Before I start, let me point out several things I’m actively ignoring:
+the fact that I haven’t blogged in several months
+the fact that I moved blog sites
+women who are under a 7.5 on the 10-point scale
+anyone who wears Ed Hardy apparel
In the summer of ’06, two important things happened in my life: the first was I graduated college (on time, with Honors and a well-above average GPA…braggadocios, I know, but I spent far too much money and time on those things not to mention them at every opportunity), and the second was I started watching soccer seriously for the first time in years. In the first grade I played for my elementary school’s soccer team, but there wasn’t a lot of skill or knowledge required for that…I’m pretty sure the only prerequisites were legs. Other than that, my soccer interactions were pretty minimal — I went to a few MLS matches, rooted for Brian McBride before they whisked him off to Europe, but that was about it. But in the summer of two double-ought six, the World Cup was being well televised/covered/publicized and my then-roommates divided up our time evenly between watching the World Cup matches, and playing the World Cup ’06 videogame on PS2 (this was before PS3 had been invented by wizards). I don’t know whether it was the mix of brotherly camaraderie I shared with my roommates while watching the matches, my expanded knowledge of sports from having played more often in college, or the magic of listening to commentators with barely-recognizable-as-English accents, but whatever it was, I was hooked. I understood the game better, I appreciated the athleticism more, and even though USA’s team was pretty weak that year, they were still good enough to not get totally embarrassed by their opponents. I also wanted to prove Americans could support their team as rowdily as fans from other countries. This notion, of course, was delusional at best…but as a Cincinnati Bengals fan for over two decades, I know firsthand that being a good fan sometimes means deluding yourself into believing the impossible and unlikely (8-8 IS a successful season! We CAN make the playoffs! Kijana Carter is a future Hall-of-Famer for sure, great draft pick!).
Now, three years later, I’m watching The Premiere League (Manchester United), The Champions League (Man U), World Cup Qualifiers (Team USA, obviously), Major League Soccer (LA Galaxy and/or Columbus Crew depending on my mood/location) — even Serie A and La Liga on occasion — and there’s never been a better time to get into soccer. The 2010 World Cup is right around the corner, USA’s team looks sharp, and ESPN is finally showing matches with some regularity. My little brother’s a Chelsea fan, so we can even partake of some of the Chelsea/Man U rivalry that’s so fervently enjoyed across the pond. The only way it could be better is if you and your friends joined in the madness.
So do yourselves a favor, do me a favor, and do the world’s most popular sport a favor, and get yourself soccer-ready so you can have fun with the rest of us next summer when the US learns to love the original football.
Oh, also, I’ll be writing from the road for the next five weeks or so while I’m out with House of Heroes. If you aren’t familiar with them, check them out and you won’t be sorry. If you are familiar with them, then continue to stay familiar with them. Follow our antics on twitter (@ocdustino), and come see a show if we’re playing a city near you.
Disclaimer: my love for soccer doesn’t replace my love for American football, basketball, or hockey — it merely adds to the appreciation I have for athletic awesomeness in all its forms (excluded from that category: baseball, golf and curling).