in sporting events. But they played the newly created game of baseball instead.
11:07 a.m. - Second half begins.
11:12 a.m. - Following up on a tip from the comments section, I checked the Wikipedia entry on offsides. And it appears she is right. Behind two defenders, not one. I've lost my faith in ESPN soccer...er...futbol analysts. I think I need to switch to Telemundo for the rest of this game.
11:16 a.m. - Goala! South Africa!
11:17 a.m. - Scoring is such a rarity in soccer...er...futbol that even the Mexican analsysts on Telemundo are going crazy shouting "Goala!" at least a dozen times. Sometimes holding it for a long time such as "Goooooaallllaaaa!" followed by quick repetition of "Goala! Goala! Goala!"
11:22 a.m. - I've should have been watching on Telemundo the whole time. I have no idea what they are saying, but they are so much more into than the ESPN announcers. Mexico just had another near miss, and the announcers were going crazy again.
11:40 a.m. - "GOALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL....
11:41 a.m. - OLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!" Mexico 1-1.
11:50 a.m. - Almost forgot my celebration shot. The goal seems to have breathed new life into Mexico, which has come close to scoring again. I also need to tip my hat to the announcers for the ability to hold one note for so long while calling a goal!
11:53 a.m. - So I shouldn't have started watching until the second half. The last couple minutes in particular have been frantic with several close shots including a South African shot off the post they should have had.
11:54 a.m. - We are at 90 minutes, but the game continues because of silly onfield time.
11:55 a.m. - Game over. 1-1 tie. Mexico dodged a bullet, as a loss here would have likely been a death blow to their chances of advancing. All in all, it wasn't that bad, but I probably won't watch the entire 90 minutes of a soccer...er...futbol game again. At least not during this World Cup.
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