Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hey, Beckham, Bend This, Why Don’t You?

Haven’t watched the Olympics much. (Still waiting for Ski-jumping to begin.) But one morning I accidentally tuned in during the final moments of the USA versus Netherlands Soccer Match. Shockingly, it wasn’t nil-nil at the time, but a high-scoring shootout with the USA leading the Belch, 2-1.

Then, with victory seemingly in the American’s grasp, All Hell broke loose.

First, somebody on the US team had the audacity to kick a Netherregionlander on the shin! The Belch guy acknowledged this egregious invasion of his personal space by falling down, grabbing his leg and writhing in agony. (Soccer players attend finishing school to learn the dramatic art of agony-writhing, in which they engage whenever a verdant breeze wafts near one of their extremities.)

Well, the Ref spotted the Belch agony-writhe, nodded his approval, and blew his whistle. He then showed the offending USA player his grocery list, which refs must keep in their pocket on a neat yellow index card. The American saw the card and shook his head, disagreeing with the ref’s plans to purchase Broccoli. This act cured the writher of his agony, and he lept to his feet, none the worse for wear.

No Shin-kicking Permitted

Kicking someone on or near the shin is frowned upon in Soccer. So the Nethers got a "free kick" from about 20 yards out.

Before the kick, the US selected several players their coach doesn't much like. These poor unfortunates have to stand in front of the kicker grabbing their package with both hands. (Their own package, thank you.)

The kicker, seeing this Maginot Line ready to block his Force de Frappe, has several options.

He could try to kick the ball around the wall—“Bend it like Beckham” style.

He might try to belt the ball over the guys with their hands on their cranks. To counter this, the crankholders jump as high as they can. (Players with ballet experience are encouraged to sissonne or bourree while airborne.) As one may not use one’s hands in soccer, one must block the ensuing kick with one’s head or face. (NB: That’s right, ladies, men will put their unprotected Dome in harm’s way—risking a shattered nose or scrambled brains—but we use both hands to protect our penis.)

There was another option. When the Americans did their Bunny Hop to block a high shot, the Belgian kicker did the unexpected. He fired a low-flying, grass-hugging, worm-burner. The ball rose no more than an inch off the ground. (If you’ve seen me play golf, visualize the trajectory of my Seven Iron.)

The Sneaky Belch

The Belgian kick was so low and so hard it was too late for the Jewel Jumpers to abort their Bunny Hops. Up they flew while the ball rocketed under their feet and into the goal, tying the match.

I was so disgusted—not at the goal but the fact I’d actually wasted time watching Olympic Soccer--that I turned off the set. I just didn’t care who won. Also our dog was subtly informing me she was hungry by peeing on the rug. (Our dog is old, stupid and hates me.)

What a sport that Soccer is! You run around like idiots for ninety minutes and while you’re doing the Bunny Hop, plieing and sou-sousing with your hands on your crotch, you lose the match! Or tie. Or, maybe you…oh who gives a rat’s ass?

America may be wrong about a lot of things. But we’re right about Soccer and the rest of the world is wrong. Soccer is a stupid sport unless you're nine years old or a ballet dancing bunny hopper with scrambled gray matter and a dented codpiece.