I my later years, I haven't watched a lot of sports on TV. I grew up normally, I think, and watched sports, particularly hockey and football, like other guys. Then, I pretty well stopped. I'd still often try to catch important games at times: hockey playoffs, the Grey Cup or the Super Bowl, but I miss my share of those too. Cuppa and I catch some tennis — Wimbledon, the Canadian and US Opens — and some figure skating, such as the World Championships.
Just this week, however, I decided to watch some of the Soccer World Cup; soccer is what the rest of the world calls football. I guess they call it the beautiful game, and I suppose that it is in many ways, but, from what I've just seen, I don't think that North America is going to embrace it passionately anytime soon. I have watched most of three games and parts of a fourth over the past two days. That's more than five hours of football (one game went into extra time), and I've been rewarded by seeing only two goals scored. Only two measly goals!
Yesterday, the Swiss and Ukrainians couldn't produce one goal between them in two hours of play. Not one goal! They barely had scoring chances. Earlier in the day, I saw Italy defeat Australia by score of 1-0 via a very cheesy penalty kick in the last few seconds. England won by the same score over Ecuador, the day before, on a free kick. No team in the three-plus games that I have watched has scored a goal as a result of clever and talented play-making. Not one goal!
While I admire the skill of these athletes and the passion of the fans, I find myself disappointed in the unfolding of the games themselves. Soccer has tried to make inroads in North America for years, but at this rate, I can't see that it will ever be a huge draw on this continent (except for Mexico, of course). I don't know a lot about the game, but I gather that it's so huge that it would be very hard to bring changes to it. In hockey, one league — the NHL — rules the roost. After a number of years of deterioration, they were able to rejuvenate the game in this past season. Once again, it became a contest of speed and skill as opposed to clutching and grabbing, but in soccer/football, I'm pretty darn sure that it would be extremely difficult to make changes.
Despite my criticisms, I'm sort of hooked and will most likely keep watching to see how the whole event unfolds. It's good to feel some connection with this grand world spectacle after all. Besides, it's almost eleven o'clock and Brazil is about to play. Surely, surely, they will be good for a goal or three. Hope springs eternal, eh?