With the World Cup almost upon us, I'm going to leave most of the snark to the radio contrarians and the professional xenophobes who, every four years, decide to become that guy at the end of the bar from whom everybody edges away. (Soccer fans are insular and arrogant? Really? Ever sat at a table full of baseball writers?) I'm going to tell you why I'm happy it's almost here.
Yes, it's a function of a time differential and all, but the fact remains that, for a month, I can get up in the morning and watch a toweringly important sporting event live on my television set. What are the alternatives? The 23rd re-run of the previous night's late SportsCenter? The live television broadcast of a radio talk-show? (Can't they at least hit each other with pies?) Phooey, as we say around the docks of Blogistan. Give me actual games -- which, you old folks may recall, used to be why we had television sports in the first place.
I certainly will root for the good ol' USA against those scrimey Brits (Up The Republic!), but I usually adopt one other nation besides my own because my own, well, let's just say we're all rooting for a Really Good Showing. So, I ask the soccerphiles out there -- who's my other team? I need them to be good, and I need them to be entertaining in a way that I, in my ignorance, can appreciate. I'm leaning right now toward the Ivory Coast -- especially if Didier Drogba really tries to play with a broken arm. They even have a blog, which I am finding very useful, even when Alliteration Tourette's strikes and it starts talking about diving into the depths of dark despair. (The Shaq effect? Interesting.) They are, after all, in The Group Of Death, so they won't be running into the USA any time soon. I like the fact that they are called the Elephants and that their coach is named Sven. Any reason why I shouldn't go that way?