Dixie Peach: The ball is round and the game is 90 minutes

Cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

The ball is round and the game is 90 minutes

My nerves are as brittle as kindling wood right now. Bayern-München are playing Arsenal in London playing the return game in the Champion's League and Arsenal is leading 1-0. That's okay long as that score holds Bayern will still advance. Would be better though if Bayern would just go ahead and score a goal. they'd have it sewed up then.

Only 4 minutes left in the game and God only knows how many minutes of injury time will be added to that. Guys! Score a damn goal, will ya?

Shit!! Kahn damn near let in a goal and now there's a corner kick.

Less than two minutes in the game. Hello!!!! Tie up the ball and keep Arsenal away from it!

Fifteen seconds left. Blow the whistle, pleeeeze!

THREE MINUTES OF INURY TIME? Get the hell out of here! Three minutes? I can't stand this!

FABREGAS JUST SPIT IN BALLACK'S FACE!! Fucker!!!! FUCKER!!! Fucking poor sport loser baby!

20 seconds left.

Three minutes is over. BLOW THE FUCKING WHISTLE!

It's over! It's over!!! Oh thank goodness. Bayern loses the game 1-0 but they advance because they won the first game 3-1.

Whew. What a ride that last ten minutes was.

God I love soccer. I love it. Didn't know jack about it before I moved to Germany but from the minute I hit the ground here I set out to learn about it. B loves soccer the same way guys in America love football and I wanted to at least have a working knowledge of the game. I watched and asked questions and learned and in the meantime I learned to love it. Not in that nostalgic way that I love and will always love baseball but in that fanatic, loyal-to-my-team, must-watch-every-game love.

And while it may be considered wimpy to automatically like a team because it's my husband's favorite team, I really do love Bayern-München. There are other teams that I like - Schalke, Stuttgart, Wolfsburg - but I am an honest to God Bayern fan. They can play great, they can play shitty, rain or shine they are my team. I love the coaches, I love the management, I love the players. The players, the players...they're the best part. I know them, I know their styles, I know their personalities and quirks and personal stuff and I get sad when favorite players leave for another team or retire.

I have never followed a sport like I follow soccer. Not even baseball, and I seriously dig baseball. But while I love baseball, I didn't pin myself down to watching games on TV or even attending games in person. Only the championship series and the World Series would glue me to my TV set. But soccer is different. I watch every game on the weekend (Saturday or Sunday depending on which day Bayern is playing), I watch the DFB cup games, I watch the Champions League. I watch the German national team play. I'm tuned in to even dull games during the European championships and when it's World Cup time, I don't miss a minute of it.

I don't know what drew me so strongly to it. Maybe it's the unpredictability of it. You just never know if your guys are going to go out and score three or four goals or just end up holding back the other team from scoring. You can think your team is down for the count and in the 89th minute they'll score to win the game. You never know who will be pulling dirty tricks (although if you team is playing Hamburg or St. Pauli you can count on a few) or whether the referee is going to catch the striker who's diving or catch that a team of off sides.

I also like the idea that soccer is popular virtually everywhere. Maybe not in North America, with the exception of Mexico of course, but elsewhere they know and love the game and it helps you feel a bit of kinship with the rest of the world.

Next summer is going to be fabulous. The World Cup will be in Germany and I'm looking forward to it. My favorite sport right here at home. Doesn't get any better.


Blogger BranV said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:03 AM  
Anonymous Eric M. Lyman said...

Dear Kim,

This is E, you know, Michele’s Yahoo. Michele just shared with me your love, a appreciation for fútbol, soccer or fusbal. What ever you call it, it is the true world wide common denominator. Or at least it is in most countries in this world. Here in America it is still considered as mysterious and (dare I say it…) as stupid as the metric system seems to most Americans!

However, I am different. I grew up on military bases around this country and found that soccer was all most as wide spread as baseball. The kids who had been stationed overseas were the ones that taught it to us. We learned several styles of the game, the English finesse and German precision of the players movements were the most common, but occasionally we would see a few kids who had learned in Central or even South America. Wow, those kids where the real power and they played with ferocity that I had never seen before. I saw much more of that same power and ferocity later.

When I was nineteen I went to Buenos Aires, Argentina as a misguided missionary for the Mormon Church. When I got to Buenos Aires one of the first phrases that I learned was “¿Vos sos hincha de Boca o River?” Translated, it means, “What teams do you support, Boca (meaning Boca Juniors) or River (meaning River Plate)? These two teams are the biggest rivals in Argentina. I have seen blood shed and have heard stories of death between team rivals.

I was in Buenos Aires from 1981 to1983. During that time, I saw Boca (my personal favorite team, although I like River too) became National Champions. I saw the Argentine National team get cut short by Germany in the World Cup in Spain and I got the chance to meet who I think is the all time greatest player of fútbol, Diego Maradona.

I met Maradona in Buenos Aires near the slum where he grew up. The guy had the grace of panther on the pitch and all the style of a slug off the field. I marveled at the size of his upper legs. They were like tree trunks and had all the power of a tank! But like I said, off the pitch, he was an ass. Crude, like the slum where he grew up, but he still had a certain charm. But, good god, to watch Diego play was like watching a documentary on panthers stalking their prey on the television; you couldn’t take your eyes off of him!

My favorite teams world wide are as follows, Boca Juniors and River Plate (Argentina), Real Madrid and Barcelona (Spain), Manchester United and Arsenal (England), Beyren München and FC Nürnburg and last but not least, DC United and the Kansas City Wizards (USA). When it comes to the World Cup or as I learned in Argentina, the Mundial, I love to watch the Group of Death. However the teams that I like to watch are US, Argentina, England, Germany and Holland. Holland usually has a strong national team and I love to watch them play.

“Soccer and baseball have one thing in common”, as my best friend from California used to say. “They are hours of boredom, punctuated by seconds of shear terror.” I think that’s the best way to describe it. The game can be fluid and smooth, or slow and sloppy. It can be fast and furious or at a possum’s pace and like a match between friends. Either way, it is my favorite sport to watch and cheer for, except if the Dodgers are playing, they take precedence.

Love ya Kim.


5:44 AM  
Blogger Dixie said...

E! How much do I love that you've peeked in here!

And now I've decided that I adore you even more now that you've confessed to being a soccer dude too. It's final. You must come here and hang with B and y'all can talk soccer the live-long day.

I find your faves to be some interesting picks especially when they don't tend to jive with one another. Man U fans don't tend to like Arsenal and wouldn't dig Bayern either but then I guess I have faves that don't go together either. Some of my favored teams would be Liverpool (Germans tend to like Liverpool and hate Man United), Boca Juniors (the only South American team I like really), DC United, and for German teams I have a fondness for Stuttgart, Rostock, Wolfsburg and Schalke but right now Schalke is on the outs with me. Teams I have many evil thoughts about and wish for their destruction would be Man United, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Dortmund. I'll detest them forever.

That Diego Maradona, eh? One of the most amazing players ever and he's literally destroyed himself with excess. And yet even when he'd gotten fat, he could still play. I saw a farewell game for Lothar Mattaeus a few years ago where Maradona played (they both played for Bayern) and he still had what it takes. Only jogged for about ten feet but could intercept a pass like a champ and then *tink* he'd kick a goal like flicking a fly off his shoulder.

E, I'm just so tickled that you've checked in here. Don't be a stranger, fella. Love ya too. Hug M for me.

1:17 AM  
Blogger BarefootCajun said...

Ut oh! He hasn't seen this so he thinks you haven't answered. I'm calling him in now to read it.

MWAH! To you and B!

11:40 PM  

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