Boomer Girl: Lost in translation — the World Cup appeal
July 1, 2010
I'm sorry, World Cup fans, I just don't see the appeal.
It's not the cup, per se. I appreciate large-scale international competitions — the coming together of nations on the field of battle
Especially when the battle is void of guns and the field is mine-free.
It's the game I don't get.
Honestly, I think watching 80-year-old men ice fishing on Lake Superior in January might be more interesting.
My younger colleagues in the newsroom (who, as I struggle to compose this column, are screaming and jumping up and down after a USA goal against Algeria) don't understand my apathy. I guess it's a generational thing.
Unlike them, I didn't grow up with soccer. It wasn't something baby boomers played in gym class in the 1960s. Back then, we went to "Phys Ed" to learn "lifetime sports" like square dancing, tinikling (think jump rope with bamboo sticks), dodgeball, freeze tag, red rover and, of course, that rainy day classic: thumbs up, seven up. (Note to self: Consider playing TUSU at next dinner soirée with plenty of 7 & 7 cocktails. Woo-hoo! Retro boomer theme party!)
The closest I ever came to playing soccer was kicking a Folgers can to the curb, after the neighborhood kids ditched me while playing Kick the Can, my sad but true recurring childhood trauma.
There I'd be, sitting on the can, counting to 100 with my eyes closed and, instead of hiding in the bushes, my so-called little pals were quietly sneaking into their homes for the night, mocking me under their Chiclet-scented breath. (Suburbia can be a cruel world. It's a wonder I survived.)
But, I digress.
I bore two kids in the early 1980s and was, therefore, obligated to become a soccer mom.
With a mini-van packed with blankets, backpacks and a cooler full of juice boxes and "healthy snacks" (which were not supposed to be Kit Kat bars, as I was once informed by a particularly nasty food-Nazi mother), I sat by a freshly mown field, inhaling unhealthy amounts of ragweed pollen, watching my offspring go through the motions.
They weren't that into it, either.
The boy was always more concerned about the aesthetics of the game — the shoes and socks he was wearing, how his shadow moved on the ground behind him when he ran.
My daughter was (unfortunately, like her mother) directionally challenged, running the opposite way of her teammates on offense. Still, that didn't give one obnoxious parent the right to yell from the sidelines, "You're kicking it the wrong way!!" She was in kindergarten, for crying out loud.
Ironically, both of my now-adult children are huge fans of soccer today.
My son, now a killer on the kickball field by some accounts, is a World Cup fanatic, although this may have something to do with bars opening at 9 a.m. for early matches.
The girl, who can sprint down the aisles of Sephora with the best of them, can't understand my indifference to the game.
"Mom, are you crazy? Hot, sweaty guys in shorts! What's not to love?" she'll say.
Maybe that's a sure sign I'm getting old. Ripped bodies and seemingly limitless stamina notwithstanding, these guys do nothing but run around — back and forth, up and down on the field — sometimes for 90 minutes before scoring a goal! I need pay-offs, people! Like in basketball. Or tennis (that crazy Isner-Mahut Wimbledon match excepted.)
And, it's not like we can see the players' muscular thighs or rippling biceps, ringing with sweat. They're moving too fast and are too far away from the camera on that enormous playing field.
Not to mention, the noise from those godforsaken vuvuzelas!
My tinnitus is bad enough. Why would I want more buzzing in my ears? And, what's with the name "vuvuzela" anyway? I realize it's a cultural thing and should be respected as such, but it sounds like something your OB-GYN would write a prescription for.
Still, it's summer. Life is slow, and news from the Gulf gets worse by the day.
I'm for anything that breaks monotony, brings people together (even in bars at 9 a.m.) and takes our collective mind off our troubled waters.
Maybe I'll give soccer and the World Cup another chance. And if there's not enough action for me at the local pub, I will lead my fellow fans in a rousing game of "thumbs up, seven up."
Vuvuzelas prohibited without a note from your doctor.