The Bones of What We Believe: the Ebb and Flow of a Soccer Match

The Bones of What We Believe: the Ebb and Flow of a Soccer Match

If you are able, take both of your hands and stretch your fingers wide. Make your hands as big as possible, feeling skin and tendons stretch. Then bring them together slowly, clasping the two opposing sets together. See the way each fingertip advances well beyond its mate. Now try to let your longest finger touch the opposing wrist. Barring you have extremely long fingers, you will find it a difficult task no matter how much you force it one way or another. This is, in the simplest of ways, how soccer works.

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Nobody Cares About Your World Cup

Nobody Cares About Your World Cup

Sunday brings the start of the 22nd World Cup. You know, that soccer tournament played every four years by national teams. Anyway, it’s in Qatar, which most people couldn’t identify on a map, much less knew it existed before recent years. It will end on December 18th with the Final, what will end up the most watched sporting event of the calendar year, or maybe all-time. The United States is back in the tournament for the first time since 2014, and yet the buzz around the World Cup feels about as low as I can remember.

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Why Your Kid Hates Sports

There may have been a better title for this, but I’m not going to spend a crap-ton of time mulling that over. I’m not a headline writer nor do I have one at my disposal.

Do I think my kids hate sports? Hate is such a strong word, but I’m sure they do not appreciate them like I do. In fact, I’m not sure within the past 30 or so years of two wives, two different families and my own family anyone likes sports as much as I do. I spent a considerable amount of time watching football by myself at various Thanksgivings. Of course, my first marriage was into a family of scholars and scientists and for Thanksgiving they brought out flow charts and graphs about their latest work (I’m not kidding). Brilliant people, but criminy it’s Thanksgiving. As such, the TV became my friend… but not the Lions, never the Lions.

Okay, the only person who ever had the same zeal for sports that I have was my father. That’s where I got it from. Whatever team I wanted to win; he’d want the other. That was the nature of our relationship. He was certainly athletic, one of those multi-sport high school stars who ran roughshod over his opponents. He was good. Country good as he grew up on a farm, but not Jerry Sloan country good. That’s a far higher level.

Back to my kids. They were treated to a ton of games as they grew up. I was in advertising, and one of my clients for five years was WSCR The Score. So yeah, we went to a lot of games. While my fandom was certainly sated, I think I completely overwhelmed them.

But they played sports. Not as much as I did. I had something to prove – that I could beat my dad in basketball. Even though baseball was my favorite sport, it’s too hard to beat another individual at it and frankly he was a better hitter than I. No, I picked basketball. It took a lot of effort, and finally when I was 14 or so I beat him at HORSE. I know it hurt him as he was not the best at sportsmanship. Pretty sure he accused me of cheating. But that was normal. Accusations of cheating caused us to stop playing cards and board games when I was growing up. I was 9 when we stopped.

Not me and my daughter, but for a short period it could have been. Bad News Bears – Paramount – 1976.


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The Clock is Your Friend, Soccer

I am a fan of the Premier League Football team Tottenham Hotspur. However, I am not necessarily a zealous fan of football/futbol/soccer for one particular reason – the clock. Fine, I can handle players falling like bowling pins every time they feel a breeze go by from an opposing player. I can handle them laying on the pitch for five minutes writhing in pain grabbing whatever body part they felt was injured… and then getting up and playing some more.

OK, I can barely handle that. That’s dumb. Drag them off the field and get on with it.

What vexes me as much as Wisconsin drivers using the left lane like it’s their Sunday drive is clock management… or lack of clock management. Time was created by man, so let’s use it, shall we? When a player is egregiously fouled by an opposing player by something as awful as a tap on the shoulder and falls into a fetal position onto the field as if someone took their blankie? The clock keeps ticking time off the regulation 45 minute half. Doesn’t seem fair right?

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