Friday, December 3, 2010

World Cup Soccer Has Balls

I may have mentioned at various times that I am fond of football-actually what we here in The Land of the Round Doorknobs call 'soccer.' I do NOT, as has been rumored, call in 'well' to work on days in past World Cups when the Deutsche National Elf or Team USA have been engaged in matches, but that's beside the point. When you stop by my desk on those days, you had better have a really good reason to be talking to me, like, I don't know, the building is on fire, Claudia Schiffer is auditioning tonsil hockey partners, something on that magnitude.

That's why, and I appreciate George Vecsey's admonition, I will sulk dammit about Qatar hosting the the 2022 World Cup. And, for the record, me and Sepp Blatter will NOT be going shoe shopping anytime soon (wow! That link is a little extreme, yipes!). Okay, now I'm over it.

There are over six billion really good reasons why the International Federation of Association Football, FIFA, should attempt to spread their sport to the farthest corners of the globe (and based on the note,"Editing of this article by new or unregistered users is currently disabled until December 8, 2010 due to vandalism", I guess 'carrying a grudge' transcends language barriers.) and between now and 2022, we'll hear each them at least twice.

Qatar is the smallest country to ever host the World Cup. They themselves have never in the history of the World Championships qualified to play in a single World Cup match. The temperature in June and July in Qatar averages 96 degrees, Fahrenheit, with highs in excess of 120. You can look this all up here. Did you know the FIVB will hold the Women's World Championships there next week? Brought to us by Coopertone suntan lotion and London Fog raincoats. Spike! Spike! Oh, serve first! Sorry.

All over the world, since yesterday afternoon, footballers have been watching this clip and asking themselves, WTFO? The good news is that no one on the pitch during this match will still be playing in 2022, except maybe for the New York Red Bulls or FC Dallas in the MLS. Which will work out well for David Beckham who may not be still playing by that point though it's even money he'll be mayor of Los Angeles.

The bad news is that when the world gets to Qatar and 2022, assuming both of those things actually happen, US soccer fans will still be as ignorant of the world's game as we are today. But hopefully we'll have learned some manners-and behave at least as civilly as the epitome of sportsmaship, the French National team, did in South Africa.

Look at it this way, the 1.1 million Qataris (rhymes with Ataris, I believe) have a decade to learn what "hooligan" is in their native tongue. And the Nivkheret Yisra'el BeKaduregel doesn't have to worry about where they place in their UEFA qualifying matches because the only way they'll be going to Qatar is if hell freezes over and they skate from Tel Aviv.
-bill kenny

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