Soccer, Softball, & LeBron

I may have mentioned that I’m not a huge fan of soccer and determined that the reason is because I didn’t understand the rules. Then Lydia gets heavily involved, claiming as her favorite sport, so Diane and I have been going to lots of games. I learned that those in attendance, who understand what’s going on, are more than happy to share what they know which is handy because I’m not shy about sharing my ignorance of the game. I’ve learned a lot and, on my very own, determined that soccer is more about strategy than anything else. I could be a wrong determination, but I like it because it makes sense. Having a little talent in how to pass the ball back and forth helps in the overall process of advancing the ball down the incredibly huge field with the intention of getting it past the opposing goalie.

Then, along came the World Cup. Everyone got in a frenzy when the US made it past some big soccer countries, advancing passed the first rounds. It was amazing to watch it unfold. It’s hard to not get caught up in all the hoopla because it’s a little infectious.I resisted, however, as did Diane, and we stumbled across an ESPN channel where Team USA was involved in another kind of World Cup.

It was softball. Much more fun to watch because things actually happen. We found it very peaceful to sit in our recliners and watch the USA ladies advance through the ranks and make it to the title game.

We watched them squeak by Canada in one of the early rounds 5-3 last Thursday, then got all comfy to watch the USA-Japan game Friday evening. Although ESPN programming indicated the game was scheduled to view, they apparently found it far more important to blister the airwaves with a table full of analysts giving their unwanted and unnecessary opinions about where Lebron James would choose to play basketball next season.

Seriously, who gives a rip? Folks in Cleveland do, I’m sure, but to pre-empt the USA vs. Japan game in favor of conjecture seemed to be a bit of over-kill, in my humble opinion. We checked the channel every once in a while, but the softball game was never shown. It was disappointing. I kept track of the score via the internet, but finding a source for that information was not easy. Apparently it wasn’t a big deal to anyone but us. In case you’re interested, our USA Ladies won that game 8-1. It would have been fun to watch.

Then, yesterday, they played against Mexico at 10 am. We didn’t get to watch that game, either, but it wasn’t ESPN’s fault. We simply had to honor a commitment to help clean up in and around our church. It would have been a good one to watch, though, because USA only won 3-2. But, they won and advanced their record to 5-0. Yesterday evening they played again at 5 pm against Chinese Taipei. We watched that one and it was a sad day for Taipei. The USA was home team so lead off and our first two batters were hit by the pitcher. So, two pitches and we had two on base. It just got worse from there. The score was 10-0 after 2 innings and was stopped after 4 innings when it went to 14-0. That win put USA at 6-0 with a chance to win it all against Canada this morning in the title game.

We didn’t get to watch that one, either, because we went to church. But, I kept track and learned that Our Girls beat Canada 5-2.

So, USA wins!

Just for the record, we suffered through the last 15 minutes of the Germany vs. Argentina World Cup finals, watching the clock creep past the 90 minute mark, then 100, until around the 113th minute, or so, and FINALLY!, Germany scored. I didn’t actually care who scored, but it was gratifying to see that one of the teams did. It was quite a celebration with Germany fans jumping up and down all over the place and Argintina fans sobbing about the loss.

I’ll say it again, that I’m not a real fan of soccer, but I have to admit that single goal was a thing of beauty. The way the ball was kicked in from the left, fielded with a chest bump, then kicked deftly passed the goalie before it could hit the ground was pretty awesome.

Kinda makes you forget about the previous 2 hours of 0-0 and confirms my thinking that soccer games shouldn’t have their clocks count up to 90, but count down to 0, just like other games that use clocks. I think there’d be more of a sense of urgency by the players if they could hear the crowd chanting, “5 … 4 … 3 … 2 …1 …0’, as the clock times out. Instead, it’s “87 … 88 … 89 … 90”, plus whatever the referees determine to be added to the clock for stoppage of play (I think). Most of those are caused, I’ve learned, from some very, and not so very, convincing drama by the players.

I especially liked the guy that bites other players. That’s a nice way to promote the sport, don’t you think? Wonder how many kids he has.

Jennifer, Lydia, and Jeran visited us this afternoon to recap their fun stay at Camp Tadmor this past week. They arrived with a DVD of all the events so we watched it and had to agree it is a pretty awesome place. In order to watch it, however, I had to hurk a DVD player up from the basement, after finding the remote, and connect it to the TV. Our old sound system had a DVD player, but it had a stroke and died quite dramatically a few months ago. We’ve been trying to save money for a new one, so we can hear the TV, but dentist and medical events seem to be more important. One of these days all our teeth will be gone and we can get one.

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