Monday, July 16, 2018

Soccalypse is Over!

And, oh boy, did we get smashed.

The current standings are—drum roll, please!—Soccer 262, Yankees 145.

But at least we have we have the Top Ten best things that did NOT happen in the 2018 World Cup:

10.  By not qualifying, the U.S. did NOT lose an embarrassing match to somebody like Iran.

9.  The Russians did NOT win it.  (Somebody's off to the gulag.)

8.  The Russians did NOT poison a single person with radiation of one sort or another.  (Ditto.)

7.  The games were NOT played in December, in a mythical Persian Gulf country. (That's for 2022.)

6.  Canada was NOT in the World Cup. (That will come in the 2026, NAFTA World Cup.)

5.  England did NOT win the World Cup, so we didn't have to hear their stupid, mindless chant repeated over and over again.

4.  Croatia did NOT win the World Cup, so that we didn't have to hear their fans roar their old Utasha chant.  (Besides, the fascists have won enough the past few years.)

3.  Germany did NOT win, so we didn't have to hear anything more about "the Mannschaft," which I think was also the name of a gay leather bar in the Village, back in the seventies.

2.  Iceland did NOT win, so we didn't have to endure anymore of their Viking thunderclaps, which would have caused real Vikings to run you through, if you ever tried it in their presence.

1.  France did NOT win in the lifetime of Marcel Marceau, so we were spared his imitation of a man scoring on a penalty kick against the wind.


Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...

I watched some of the Cup games. My memory from years gone by (of previous Cups) is not all that good; it's just not as important to me as what Mickey Mantle did in 1964, Chris Chambliss's HR in the playoff game, or even Aaron Boone's HR in '03.

Note that my initial foray into sports writing, in upstate NY, featured covering a lot of small-college soccer games. I knew nothing about "football" when I grew up in Brooklyn -- typically, what was kicked in that borough was, well, somebody's ass. But I learned.

Based on that miniscule knowledge, and some observing, it seemed to me that the Acting this year -- the falling down, the rolling over in pain, the whining, the imploring, the playing-dead-and-then-coming-instantly-back-to-life thing --

-- is vastly better than it was in the past. That is to say, these guys have got it down pat. Everyone is on to it except (a) the bogus broadcasters, and (b) the referees.

SO: Some things ARE improving for humans on this planet. When the aliens come for a visit, we can tell them -- ignore all the dead elephants and rhinos, starving children and crapping on the ground, etc. -- just look at our collective international ability to draw a foul!

HoraceClarke66 said...

I have to admit to actually liking soccer—from time to time.

The public high school I went to was so small, we couldn't even field an American (real) football team, and so just played soccer in the fall. We usually won, too, because the best athletes on the other, much bigger schools we played were on the (other) gridiron.

Of course, nobody, including our coach, really knew much about the game. We specialized in trying to be more "fit" than the other guys, leaving a rock-strewn strip down the middle of our field, and getting the ball in front of the other team's goal, by throw-in or corner kick.

A mad scramble would ensue, the other team's goalkeeper would go down, and the ball would end up in the net. The ref, confronted with about ten or twenty possible penalties to call, would signal goal. We would limp off the pitch with scraped knees imbedded with rocks, and another win.

With that background, I really kind of enjoy the World Cup every four years, much as I like the Olympics.

The regular, highly contrived MLS, with its normal, dull soccer play, and teams with names copied from other countries? Not so much.

KD said...

why do they call it a "penalty" kick when there is no penalty involved? why don't they keep playing the game until somebody, you know, actually wins the damn thing? such a stupid way to determine a winner. worse even than starting extra innings with a runner already on second.

Alibi Ike said...

Naw, KD, starting a runner on 2B is pretty fucking stupid. Cosmically stupid.

HoraceClarke66 said...

I agree, guys.

Right now, taking penalty kicks is the stupidest tie-breaker ever invented in the history of man—particularly for such big games.

Since a well-executed penalty kick cannot be stopped, you're essentially depending on somebody screwing up. It's as if you decided the seventh game of the World Series by having batters hit fungoes out of their hands. When somebody dribbles one into the infield,,,VICTORY!

There are or good be about a million better ideas for breaking ties in soccer.

Take a man off each team every few minutes, do away with the offside rule in such situations, have 3 on 2 "shootouts" the way they used to do in the old NASL.

Some years ago, they had a (limited) sudden-death overtime in the World Cup. They called it "the golden goal," and it was very popular. Then they deep-sixed it.

The big fear is that soccer can be so defensive, you could just play endlessly and wear everybody out. The answer to that is to allow free substitution in the sudden death periods. But they prefer penalties...

KD said...

Silly me. I thought "penalties" occur whenever players break rules and get caught. but in soccer it's a "penalty" the have a tie score at the end of regulation. what a concept!

here's my idea to fix that game: make the goal wider and taller. make it that much easier to score and the games might actually become interesting to watch.

i'd also institute some kind of penalty for players that fall down and fake injury. I guess you can't call it a "penalty". Call it a "mandated recovery period". Since the player was howling in pain mere moments before, he obviously needs to take a little breather. He gets to sit on the bench and recuperate for 10 minutes while a teammate subs for him. then we might see an end to that stupid play-acting that intrudes on a sincere athletic contest.

Local Bargain Jerk said...

I was exposed to soccer in a serious way in 1986, a World Cup year, when I lived in Europe. I was appalled by the phony dives.

I would stand up at a "watching party" and scream "Get UP! Why does everyone tolerate this?" I asked my European friends, "Since when is it ok to lie supine or prostrate on the ground, in front of your opponent? Doesn't this mean that the guy on the ground has been conquered by the guy who remains standing, at least symbolically?" They assured me that it was a cultural thing and that as an American I couldn't possibly understand.

They were right. It is acceptable in their culture and I'll never understand why.

My suggestion to them then and my suggestion now is that FIFA should adopt a rule used by the NFL: If a player is injured such that the injury causes play to be interrupted (i.e., the clock stops), he must leave the field for one play. Since there's no "one play" in soccer, my alternative was that he must leave the field, be substituted for, and then he may return without penalty during the next naturally occurring substitution opportunity (e.g,. goal kick, etc.). It's a relatively effective means of discouraging the practice of stopping play via a faked injury.

If deployed by FIFA, the pathetic diving would stop instantly.

Culturally, however, I'm not sure they want it to stop.


Local Bargain Jerk said...

1. France did NOT win in the lifetime of Marcel Marceau, so we were spared his imitation of a man scoring on a penalty kick against the wind.

I had the good fortune to see Marcel Marceau here in Rhode Island not too long before he died a few years back. A friend of mine's father was a professor of theater at a college in this state and he got us tickets. It was amazing.

EXCEPT, there was a clueless woman sitting behind us who talked the entire time. It's one thing to sit and speak out loud at any theatrical performance but, at Marcel Marceau where there's no sound from the stage to provide some cover? She was one of those people who don't understand the difference between thinking and speaking and just says out loud whatever pops into their helium- and dust-filled heads.

It is my gift in this life to be assured that such people will always sit behind me in a theater.

At the end of the show, her summary review was as follows:

     I would have enjoyed it more if they had spoken.

I turned around and stared at her for 10 full seconds so that I would never forget her face. Then I buried my own face in my hands.

Local Bargain Jerk said...

BTW, the being blown backward by the wind part was done once during the show I saw.

Other parts of his performance knocked my socks off, especially when he played all parts of a scene in which a man was on trial for his life. Using different spotlights to cover his moves around the "courtroom", he played the Prosecutor, Defense Attorney, Defendant, Defendant's Mother, Judge, etc.

At the end of the piece, the Defendant was found guilty. While his "mother" wailed hysterically (and silently), the Defendant was led to the gallows. He also played the executioner. Watching Marceau create an image of a man swinging at the end of a hangman's rope until his death is something I'll never forget.

Street mimes tend to be annoying as hell. This was astonishing.

Isiyku Abdulahi said...

I really want the world to know about this great man who brought back happiness into my life again after my husband left me and the kids 3 years ago for another women online when i contacted Dr Believe he cast a love spell for me within 48 hours my ex husband start calling me and begging for forgiveness for everything that have happened between us. I was so happy to have my family back together with love again here is the email of Dr Believe via a man with the great powers you can also call him or add him on Whats-app: +2348156148821
God bless you
I am very grateful for your help in my marriage.