Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Now I get it.

It’s not about victory, it’s about accepting one frustration after another, having your hopes lifted and dashed time and again until finally, you get to that place where, after giving up hoping, hope somehow endures.

“Extra time” is a wonderful concept: the game is over but the game goes on.

And in that extra time, just what you wanted to happen finally happens; it’s like hitting the snooze alarm for forty more winks and that’s when you dream the dream that comes true.

I’m waxing rhapsodic here, I admit it, but fuckin’ A, the US’ victory today over Algeria in what Tiddlefitz has lovingly termed “the soccer ball world championship” was a pretty great sporting event, right up there with the Pittsburgh Pirates’ win over the Baltimore Orioles in game 7 of the 1979 World Series, or the Steelers’ prevailing in last few seconds of Superbowl XLIII, or even the Guttersnipes’ 17-3 mauling of the tough kids from East Liberty on the Caddygrounds field in Highland Park, circa 1971.

Of course it helped to be in a crowded bar with a bunch of your friends at 7:30 in the morning, and a couple of beers for breakfast didn’t hurt, either, but even so, a guy could get used to this sort of thing, even if his liver couldn’t.

Soccer pundits have been forecasting for years that the game would eventually catch on in America and you could see why, after a match like this, why they’d predict it. When Landon Donovan booted the ball into the back of the net at 90-plus minutes into the contest, the entire place erupted. People were screaming and shouting and hugging and kissing and jumping up and down like crazy; you’d have thought the Mariners had just won the World Series if you didn’t know better.

Since that’s not going to happen, I’ll take this; pretty great, but I’m still not ready to call the game “football.”


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