Monday, May 08, 2006

How to follow the World Cup.

People talk about the Super Bowl being the world's biggest sporting event; it's not. It's kind of funny, really. How many people watch the Super Bowl ? Maybe 180 million. They always talk about how it's being BROADCAST to 2 billion people, or so.
Well, they can broadcast it to the moons of Mars (which are Delos and Phebos, by the way).. doesn't mean people watch it.
Well, the World Cup final will be watched by perhaps 2.5 or 3 BILLION people - that's 20 times the people who watch the Super Bowl. Soccer is the only true worldwide language. Remote ice stations in the arctic, desert huts in the Sahara, European bars, South American houses, and New Zealand farmers will all be doing the same thing on July 9th - trying to figure out why the Brazilians have such odd names. "Mary, what the hell is a Kaka ?"
Besides that, there are things that Americans can do to follow and support their and other teams.

1. Watch the games - ESPN will show each and every game, and it won't be hard to find them.

2. Go to a bar during a game. You think people who tailgate are fans ? Try checking out a bar on a World Cup viewing day.

3. If your town has unique ethnic neighborhoods - Little Italy, neighborhoods with hispanic immigrants, Germans, Carribeans, Poles, etc.. try to visit them when their countries are playing. It's a wonderful visceral experience of ethnic pride.

4. Find your team. No matter where you live now, someone's grandparents or great-grandparents or Uncle came from a country represented. Learn about your roots.

5. If you like rooting for the powerful teams, follow Brazil. If you like tragic loss (ie the Red Sox), Spain is your side. You say you like passion and flair ? Meet Italy. Fan of the underdog, are you ? Choose any of the 4-time African teams, or perhaps Ukraine, Australia or the great tin drums of Trinidad and Tobago.