An American's guide to the World Cup
This past week, the World Cup kicked off (pun intended) in Brazil. You might be American and wondering, what the big deal is. You might be wondering what it is about soccer (what the rest of the world call Football or Futbol) that is so enjoyable to them. You might be wondering where is the closest place you can get boneless wings right now.
Well I can't help you with the wings problem, but if you are wondering about the World Cup I put this handy little guide together to help you out. I have broken this out into a multi-part series of blog posts, to help you get your feet wet in the World Cup.
1: Appreciate the ebb and flow of the "Great Game".
I think the problem most Americans have with Soccer, starts and ends with the scoreline.
"It's so booooring," they complain. "They only scored one goal. It was thirty seconds of excitement packed into 90 minutes of mind numbing movement."
I can understand and appreciate this sentiment. But just about everything regarding Soccer requires us to change our mentalities a bit, so bear with me.
Soccer is like watching a chess game in a way. The pieces are in movement, move and counter move. You don't really know who is winning until the end of the game. In a way it's also like WATCHING a classical piece of music if such a thing were possible. The game has dynamic ebbs and flow to it, like the movement of water.
Aside from the final scoreline which might be as exciting as the Netherlands' recent thrashing of Spain 4-1 or as boring as Iran and Nigeria slogging out a 0-0 draw, the game is actually made up of a thousand one on one battles around the field.
In some games you have to watch and appreciate how a team plays as a unit, the skill of each individual player and the tempo of the game. As you watch more, you will begin to see the pulse of the game quicken, one team breaking down and you can almost FEEL the moment a team is about to make that vital breakthrough.
When that happens it's worth the wait. In that way it is like Hunting. You watch for a while, sometimes a long while for a moment or two of sheer maddening excitement, and then those long moments before just don't mean that much.