Two weeks from today marks the beginning of the World Cup. I'm like some freakish anomaly in amongst most of my pals because very few of you/them are sports enthusiasts. Yeh, even the guys. But here I am – ready to throw down with the hairiest, sweatiest, loudest dudes when it comes to soccer (the Real Football), hockey and football (this N. American stuff). And not in that "Oh hon, yeah I'm totally interested in your little sports gamey thing on TV …" way – more like the "Dude, get out of my view and don't even try to talk to me for the next few hours" way. Seriously.
It used to be basketball. I loved it. Before the NBA went all mainstream on me and I was forced to watch the increasingly swaggering egos jostle for 15 seconds, stop, jostle, stop, dunk, stop, cut to commercial. Boo to that stuff. I'll still watch the college games but I can be interrupted – I can even leave the room. Trust me, that's big.
But soccer. Dude you just don't understand. It's so hard to explain to people who don't like soccer but this is not a sport. It's art. It's beauty. If it was a religion, I'd become clergy. I cannot be interrupted while watching soccer (something the female parental and small male progeny still don't understand). I don't want to chat, I don't want to talk about players' stats, I don't want to eat or go to the bathroom. I sit on the converter and pity the fool (total A Team-style) who tries to change the channel.
In short, I love soccer.
And I am a totally responsible parent.
Together this means that I must successfully infect young progeny's expanding mind with a growing love of the game. Because we must share this thrilling experience (I am not a selfish parent). Together. And bond and stuff. A successful plan goes like this:
- Parent sees that child doesn't love soccer to the correct degree and makes gradual suggestions to child's mind about why soccer is brilliant.
- Child begins to respond ever so slightly but his/her mind is currently busy absorbing hockey. No worries. Hockey is good, too.
- Parent looks at calendar and sees that The World Cup approacheth. The time for proper instruction is at hand.
- Child begins to play soccer at school on own initiative. Parent is pleased. Encourages child. School offers soccer as after-school activity. Parent is more pleased. Child wishes to join and does so. Success is at hand.
- Parent offers to buy child FIFA 2006 GameBoy game. Child initially denies offer saying game is boring. Parent frowns. Overrides child's denial and buys game. Goes home and begins looking at game's oh-so-cool features, chooses teams and begins playing. Child's interest in piqued. (Note: If parent is buying the game because this might be the only time in his/her life that his/her team is playing, this is a valid reason to override. Not that I did this or anything … I'm just sayin' …)
- Child begins playing the game and has fun. Finds out game is not boring in any way at all. Parent calls in reinforcements (uncle) and fierce play commences. All is well.
- Parent purchases affordable, yet informative and colourful World Cup 2006 book for child so that small mind can begin to soak up teams, players, stats. Child is enthused.
- The countdown is on. Parent wonders if child will understand the No-Talking-When-Soccer-is-on clause (doubts it as child never stops talking). Hopes that at least child will talk about soccer.
- Child asks for team shirt.
- Parent is super-duper pleased and moves on to scheduling vacation days for important games.
Success is the journey my friends.
(I dunno who said that but they must have been on the way to the World Cup.)