The Stone City

Words Made to Last

Friday, August 11, 2006

Not My Favorite

Pejman Yousefzadeh, though he has kindly provided me an excellent home at Chequer-Board, has a strange blind spot -- an inexplicable love of soccer. Respect for truth compels me to admit that soccer is not "world's most boring sport"; that honor belongs to cricket, where twenty-two men stand on a field for five days constructing draws from a negative binomial distribution.

Despite not reaching this pinnacle, soccer is a pointless game and a useless spectator sport. Its many and glaring flaws have been perfectly showcased by the risible and shameful World Cup just passed.

Who can forget Portugal's antics against England, with one forward writhing on the ground, hands over his face like Gloucester in King Lear, when replays showed he had not been touched?

Or three red cards in two minutes in the U.S.-Italy game?

Or two quarters and the final being decided by highly paid grown men tossing a coin with their toes? Forza Italia! To the penalty line!

A game that is about manipulating the referees, about faking injuries, and at the last about a 30-second near-stationary test of luck is always going to be less than spellbinding.

[Expanded from a comment at Chequer-Board.]