I have to admit that the World Cup has generated more interest among my friends than I would have imagined. Everyone's posting about it on Facebook, a lot of people are changing their avatars to either the U.S. flag or that of their ancestral homeland, and some are even getting up at ridiculously early hours to watch games that have nothing to do with either of the aforementioned places.
That last one--taking time to watch games played by countries with which they have no ties, throws me for a loop, because it flies in the face of the theory I was formulating this week. When I first saw all this World Cup buzz, my question was this: Are they truly soccer fans, or are they simply fans of the USA, who will embrace things like curling when it's on during the Olympics simply out of national pride?
Me, I've had an on again/off again relationship with soccer; I loved the indoor Sidekicks when they played here in Dallas (and even did a radio report on their triumphant return to DFW Airport after winning the league title), and I've seen a few students play high school games here and there. I went to an FC Dallas game back when they were the Dallas Burn (and, playing in the wide-open Cotton Bowl, "burn" was what happened to your skin after the game).
But my personal experience has been minimal. Youth soccer hadn't exploded when I was a kid, and I'm too far away from Austin to see my nephew play. I realize that it's "the only true international sport" and all that, but I'm not alone in not having been bitten by the bug yet.
I could trot out the stereotype: You sit there for a few hours getting all excited about a single goal being scored, or occasionally a 0-0 tie. Yet others might point out that I'm a big fan of baseball, a game which is also disparaged by many for its lack of action (at least in comparison to football and basketball). But maybe the difference is that I've actually played baseball. Oh, and baseball can't end in a 0-0 tie. (I'm just sayin'.)
So I'm sure that I'll tune in for something before long; I have more free time in the summer than during the school year, and I have a nice TV now. But I doubt you'll catch me getting up at 6 a.m. to watch Spain play Ivory Coast.
Have you watch a World Cup game yet? If not, are you planning to do so? Take your shot (heh) in the comments.