Wednesday, June 16, 2010


By Tony Mangia



I took a few days off--hangover-- after catching the USA/England FIFA World Cup match to collect my feelings. At a west side bar Saturday, I tried to get caught in soccer fever and found myself rooting against the USA. I wasn't supporting England but came to the conclusion that deep down I didn't care and hoped a team from Cameroon or Japan would become the Butler of Cup play but, this time, make the final shot to win. Kim Jong-il already has his version of the Group of Death but, do North Koreans know what a "Cinderella" is?

Every four years, futbol fans come out of the woodwork in this country like Olympic mascots and tight-spandex bicycle outfits during the annual Tour de France. Only in soccer, our country is a mid-level conference team. Kind of like a Cornell in basketball or a Utah football team---high hopes but no chance to win it all---as opposed to the Olympics where we are the Dukes and Floridas.

All the flag waving and red, white and blue painted faces for a sport nobody here really watches otherwise. I wonder if any of these people raised the American symbol of freedom on Flag Day the following Monday? Their colors were probably left outside in the rain Sunday---along with all that patriotism.

Soccer is one sport the U.S. gets...well...kicked around. It's a cult sport in America. Kind of like the show True Blood---rabid fan base to viewers who get HBO. At least in Olympic sports the United States can create a dream team after we get roughed up by foreigners. The U.S. doesn't have enough great players to bully soccer nations like Argentina and France who constantly beat us--although we keep trying in other sports. Remember U.S. dream teams in baseball and hockey who failed to bring home world titles. For god's sake, we are worried about facing Slovenia this Friday---a country with as many people as the borough I live in.


Anyway, back to the bar on Saturday. A couple of things bothered me. All male British soccer fans look like Phil Collins (circa. 80's) with crew cuts on their round bull-dog heads and the women resemble Fergie---not the hot singer but the puffy, Prince of England's drunk, extortionist ex-wife. She'll never make any one's WAGs list.

From what I read in the papers, I thought Washington was ready to cross the Delaware. No, not more conference re-alignment. Headlines warned, The Redcoats are Coming!, and the bar did explode in cheers--not bombs--after England's goal. It was the most soccer fans I ever saw in one place. The English were throwing babies (yes, babies) into the air. It must be a British thing. I was informed (warned?) by the Irish patrons that they did not support England and they hated the French for robbing them of a qualifying berth in the tournament. Basically, they rooted for teams to lose.


Then, the Brit's goalie pulled a Bill Buckner. The walls of the pub caved in from the roar. Irish- Red Sox-soccer-fans got a kind of revenge while USA...USA...USA was chanted ad-nausea along with "Beckham, you suck!" The English star wasn't even playing. The final was a 1-1 draw. I heard some fans claim it was "like beating BP." Oh yeah, take that you British oil conglomerate which pollutes OUR waters and all you stand for! Nobody won! It ended in a tie---or level play for the soccer informed. I didn't go that far and only equated it to slapping Simon Cowell.

Soccer to me is flops on the field, crying after a goal and fans singing together. It all sucks. If I ever see a group of Jersey guys cuddling and serenading the Giants--I'll become a Jets fan! I can even take the vuvuzelas that have been irritating so many. Wait until the next U.S. based World Cup is held and the Brazilians, the Dutch and the rest of the world is subjected to the cackling hosts of The View and loud-mouthed American reality stars. After the ear bleeding, fans will be begging for the giant kazoos again.

Now I'm as American as Starbucks. I went to the recent Memorial Day parade, I still hate Brad for dumping Jennifer and I'll catch an occasional Fox News broadcast--why do all the female anchors on Fox make me think of a Hooters restaurant?-- but I'm not going to go out of my way to cheer for a team in a sport I know little about. I only know one USA member's name is Landon Donovan and that equals as many others I know in the whole tournament---and his name is Kaka. Andiamo Italia!


Parents of the Year

The Gosselins were like the Yankees of abusive parents until Balloon Boy's mom and dad took the title last year. Jail is probably keeping them out of the tabloids this year. This year's competition is stiff leading off with the 2 year-old chain-smoker's folks in China and the four year-old who swigged Schmidts at a Phillies game but a late entry appeared this week with the announcement that the financially-broke father of Abby Sunderland--the 16 year-old sailor plunked from the Indian Ocean last week--sold the girl's television rights to a---you guessed it---reality show. I don't know how much of a sport yachting is, but to allow a kid---who would be sent to child services for being unattended one night at home--- to spend months alone in perilous seas is unconscionable.


Two weeks ago, it was a Guinness crocheting record at Citifield and last week it was a basket weaving recording star when Lady GaGa drank beer, stripped down to her bejeweled undies and flipped the bird to fans and photogs. Wow, how rebellious. She claims she's a Yankee fan. Please keep her from the stadium now that Cameron Diaz has denied a relationship with the blond-loving A-Rod.


The Knicks have lined up a super committee to get in a last ditch effort to recruit LeBron James to New York. They're really pulling out the stops with the most annoying guys in the city; Donald Trump, then Donny Deutsch, Charlie Rose...zzzzzzzzzzz...

No comments:

Post a Comment