It occurs to me that all over the world Rotarians are going crazy for their teams during the World Cup. But in the U.S., for the most part, not so much.
For my part, my daughter was a pretty good soccer player and my wife and I spent plenty of time taking her to travel soccer games and generally learning the game through the lens of watching young women playing club soccer. I spent many years yelling from the sidelines begging them not to all stand in the same place. And yes, we still have the van, although as empty nesters we really don’t need it.
With Carly being home for the summer, the battle for the TV is already heating up. I want to watch my beloved baseball team, the Baltimore Orioles, along with the PGA tour, and she wants to watch World Cup soccer. Here is a conundrum for any American sports fan. How can we be totally entranced by watching a baseball game that can easily last three hours with a score of 2 -1 and then complain that soccer is boring? I mean, watching baseball and golf on TV has to be the most stultifyingly boring sports spectacle on the planet (well…maybe curling is on the list?). And for American football fans, here’s a fun fact: according to several studies, watching pro football is really an exercise in watching about 11 minutes of actual action. 11 minutes!!! The rest of the time is spent on huddles, commercials, and other time outs. Yet, despite my daughter’s involvement in the game, and the fact that there is non-stop action in soccer, I still find it boring.
Since we are approaching the the last two weeks of the Rotary year and still have time to try to meet our Foundation giving goals, and since I’ve been hearing for months about “how we just want to fund local projects,” and since soccer (Futbol?) seems to be one of those cultural divides that is hard to explain (kind of like my inability to learn a foreign language or understand the metric system), I’ve decided to take this opportunity to REALLY TRY to get into soccer during this World Cup. I promise to not scream at the players who act like babies and are always “taking a dive” and faking like they are hurt. And I promise not to make fun of the announcers. And I promise to be infatuated with the nuances of the game even though no team has scored for three straight periods. ( I have to admit that the commercials during World Cup soccer are VERY cool. They are all about….soccer.)
Rotary IS international, and for the next few weeks the entire world will be focused on what is happening on the soccer pitches in Brazil. As Rotarians, I like to say that we are warriors for world peace. For a couple of weeks, I figure I can do this small thing to plug into a world outside of the U.S. The OTHER thing I can do is write a check to the Rotary Foundation.
Come on U.S. Rotarians…we can do this. Here’s a great way to start. For all of us U.S. sports fans who know about NBA star, Kyrie Irving’s, basketball videos where he plays “Uncle Drew,” an old man who shows up to play street basketball and amazes the kids, I thought I would share the soccer equivalent. Take a look at soccer freestyle champion, Sean Garnier, doing the same thing. You won’t believe this. (Oh, for the rest of you NBA fans, go to YouTube and search for “Uncle Drew.”)
Update: I tried to watch Columbia versus Greece today and fell asleep 5 minutes into the match. Then went to Camden Yards where the Orioles beat Toronto 3-2 in a game that lasted over 3 hours. The baseball game was riveting.
Further Update: U.S. beats Ghana! U.S. beats Ghana!
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