I’m slowly turning into That Guy of sports.
I watched a lot of soccer this summer. We were in Sweden during the finals of the UEFA Cup, and it was fun to sit with Mats and Sara – who watch this sort of thing routinely and understand the strategy of it on a more complex level than just “try to kick the ball into the net” – and learn a few things about how the game is played. I’d actually been watching the UEFA Cup on my own before we left too.
And then when we got back the Olympics were on and for the first week there was nothing on except swimming – which is a sport I do not understand at all; really, it’s just competitive lawn mowing to me – and soccer. So I watched soccer, especially the women’s games. I like those game more than the men’s games, to be honest. The women are, as a group, not as fast or strong as the men, which means they have to rely on things like intelligence, strategy and tactics rather than just blowing by people.
Plus, you know. Alex Morgan. Just saying.
So now here we are in what is, theoretically, the autumn in Wisconsin. It should be cool and crisp, and even though it still feels like June all of the normal fall activities have started up again.
I’ve purchased my first gallon of fresh apple cider.
I’m deep into my tea supply.
The semester has started up in earnest and I’m back in front of a classroom again.
And football season has started up again. American football, you know, the kind where only two players are allowed to use their feet to touch the ball and they are universally regarded as the clownfish in the gridiron aquarium.
I live here in the heart of Packers country. I like the Packers, though I remain an Eagles fan. It’s probably not going to be much of a year for the Eagles – when you win your first two games by a combined two points while committing nine turnovers, that’s generally the case. But I usually watch anyway, because it’s a fun game to watch.
But this year? Not as much fun.
Somehow I’d rather be watching soccer.
Last week, for example, when the Eagles were actually being broadcast here in Our Little Town for a game that they ended up winning, I watched them for about ten minutes before discovering that the US Women’s Soccer team was playing … um … somebody. Norway perhaps. Maybe Australia. Somebody like that. And I ended up watching that instead.
This weekend, while Kim stayed up late canning applesauce I stayed up with her in case my longer reach was needed (which, occasionally, it was). In the meantime I flipped on the television, where all of the marquee college football games were being broadcast. As was a fairly meaningless soccer game between Manchester City and Real Madrid. It was an exciting game, with three goals scored in the last eight minutes or so. I’m always impressed with how much smaller the field looks with the men playing on it instead of the women, and how much faster the ball moves.
And I thought, huh. Given a choice between football and soccer – including once when my own favorite team was playing football – I have twice now voluntarily opted for soccer.
Next thing you know, I’ll be nattering on about universal health care and last year’s Eurovision winner.