As a kid, soccer wasn’t really my thing. (See previous post about my issues with competition.) I played on a very competitive AYSO team in third grade, called The Fireballs. The coach, Fred, said things to all the other little girls like, “tremendous job” but he rarely said, “tremendous job, Lesley.” That’s because I was usually picking dandelions in the out field, or wincing away from the ball as if it might hurt me. (“Tremendous job” is in quotation marks because I still remember Fred using that exact phrase. My dad teases me about it to this day.)
Anyhoo, back to the point of this post: soccer. While soccer wasn’t a highlight of my younger years, my brother was quite good at the sport. It always worked out that way. He was actually good at swimming, and volleyball, and basketball too. I think I got robbed of all the athletic genes in our family. My family traveled around for several years as we watched Scott play soccer at competitive tournaments across the state. Whenever a game got interesting, I’d lift my head up from a Babysitters Club book so that I could catch a moment or two. To this day, there are few team sports I enjoy watching, but soccer is one of them. I can thank my brother for that.
During the 2006 World Cup, Jonathan and I were traveling all in China. Many times, at the end of a busy day, we’d find ourselves alone. There were few English channels on TV and by the third month we were almost out of things to talk about. So, we began wandering the streets each night in search of games. In Hong Kong, we braved a rowdy Irish pub for a game. In Beijing, we enjoyed the beer gardens and big screens on almost every street. Other nights we fell asleep to the sounds of GOOOOOOAAAAALLLLL from the TV. What I loved most about watching the World Cup in China was how it brought together a diverse group of people around a common interest. I’ll admit, when I see this commercial (and trust me, I see it almost nightly because ESPN is mysteriously ALWAYS ON at my house) my heart starts racing a little bit faster. One time, I even got teary eyed.
Are you pumped? You are, aren’t you?
If you’re just a tiny bit interested in the World Cup, then I have an idea. Consider joining These Numbers Have Faces for a huge World Cup Bracket that benefits a good cause. It’s only $10 to enter and you’ll be supporting young adults in South Africa–the country hosting this year’s tournament. Jonathan and I already picked our teams. Are you in? Get more info here.