Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Don't Kick the Baby!

I'd like to start today's post off with a note that Seattle has had two sunny days in a row. I'd like to, but I won't, since acknowledging this fact is the best way to ensure rain on the following day. This is not dissimilar to our locally favored riddle, "What's a day of sunshine after two days of rain? Monday."

So instead, I will congratulate the US men's FIFA soccer team, or The Yanks, as they're calling themselves these days, for their win and for advancing to the next round of the World Cup in style. I will continue my intermittent mentions of this epic tournament, but I need to do some additional research about the sport, first.

Like many sports fans, I know squat about soccer. The way that I find it easiest to follow, is that it's a swollen version of hockey, though I'm uncertain as to which sport originated first. In the end, I don't care which did. Hockey players are tougher, in my opinion, because they compete for the Stanley Cup yearly. Soccer players compete for the World Cup only once every four years or so. In truth, this level of slackerishness suits me, a bit, so if anything in the sport of Soccer appeals to me, it's definitely the World Cup.

The part that I don't get is that soccer is bloated by comparison to other popular, professional sports. I'm unstudied in the antics of these players off the field, but I can't help but wonder if steroids were first invented to keep up with the size of this event.

First off, the field is HUGE. The overall dimensions of a regulation adult soccer field is 100 yards long and 60 yards wide. I suppose this is because it's in the adult category. Having visited an adult bookstore before (for research, I swear!), I recall that size matters and large accounts for a lot in the adult world. By turns, the adult soccer goal is 24 feet wide by 8 feet high. By comparison, the hockey rink is only 66-2/3 yards (or 200ft) long by 28- 1/3 yards (or 85 ft) wide, and the goal is 6 feet wide by 4 feet high. If you have difficulty understanding number comparisons, like I do, suffice it to say that adult soccer is as much as four times larger than official hockey. (Don't worry hockey; I hear there's a cream for that now.)

How did a soccer field get so big? Did someone plug the nose and mouth of the hockey rink, and it simply swelled full of air? Is soccer on an all salt diet? Was it an accommodation for the fact that this is the only sport (that I know of) where kicking balls really hard is expected? Is it *gasp* doping? Okay, so yes, the soccer ball is much, much larger than a hockey puck, so it requires more space to maneuver. If soccer was played on a 200 ft long field, it would be like playing playing hockey on a field the size of twin mattress. As you might expect, if there's more than one individual on a twin mattress, there will be scoring. The challenge, in fact, is score avoidance, but who wants to watch that?

So the soccer field is larger than the properties on which some French chateaus are situated, so why are there only two periods? My guess is that the word 'period' was too easily construed as gross to some participants. Rather than dividing a match into three or four different time segments, it was determined that if there were only two, the sport could utilize the word 'halves' instead. Periods are bloody and traumatic. Halves are how pears, walnuts, and grapefruits are served. I can't say I blame soccer's inventors for this one.

That said, I know that the sport about which I've just discussed, is more commonly known around the world as football, I'm not intelligent enough to keep it straight with the other sport known as football, so I'll continue with the word 'soccer'.

Now that I've proven that I know nothing about the sport of soccer, I'm hoping I can better prepare myself for the next round of matches, so that I can offer some reporting of this epic event, known as World Cup. That said, I made several attempts to give my full attention to the first round of matches, but with my lack of preparation, I fell asleep each time. I am certain I can get through these games with my full attention, but I need to train with a powertap couch a few more hours a week, and I'll find my groove. I'm certain there's much more to this sport that's just waiting to be watched and blogged about.

So if you're expecting good weather tomorrow, or if you're planning a couch trip,

Ride safe. I love you all.

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