Soccer bandwagon

I find it quite amazing. Suddenly EVERYONE in the states is a soccer fan, especially after the run of the the Men’s National Team recently in South Africa for the 2010 World Cup. I don’t expect the buzz about the sport to remain after July 11 when the World Cup comes to a close in South Africa. After the limited success the US tasted there could possibly be more interest in 2014 if they qualify for Brazil.

At work, I am the only individual who watches football on a regular basis, be it the World Cup or Euro Cup, Serie A or Premiership. When a game is on and I am not working I will be found watching. The going joke is I give people who pass by the break room 3 minutes, after that time, they get bored and walk on, usually commenting something about the low or no score. Typical.

Needless to say the media has been going World Cup crazy with all types of reports from local bars where USA fans gather to support their team. I heard one report of a “fan” who stated, “I am watching because I am a fan of the USA.” Huh? a fan of the USA, not necessarily the sport. Okay, maybe it just give you and many others an opportunity to gather, toss back from beer and watch a game.

I also need to say that ESPN has been worse than they were 4 years ago in Germany. The announcing, which I thought would be better has been horrid. There are some bright spots, such as Ally McCoist and Martin Tyler. Unfortunately ESPN is “renting the British accent” for the worldwide event. Nonetheless the addition commentary being provided by John Harkes I can do without. He like his counterpart 4 years ago don’t lend much to the game. I was tired of hearing about the US team when they were not even playing being televised!

A bright spot has been the insight provided by Roberto Martinez, currently the manager at Wigan. He has been very good in the studio pre-match and at half-time providing his insight to individual players, tactics or the game in general. To a less degree I have also enjoyed listening to Ruud Gullitt. Hopefully 4 years from now they decide to can Alexi Lalas, but PLEASE do not hire Landon Donovan!!! I hope 4 years from now I can get coverage from someone like Sky Sports, where they understand the sport and are passionate about it. Hell maybe I should learn Spanish, as I hear the announcers have been top class on another network from a few friends.

America Plays Soccer, the World, Football

I believe there are many fans who are supporting their nation during the 2010 World Cup are not fans of the game, especially in the US. I am sure the same can be said of other countries too, but I chose the US because football…er…soccer as most Americans call it is not one of the top sports played in the states especially at the youth levels cannot compare to that of baseball, football, basketball and even hockey or auto racing.

Now that I have said that, I have received e-mails and comments saying I have “un-American” and “not patriotic” amongst other colorful adjectives when it comes to my lack of support for the US Men’s National Soccer Team. While not Italian, I have support the Azzurri since I started watching football from the Serie A, being a supporter of AS Roma, it stands to reason I fly my colors for Italy when the World Cup comes around.

Many “fans” seem to have a problem because I lend no support to my home nation. Why should I? First, the sport is not popular in America. Their professional league is mediocre at best, usually used as a playground for older European players. Any homegrown talent makes the move to Europe in order to advance their football careers.

Through out this World Cup I have found myself cheering for the likes of North Korea, Switzerland, Japan and New Zealand. Not necessarily strong teams when it comes to international competition, but because they have pushed some of the perennial favorites and in some cases victory. It’s more than just about your home nation. This is “the beautiful game” and watching players of this caliber on the international stage provides for some great football.

I will give credit where it is due, the US did create two nice goals versus Slovenia as they came from behind to draw. Funny, but when the US drew 1-1 with England many in the media and fans called it “a win.” Not sure how they come up with that logic, but whatever makes them feel successful.

Much like England, the US is underachieving in this World Cup, England more so. Another point versus Algeria and they will be on the long flight home possibly ending another three and out campaign at the World Cup. We have already heard the cries of “foul” for the disallowed goal that would have given the US a victory yesterday. Wouldn’t be the first time and I am sure it won’t be the last. Take your lumps and move on. Just ask France, who shouldn’t even be in South Africa if it were not for Thierry Henry’s “Hand of God” moment.

What if…

By no means do I involve myself with politics regardless of party affiliation. But with that said, I really enjoyed Ron Paul’s WHAT IF… The American People Learn Truth! Unfortunately nothing will change from one administration to the next and we the American public will continue to being lied to.

Is It Un-American?

‘Patriot Day’ the day is intended as a memorial to the victims of a terrorist attack and arguably has nothing to do with patriotism. Like many around the world I witnessed the events as they happened, and I will never forget the scenes or images as they unfolded in New York, Washington DC and Pennsylvania. I was not directly affected by those events, I did not loose friends or family in the terrorist attacks, but like many Americans my life was affected. There were a few hours I was unsure my sister’s status. She was a working flight attendant who was scheduled to arrive in Washington D.C. from Germany. About midway over the Atlantic, they turned the aircraft around and went back to Germany.

All Americans were affected if not directly, indirectly from these attacks. Personally, I lost nearly 30% of my salary at the airlines because of these attacks. A very small consolation compared to those who lost loved ones, I know. But the fact remains we, as Americans were ALL affected. Look at the supposed “increase in security” at airports as an example. Longer security lines, ridiculous restrictions as to what can be brought through security and boarded on an airplane now.

I know 9-11 is now a “sacred day” for many Americans, but honestly I don’t want to relive the experiences from that day. Is that wrong? Does that make me a bad or unpatriotic person? I don’t think so. We hear so many comments about how its vital we “not forget” and “is it too soon” to show documentaries or movies about the attacks. I admit I spent the better part of 2 years reading about events that led up to 9-11. I grabbed a copy of the 9-11 Commission Report and read it page by page, but nothing really answered any of the questions. We will never know the exact breakdown was or how things really transpired on Flight 93.

So, I will continue to be proud to be an American and fly the Stars and Stripes, but I won’t look back in retrospect (only from the conspiracy angle) at the events of 9-11. I will always live the fact it affected my personally to some degree. But we should be looking towards our government (God help us!) to fix the problems, which is asking a lot considering the bureaucracy, red tape and other problems that plague the United States.