Soccer….Family Style


To Boo or Not to Boo, That is the Question
July 10, 2010, 4:09 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

If you watched the World Cup game on ABC, you may have heard the commentators debating the appropriateness of the stadium crowd booing.  Uruguay’s Suarez, the player who’s handball denied a late goal that would have allowed Ghana to advance instead of Uruguay. It’s a debate taking place on Twitter, my facebook wall, but fortunately, my husband and I agree on this one.

If you traveled to South Africa this year, you couldn’t miss the “Africa United” campaign, which I think is great. Judging by the fans reaction, I’d say this was a successful attempt to unite African nations to feel like all of Africa was hosting, and all of Africa would cheer for African teams. You could certainly feel South Africa’s adoration for Ghana in the stadium during #RSA, I mean #GHA vs #USA.

And if you’re like me, you liked the booing. I like virtually any unified fan response. As the former player commentators (Harkes, Lalas) both came out in support of the booing. Suarez is a big boy, and he’s a professional player, it’s not like he’s going to be harmed by knowing the home crowd didn’t like him. This was a sustained, dedicated fan response that didn’t involve a vuvuzela. The only way this could be improved for me is if they had written a song about Suarez and sung it all game.

But if you’re not like me, answer me this: You’ve NEVER booed at the sports game? Never done a cheer or song that was less than positive? Never done the goal kick hum followed by “Your socks have holes!” (That’s what they’re shouting, right mama?) If that’s the case, than you can argue against me. If you can’t say that, then it’s time to leave your glass house.

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Luis Suárez is Wrecking My Marriage

Luis Suárez is causing trouble in my marriage. I realize there are many women who watch soccer based on which teams have the hottest players. I’m not one of those women. It’s not that I can’t appreciate a good hottie, but it’s not really a motivating factor in my passion for soccer.

However, there is a player that has finally come between my husband and I, and it is Mr. Suárez. You may know him better as that cheater from Uruguay  that handled the ball on the goal line, denying the goal by Ghana in the 90th minute.

Richard Whittall wrote an article that FIFA was considering extending the one game suspension Suárez received for his ejection to a tournament suspension. This article provoked quite the argument at our house, because in a house with 2 referees, that’s bound to happen eventually.

My position on referees has been long established: you have to suck up who you get, but my position on cheaters was battled out today. I think it’s that now I’m not just a referee, I’m a mom too, and cheaters really, really suck. I can’t stand them. The diving, the feigning injury, even the German goalkeeper pretending that the ball wasn’t in the net when he knew it was against England…all unacceptable. But the handball on the goal line is cheating at it’s worst form. Just ask any American that’s been a fan since before 2002, it is an awful way to leave a World Cup.

My husband’s position is that the referee made the right call (red card and PK in favor of Ghana) and that it’s Ghana’s problem that they didn’t capitalize on the penalty kick. And yes, they should have. But it doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s cheating that affected the outcome of the game. I’m happy that at least in this case, the referee got the call right, but don’t you feel cheated that Ghana’s going home? I know most of South Africa does. There’s no fairness in the result of that game.

So frankly, I don’t care that justice was served in the eyes of FIFA. It’s a cheap way to go home, and I’d be happier if Luis Suárez was going home on the same plane as Ghana (now THERE’S some justice!) Since that won’t happen, I’ll pray to the gods of soccer justice, the same gods that graced Landon Donovan in extra time for the US, sending us through in spite of being dealt some lame referee luck. Netherlands: Send Uruguay home on July 6! Maybe then I’ll feel like speaking to my husband again.

Zulu falls under the Bantu family of languages and is one of eleven
official languages of South Africa. Zulu is the language of the Zulu people and is spoken by
approximately ten million people. About 24% of the South African
population speaks Zulu and over 50% of the population understands Zulu,
making it the most common language of South Africa.


Back in the USA
July 3, 2010, 9:52 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , ,

We survived the 30 hours of flying it takes to get from South Africa to Des Moines and I’m mostly over travel fatigue and jet lag. My husband came down with a 104 fever, which we discovered is the FASTEST way to get into a walk in clinic: “I have a 104 fever and just returned from the World Cup in South Africa.” Fortunately, his wacky South African disease responded just fine to antibiotics, and I’m finally getting caught up with this blog!

The kids mauled us when we got back and it was about 48 hours of mutual adoration. We’ve settled back into the family summer routine, and the kids have accepted that when the World Cup is on, the parents are only available for emergencies, and there will probably be loud shouting at the television. The one piece of soccer culture they have passionately adopted is the vuvuzela. Our 7-1/2 year old daughter has learned how to blow it perfectly, and her almost 3 year old brother can make plenty of noise in his own, unsanctioned way.

There was an intense withdrawal period returning to the US after spending 3 weeks at the World Cup. You can talk all you want that the USA Round of 16 game had a 50% increase in viewers over previous World Cup, but the reality is that America has a long way to go before it’s pleasant for a soccer fan to be here for a World Cup. I have found that discussions with non-soccer fans range from painful to infuriating, so I try to avoid the “World Cup isn’t actually over” discussion altogether.

I have found Amici Espresso, which while it’s not a bar, does have the games on and a decent crowd of educated fans, and since the “late” game is on at 1:30 PM Iowa time, coffee is probably more appropriate anyway. The backstory is that Amici is tied to Kum and Go (yes, that’s really their name), which is tied to the Des Moines Menace, which is all related back to Kyle Krause (Kum and Go CEO), who may be the one person in Des Moines who is a bigger soccer than Doug and I, although I would argue that he is just better financed. Either way, if you love soccer in Des Moines, you should be filling your car at Kum and Go.

It’s good to be home, even if it feels like a foreign land while the Cup is still on.




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