Hi, my name’s Luke, and I am your guide to all things World Cup here at the Barcelona Football Blog. This is part 2 of 2 in the preview before the big event, part 1 is available here. Hopefully we will have some live blogs for some of the games and some good predictions from everyone on the board. Besides, this is the World Cup. If you are not excited about it, please stop reading now. Anyway, enjoy the previews.
My father is a man of many colloquialisms. Many of them a somewhat deranged collection of quaint Southern phrases attempting to convey greater philosophical meaning. Well if his goal in all that was to see such things memorialized in a blog, he should be very proud.
Many American football (soccer, whatever) fans are usually wont to become expatriates to other nations, occasionally for legitimate reasons, but mostly because the American brand is so bland and ugly and the team is almost wholly ignored by the American media excepting the lead-up to the World Cup and matches against Mexico. Honestly, these are probably legitimate reasons too, but for some reason I cannot seem to quit the red, white, and blue.
Hi, my name’s Luke, and I am your guide to all things World Cup here at the Barcelona Football Blog. This is part 1 of 2 in the preview before the big event. Hopefully we will have some live blogs for some of the games and some good predictions from everyone on the board. Besides, this is the World Cup. If you are not excited about it, please stop reading now. Anyway, enjoy the previews.
To many of us, sports serve a useful purpose in our lives. They provide us with a sense of inclusion, competition, and a way to feel like we are part of something bigger than we actually are, whether fans of gigantic clubs like FCB, or much smaller teams like Chievo, the parameters are all the same. The case is even stronger for national teams when feelings of pride for one’s homeland combine with the aforementioned factors in sports. Normally, this is where it ends: Sports having their place in our lives behind other concerns like family and society. However, on certain occasions, sports are liable to transcend those boundaries and become a bigger part of the lives of millions and billions of people. That is the World Cup.
The World Cup is special, I cannot think of a better way to say this. It is hard to understate the cultural, sporting, and emotional impact that our planet’s largest sporting event imparts. For better or for worse, the hopes and fears and dreams of nations and peoples rest on the shoulders of 23 men playing with a ball in some far off land. The histories being played out on the field usually stands as a microcosm for contemporaneous political and social events occurring at that time. Whether it is the waning English empire and their team’s oppressive arrogance in ignoring the first 3 tournaments, and then showing for the 4th like they owned the place only to be cut down by the Americans in an unbelievable game. Or a wealthy organization holding the games in South African to show the symbolic “rise” of Africa in terms of international football significance and industrialized nations capable of trading and providing for the welfare of their citizens (not that Africa needs any of this “proof” as it has been making strides for many years, but I mean, large corporations and nations have been doing this for a very long time – Belgium/America in the Congo?); all while possibly further bankrupting the South African economy for years to come (see blood diamonds/Greece in the wake of the 2000 Olympic Games). Many other examples could be made, and likely will be, but suffice it to say, they go to proving that this is the world’s biggest, and most important, sporting event.
I’m going to begin this piece by saying what some of you already know, but for those who don’t: I love Les Bleus. I picked them to go all the way in 2006, and I will pick them again in 2010 (hey, that rhymed). I was thrilled when the goal was scored in extra time yesterday, actually screaming and falling off my office chair. There was even a big ‘ol lump in my throat from the joy, a joy tainted with sadness because this meant that Ruh-Roh Dumbassnech would remain as the France coach.
Then I saw the replay of the goal.
And I didn’t feel like crying any more. I wanted to hide my head in shame as a surrogate for Thierry Henry.
It was July 9, 2006 and I was standing in the viewing room of the French consulate in Chicago, weeping alongside a room full of other fans of Les Bleus. Yes, I had won the Chicago Tribune’s World Cup pool by betting my heart (Les Bleus all the way, as I will bet again this time out, if they make it.) rather than my mind, because I just knew.
I knew that Zinedine Zidane had one more magical tournament in him. That Patrick Vieira would be able to hold down the midfield, Yaya-style, while Zidane sashayed about on his Xavi-esque flights of fancy, giant feet flapping and distributing. I knew that Thierry Henry had more magical goals in him.
Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war goeth the famous literary quote by Shakespeare, with an amendment (and all due apologies) by Kevin:
Cry incompetent, and unleash the dyspeptic dogs of war, gibbering, drooling, accusatory beasts thou art, to take a chunk out of the oh, so deserving backsides of Ruh Roh Dumbenech and Diego Maradumber.
Now, cules everywhere can be in some small part, thankful for the coaching ineptitude of Raymond Domenech and Diego Maradona. After all, once they do the trick and France and Argentina are out of the competition, those pesky international obligations will be over, once and for all, right?