After my roaringly funny and 100% historically accurate explanation of the blasé attitude most Americans (read: people with souls) feel towards soccer, a few folks I know (read: one person) asked that I gave the sport a fair shake. Obviously, I laughed in their stupid face. Then they told me that the United States of Awwwfuckyeah would be playing Germany today.
Since my love of America is greater than my annoyance at soccer and all its insufferable fans, I figured what the hell, I’d go watch the game. Plus it was an excuse to go to a bar and start drinking before noon. So, this morning, after a waking up at the crack of 10:45 to have a traditional, hearty Marine Corps breakfast (strawberry yogurt and a Monster Zero) I sauntered on over to the local “public house” to begin my study of this strange game and the weirdos who “enjoy” it.
11:33 – I arrive at the ceremonial viewing pavilion and meet my guide. Though a local(ish, from New Jersey), she is well-versed in the strange customs of soccer fans. To the point that she has gone somewhat native and dressed in a traditional “jersey” for “Team USA.” I suspect it’s a response to trauma suffered from ten years surrounded by absurdly fat people in the Army.
11:42 – My guide explains that one must have “soccer friends,” upon whom we await, to chant in tongues with at the television. I feel tense excitement, and slightly hungry.
11:51 – My guide orders a Boddingtons. I am immediately suspicious. I order a Goose Island. Because I am a patriot.
11:56 – National Anthem. Fuck yeah. I have an erection.
11:58 – Coin toss. For a moment of confusion and elation I think we might be watching real football. My hopes are dashed when I quickly realize there are no obese people on steroids to be seen on the field.
12:00 – Here we go.
12:02 – Something almost happened. A ball was kicked. People yelled. My guide shouted “Tried to make it fancy!” in a smug voice. No idea.
12:05 – People are clapping. My guide says something about someone named Howard.
12:19 – Bunch of stuff happened. I was eating a cheeseburger. No points were scored, so I dunno what the fuck everybody was yelling about. The dude in green by the net had a bunch of balls kicked at him or something. The burger was eh. Morale low.
12:21 – USA almost makes a goal point. But they don’t. The crowd goes wild.
12:25 – Is that Clay Matthews?
12:28 – One of the US players ran into the ref. Bam! Right into him. Hilarious. Zero points.
12:31 – Are these people going to wildly applaud every time somebody almost scores?
12:40 – Yes. Yes they are. Shit.
12:46 – It’s supposed to be halftime, but now there’s a little “+1” next to the clock. So I guess there’s an extra minute now? Is this that metric system I keep hearing about?
12:47 – Okay, now it’s halftime. My guide tells my there will not be a show featuring Aerosmith. Morale improving.
12:58 – My guide and her friend are discussing the other teams in the tournament and the various combinations of wins, losses, and total goals that would result in the US advancing to the next round. Sports should not involve math more complicated than most of the players can do. Oh god I need more beer.
1:03 – And we’re back.
1:05 – One of the TV announcers said the phrase “doing anything he can to get him off.” Tee hee!
1:12 – Well fuck. We’re down 1-0. I take solace in the fact that Germany has a tradition of leading with strong victories before crumbling completely late in the game. Or maybe that’s just in war.
1:20 – One of the refs held up a yellow Post-It note and now everyone is furious.
1:22 – A German guy hurt an American guy and everybody cheered. So it’s a good thing? Man, fuck this sport.
1:31 – Two US players slammed their heads into each other. I know how they feel.
1:33 – Bobby McFerrin is taken out of the game.
1:38 – Apparently Portugal scored another goal against Ghana in their game. Everybody is going apeshit. I’m frightened as the natives grow more wild and animalistic in their orgiastic revelry over a dude with stupid hair kicking a ball into a net during a game we’re not watching.
1:41 – People fell down. Wild cheering. This is getting old.
1:46 – My guide is screaming obscenities at the TV. German guy fell down. Two minute warning.
1:48 – The ninety minutes of the game are up. But there is still another “+4” to play…? Seriously, fuck the metric system.
1:51 – So close. Twice.
1:53 – We lost. But we still advance to the next round. Because Portugal beat Ghana 2-1, which caused the pitcher to throw to the first baseman when he was too far from the base to make a play against the runner, constituting a balk. Or…wait…more…math? Fuck it. Rewarding people for failing? This is why our country is so fat and stupid, people!
The game over, I finished my beer and made the long, weary trek the three blocks back to my apartment (stopping to pick up some toilet paper and an iced green tea). I would say that my time among the soccer people changed me, but it would be a lie. Because I still don’t give a shit. I need a nap. Wake me up when it’s time for the World Series.