Do you have World Cup fever? Yeah!

“We lost because we didn’t win.” — Brazilian soccer star Ronaldo

I could hardly make my way down the street due to the throngs of people parading, celebrating and dancing. Yes, everyone in Texas, it appears, has World Cup Fever!

Wuzzat? Huh? I smell coffee. It seems I have just woke up from a dream.

Yes, the World Cup — the quadrennial soccer contest between 32 nations — is under way. Throughout the world, “football” fans crowd their streets and watering holes and life comes to a standstill as national teams take to the field to take part in a sport where you can’t use your hands.

This year’s contest is the first time it has been held on the African continent. And in spite of terrorists, lions, tigers and bears (oh, my!), it was still a safer choice than Mexico would have been.

You, no doubt, were excited that the U.S. managed to tie mighty England 1- 1 in Saturday’s contest. Take that, Red Coats!

Then you were no doubt ecstatic later when France and Uruguay played to a nil-nil tie.

What? You didn’t hear about that?

If you listen closely while Team USA is playing on television, you can hear crickets. They’re almost as loud as vuvuzelas, those plastic horns blown constantly during every game. (Okay, I admit, I thought I learned in freshman biology that a vuvuzela was part of the female anatomy.)

I don’t know why soccer hasn’t really taken off in the U.S. I guess we have short attention spans and want constant scoring action— excuse me, there’s a tweet coming in on my Blackberry.

England’s game against the U.S. was the biggest betting event in the history of the country. It was boasted that none of the Americ Ameri- ans could even make the squad the queen would root for.

So I was proud when we showed them a thing or two, namely that we are thankful for poor goalkeeping.

But here the game played second fiddle to the rearranging of the college football conferences.

This year, our U.S. team has a distinct international flavor. One player’s parents are from Haiti, another has a Hungarian mother, still another has a Mexican father. There are Canadian, Scottish and Brazilian relations too. The team is kind of like America that way—a beautiful, muttish mishmash of different nationalities.

I’m not up on gymnastics either, but I’ll still root for the Americans during the Olympics. So let’s kick back and root for our soccer team with just as much pride.


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2010-06-17 digital edition

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