I love sports. And I'm really easy to please. I'll watch anything. Full disclosure: I'm one of those guys who got into curling during the Winter Olympics. I was on the edge of my seat going, "Swiffer that ice faster! Swiffer that ice faster!"
Sadly, in spite of my heroic efforts, I just can't get into the World Cup. It hurts me to say it, but I think it's . . . kind of lame. Futbol fans of the world, you may send your hate mail to michaelshowalter.net.
Where to begin? Well, let's start with the goal scoring, or should I say "not-goal" scoring. I thought these guys were the best in the world. Why can't they score a goal? I mean, I'm not much of a soccer player myself -- and I'm very, very slow, to boot -- but I'm pretty sure that if I were out there, I'd be scoring goals left and right. But these guys can't hit the side of the barn!
My suggestion: Make the goals bigger. How much bigger? Slightly bigger than the side of the barn.
And what about all the acting out there? Whenever one of them falls down, they clutch their legs and roll around on the grass like they've been shot. The acting performances in the World Cup give the cast of "Mad Men" a serious run for their money.
My suggestion: They should give out acting awards in addition to trophies at the end of the tournament: "Best Faked Injury in Soccer Game"; "Best Clutching of the Ankle"; "Best Cry of Pain".
And what about the officiating? There are barely any goals scored as it is and whenever one is scored, the officials call it off! To make it worse, they're never right. They have giant jumbo screens on the field and everyone in the stands can see when the referees have a missed a call, yet the referees themselves won't make a correction. Even with 80,000 drunken Brits screaming at them. I heard that's what the Revolutionary War was like: 80,000 drunken Brits screaming at you.
Apparently, FIFA, the World Cup governing body, is opposed to using technology in their officiating. I can totally understand that. I mean, if they used technology, then what? Robot uprisings? Invisibility cloaks? 3G phone reception in an elevator?!
My suggestion: This is very radical, but my suggestion is that they have a referee who sits behind something called a "television" and watches the game. When a controversial call is made, this referee looks at his television and if the incorrect call was made, he corrects it. This is very radical, I know, but part of me thinks that maybe it's so crazy it just might work. Futbol fans of the world may send your hate mail to michaelshowalter.net.
Then there are the announcers-- as soon as one goal is scored, no matter how early, they start saying the game is out of reach for the other team. Can you imagine if they said that in any other sport? "The Bengals have kicked a field goal! It's over! The next three quarters are an afterthought." "The Cubs have such scored a run on a sacrifice fly. The Phillies can just pack it up now. These next eight innings are meaningless." "
My suggestion: Don't say that.
And finally, can we talk about the coaches? Is it just me, or do they all kind of look like mob hit men? These guys stalk the sideline in black suits, scowling and leering at their players. It's scary. And all the assistant coaches wear black suits, too. I'd hate to play for these guys. I can imagine the speech during halftime, "Hey Mike, you missed a head ball in the 33rd minute, let's go take a long walk to the docks." Thanks, but no thanks.
My suggestion: Smile? Be less scary? A funny hat couldn't hurt.
In conclusion: I want to like soccer and I'm going to watch the next World Cup, too, but if there's some curling on at the same time? I'm changing the channel.
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(c) 2010 Michael Showalter