Living The World Cup Life

WARNING: This post contains opening game of the World Cup spoilers.

I’m not sure where the last month has gone. I have looked high and low.  I’m sure it’s around here somewhere. It was not my intention to lose a month of blogging, but I’m reappearing briefly before disappearing again to lose myself in European adventure.

soccer ballBut not before setting out my observations on the opening game of the World Cup. If you have to ask which World Cup, you are clearly not a soccer/football fan, because there is really only one World Cup and that’s THE World Cup. Before I start, a warning to the football purists, I grew up in a soccer world. That’s right, a soccer world, not a football world. My dad was a soccer fanatic. Born of European origin he transplanted his passion for the game to his adopted country. This meant I grew up on a steady diet of weekly soccer games at which dad would discuss soccer politics and yell at the ref. He would also buy a bag of peanuts to eat during the game and at the end of the 90 minutes, we would find ourselves knee deep in peanut shells and exit the ground to the sound of underfoot shell crunch. Once at home, he would talk more soccer politics to his friends and they would solve all of the competition’s soccer ills over a few glasses of spritzer.

This is what I grew up with and to me “soccer” is the name of the world game played with the round ball. Football on the other hand was something that Aussies played with an egg shaped ball whilst chasing each other around a paddock. Commonly known as rugby – whether league or union –  that was and is the dominant sport in this country. It’s really only in the last decade or so that the term “football” has been also used to describe soccer, bringing us in line with the UK and other soccer playing English speaking nations (are there others?). So soccer it is in this post.

I have just finished watching the tail end of the opening game of the World Cup. An exciting matchup between Brazil and Croatia, with the home team coming away with the win. Love the colour, the spectacle and the knee-high socks that stay up against all odds. I might even admit to admiring the odd highly toned striker/midfielder or two, but only because of their *cough* fancy footwork, *cough* grace and *cough* athleticism.soccer bonding

The game had the usual volume of on field machinations. It set me to thinking about what would happen if we applied some of these techniques in our day to day lives. So, what if we could see more of the following:

  1. The own goal recovery – Brazil is one of the classic soccer nations. Kids learn to dribble a soccer ball, well… before they learn to dribble and every kid dreams of making it to the national team playing in a world cup. Of course, this current one also happens to be before a home crowd on home soil with the eyes of the world watching. The anticipation and drama around Brazil being ready to host the event have been building and the opening game is finally here. And the first goal scored? An own goal by one of the Brazilians. Can you imagine the thoughts that would have run through that guy’s head at the moment? I’d venture to suggest that “oh crap” doesn’t come close. However, there were no open recrimination, the dude got a tap on the back by one of his team mates, they avoided the psychological black hole to win the game. What would life really be like if team work was more than a term in a managerial manual and people actually lived by that credo?soccer team
  2. The Clayton’s foul –  A stray foot or hand and suddenly there’s a player on the ground acting as though was run over by a semi-trailer. All in the hopes of scoring that penalty to give his  team the edge. And when the ref flashes that yellow card he is more than half way to victory. The recovery rate and speed of these players once a penalty is awarded is nothing short of miraculous. Coupled with that if every soccer player had the injury he enacted on the field you would need 4 times as many players to complete the 90 minutes of game time. Perhaps we should all have academy award training for unintended slights, paper cuts and directed passive aggression. Thankfully, this is not the way most of us live our lives, although we have probably encountered people who do.
  3. The goal scoring pile up – this is my favourite. One of the guys scores a goal and he is squeezed, squashed and piled on. I’m sure this is a macho technique to hide all of the hugs, kisses and tears that is the consequence of a goal having been scored. You don’t fool anyone, guys. We know you just bonded in that 10 second pile. Imagine what life would be like if every time you had a small victory your “team” came and piled on top of you? Might be a mother of sons thing, but I think the pile is a very under utilised technique for showing appreciation.

Soccer fans are in for a real treat over the next few weeks, with many more Oscar winning performances to come.

Australia will face its first opponent, Chile, in the next day or two. We are the firm underdogs. But there is something to be said for being privy to a great Aussie pile. May the Aussie boys experience their fair share in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, I will be watching for more pointers to add to my life manual called Living The World Cup Life.

23 thoughts on “Living The World Cup Life

  1. I totally agree with you- pile up (or a slightly lesser ‘physical’ version) is surely under utilized. It would do us a world of good to use it oftner. :)

    Sent from My Blackberry® @ Tata Docomo

  2. Nice post about the World Cup opening game. I was also interested to know I’m not the only one who’s lose a month of blogging. If you find that elusive month, let me know. :-)

  3. I don’t know where May went either and I’ve spent half of June looking for it! I’m glad you’re back and SO happy – since I’m not a soccor afficionodo – to have you educate me in the *cough* finer traits of those *cough* husky midfielders. If there’s any pileups with them, I’m in!!

      • Oh my – i completely forgot in my fit of coughing to wish you well and safe travels on your European adventure. Will miss you again!

    • I think you’re right about looking ahead. As my semester just ended and a couple deadlines have been met, I’m starting to do just that. Working on a post now about my hopes for the weeks ahead. :-)

  4. What a great start of my day to read this, first thing after waking up! I couldn’t do my morning yawn for all the smiles on my face. I’m not a fanatic, but I do think it’s a beautiful sport! Enjoy the World Cup, and your European adventure!

    • Good point! However, I’m not even going to pretend to understand it backwards. Which leaves me with making a plan and enjoying the moment, now that the dust seems to have settled. ;-)

  5. Lovely to see you back! I really don’t like football, but hubby is a fanatic so I’ll be watching lots of it and I know more about it than I’d like lol. Enjoy your trip ;)

  6. When I watch, I don’t care about the goals. I like *cough* all those gorgeous men running around like children and hugging and patting each other. I am not a sports fan but still I see the positive side as well. Footballers wear too much equipment but that only accents their narrow behinds. Whew. It’s hot in here. :-D :-D :-D

  7. Welcome back. I have missed my curtain raisings. Great post, Judy. By the way, I was watching a non-flattering piece from Australia about the PM. Of course, in America, we have more than our share of interesting leaders – national, state and local. G’Day mate, BTG

    • Is this the John Oliver piece? There was much said about it here when it aired. Regrettably, he hasn’t done anything to endear himself to the Australian people. Although it seems he has endeared himself to Obama, now that they are column co-authors.

      • Judy, it is. On one of the segments, he was asked a question and just stood there and the question was repeated twice, before he said after his silence, you have your answer. It was strange. BTG

      • Not so strange to Australians, who know Abbott relies far too heavily on his PR people. They obviously hadn’t prepared him to deal with the question and he has shot himself in the foot a few times before by responding “off the cuff”

  8. Which World Cup would this be? (sorry couldn’t help myself) :-)

    So Italy practise all that diving just to achieve a Clayton’s foul. I’m learning stuff here.

    Enjoy the soccer…..I do understand your passion. I was raised in Victoria with all that Aussie Rules Religion. Every winter nothing else in the world mattered.

    • Aussie Rules, what…? Note to self: must have an opinion on Aussie Rules when travelling in cabs in Melbourne and Adelaide. Good thing they brought one of the franchises north and created the Sydney Swans, otherwise I would have nothing to talk about in an interstate cab…

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