So I am on vacation, designed to coincide with the World Cup. Thought I'd drop you a line.
Long time readers know that I'd rather play sports than watch them any day and that I am an ambivalent sports fan at best. But I do like a sports. I want to like the Heat but I can't. I used to, but not now. In fact I hate them now. Yep, I hate the home team. And in Miami it is a crime to hate the home team when it is winning (or to think about them when they are not.) But my feelings are not an effort to be contrary.
There is Shaq who doubles as a Human Bowling Ball when not slapping the shit out of other players- Ostertag, Bowen, Kobe twice and several other people on his own team as well as others. (Not to say I don't enjoy watching a pimp slap as well as the next guy, but this serial slapping seems to reflect a bully w/o self control.) I hate his game, which has all the skill of a battering ram with an iffy flat-footed hook shot from two feet.
There is the sulking hyper-entitlement of the near skilless Haslem and Payton's nastiness but that's nothing. The real 1-2 punch of annoyingness is the not-as-good-as-he-thinks-he-is and the marketers want him to be Dwyane Wade. Wade is another very athletic two guard with a bad medium range jumper; that is w/o the 400 pound double-team drawing Shaq in the center. Referees ignore Wade's traveling violations and send him to the free throw line like Jordan and Bird in their 12th season. A few months ago Wade indulged in an unecessary commentary and comparison of Bryant and Shaq which made me appreciate him all the less. Did he want Bryant's shoe marketing contract or something? (Wade was deemed as one of the most beautiful people by marketers while others are trying to figure out whether he kissed a hot iron or if that whole weird baboon ass for lips thing is natural. Can something be done?)
If that is not bad enough, Pat "the Geriatric Gordon Gekko" Riley decided that he could not let a winner go unclaimed by his ego. He seems to think that a championship will dispell any the naysaying about him winning only with an all star line-up, that is when he was younger... Instead a whole bunch of people are thinking all the less of him, now with valid reason (screwing Van Gundy).
The League and its officials play too big of a role in deciding Heat games. (I should just say games.) If Shaq is free to bulldoze (b/c he has been a lovable, fuzzy, ticket selling giant when not smacking people) then is half the game won. And THAT is what makes me dislike the Heat more than anything.
Ah, but there is the World Cup. I could talk about watching the close quarter improvisation of the Brazilian team or the the dancing midfield mastery of the Argentine team. And so much more. There is nothing that needs to be said to hype the World Cup. If you grew up loving soccer you have to love it. If you learn something of the game now you will love it. If you just love to be with people of many backgrounds celebrating the world and each other, with minimal marketing, Hell, you will still love the WC. IF you don't do any of these things b/c you cannot appreciate sporting events where the home team may lose or even not play, then just forget about it.
The World Cup is a refreshing departure from other international events such as the Olympics. The world doesn't need the Olympics to be interested in soccer as opposed to say, luging or the parallel bars. Poverty ridden nations of unrealized potential show the talents of their people in the WC. Dinky backwaters stand a chance. Every nation does. The game is too popular and too organic for two superpowers (U.S. and the USSR, now replaced by China) to spend money and influence the environment for petty propaganda purposes. And isn't that what the Olympics have become? (Yeah I heard about the Mafia and the Italian team, but that just makes the WC more colorful.)
So catch me in a week in Germany if all goes as planned. In the meanwhile catch me at the local bars with the people enjoying the World Cup. And then catch me in a neighborhood park, kicking the ball and taking jumpers.
Note: Blogger isn't uploading photos. Sorry.