Monday, June 09, 2008

Euro 2008: Get your football/soccer/calcio on!

Once again Italy and France are in the"Group of Death." Every tournament has one ridiculously tough group and this is it. Why, why, why!

I'm happy I will be able to watch the games in a place where people actually care about the sport. No crazy time difference and no more horrible ESPN/ABC announcers. It was so bad during the World Cup I started to watch Telemundo. I don't speak Spanish. I get that ESPN/ABC wants the highest ratings possible. However, soccer will never be as popular with non-immigrants Americans as football, baseball or basketball. I don't think trying to change what the beautiful game is (yapping about Posh Spice when England was playing, running weird stats non-stop, trying to announce soccer games like a baseball game) is going to bring more American fans to it.

Also the networks can't make enough money, so why are they going to air games more often? Soccer has two halves. There aren't commercial breaks every few minutes. Fewer commercials = less revenue.

Maybe all the kids who play it now will be fans when they grow up. What I love about the World Cup is seeing teams and fans from all over the world (unlike our World Series..that name is kinda deep when you think about it) compete. From the big G8 teams to small islands like Trinidad/Tobago's Soca Warriors. There is so much ugliness in the world but for a few weeks all these people share one thing, love of the game. Okay before I break out into Kumbaya, I must speak about something that is troubling me.

Italy plays Holland tonight, on Friday it's Romania. Next week France. What am I do to? I can't root against France as a French citizen or Mr. Henry. He's from Martinique. I have family there, we could be related.

On the other hand I can't root against the country I live in. Poor Fabio, got injured and will not be able to play.

The game is not until next week. I worry about this later.

For those Stateside who care about the beautiful game, the New York Times has a GREAT soccer blog. It was a life saver during the World Cup. They really know their stuff and it's fun to read the comments from fans from all over the world. It can get pretty heated. There are also covering the qualifying rounds for the 2010 World Cup which will be held in South Africa. The U.S.A. played against Argentina in a friendly match in front of over 75,000 at Giants Stadium. It was a draw. They are playing Barbados next. Here is the link to the blog.

It's not easy being a soccer fan in the States. The number one thing I heard was that it was a wimpy sport, something for suburban kids. My answer to that is how many pro-athletes can be in motion/run almost non-stop for 45 minutes? Have they looked at soccer players, they are in crazy good shape. Anyway America is the only country in the world where this is not a big sport so I really don't care what the non-fans have to say. Just because we didn't invent soccer doesn't mean we we can't enjoy it.

I think this commercial sums up the global love pretty well. Loved this ad.


Linda said...

I loooove soccer too!! Especially during the European/World Cup. I get so into it. And not only because the players are foine (but it don't hurt!). I'm sure we could talk for hours about it.
I remember that commercial too. So cute but I didn't notice any of our Azzurri in this version. I thought Del Piero was in the one I've seen but maybe I was wrong.
Forza Azzurri!!!!!!!!!!1

Annika said...

I think it's in the name. Football isn't wimpy, neither is calcio, fussball, fotboll, f├╣tbol - but soccer?!

Ten years ago I decided to write in American English rather than British English, but I can't stand calling it soccer. In this aspect I'm European more than anything, and this is *real* football.

Forza Azzurri stasera!!!

Beatriz' suitcase contents said...

So Sad! I am on this side of the Atlantic when the Italians play, I will try and figure out if they are showing the games at all in the States. I left Europe on Sunday, from Zurich, and we were lucky enough to be there on Saturday for opening day of Euro 2008. Everybody was on the street, wearing their red and white, bars were crowded with cheering fans, everywhere you looked it was all about football. It was great! At least I had that!
Forza Azzuri!

Rose in Cali said...

LOVE the ad! I was in Italy during the '06 playoffs; it was intense. I don't understand why il calcio hasn't caught on in the U.S. with so many families shuttling their kids around to soccer practices and games. We even have "soccer moms" but I guess they lose the title soon after their kids grow up. I am looking forward to your humorous takes on how Euro 2008 progresses!

Ms. Violetta said...

I'm sooooooooooooo excited about Euro 2008! I'm the only one though - I live in the land of hockey. Nobody here cares about European football.

Janelle said...

The ONLY (and I stress ONLY) good thing that came out of my relationship with my stalker ex was my newfound appreciation of soccer. While I can't sit still long enough to watch an entire match (the commentators get on nerves in every sport! ha!), I appreciate the soccer blog from NYT from time to time. I love the pride and sheer enthusiasm the fans have (however, I've seen some crazy stunts at those careful).

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

What a GREAT commercial - every little boy's dream.

When I was in high school, the really cool guys were the soccer guys and we were all sure it was going to replace football and basketball (not to mention baseball) in a short decade or so. Sigh.

I was in NYC for the World Cup and found the best place to watch it was an Italian pizzeria near my mom's apt., where they watched Telemundo and then everyone was shouting translations - into Italian, English and Russian (some Russian guys would hang out every day). Needless to say I missed the odd hour matches, but it was a great crowd to watch with. I'm envious of your being in Italy now, although not of your cheering dilemma. I have to cheer for Germany because my German daughter will kick my butt otherwise. ;-)

Jen in NJ said...

I hear you about the crazy American sport announcers - quite annoying! When we were in London we enjoyed the vibe of 'soccer,' rugby, and our favorite, F1. (Lewis Hamilton rocks!) Less commercials in general and less cheesy commentating, for sure. Love the Adidas ad, too. It really does feel like the U.S. is left out of this great, global sport and unfortunately Becks wasn't able to help change that.

homebody at heart said...

I came home from work and couldn't wait to turn on the soccer channel to check out the game to find out that they lost!!!!!

It's Donadoni's fault that they didn't have a more veteran defense. I know that they need Canna but come on 3-nil! Now, I don't know if I want to stay up late to watch the replay. :( So sad!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

linda - yes you are right Del Piero was in an earlier one. And the players are fione! ha

annika - very good point soccer does sound wimpy.

beatriz - be glad you are not in Italy today. Last night was just awful.

ms. violetta - which part of Canada are you in? A friend of my from Toronto said College Street was packed with fans yesterday.

janelle - sorry to hear you had a stalker ex! It's great you can look back and take one positive thing from that experience. :) I haven't been to any matches yet but have heard the negative stories about how some fans behave. Sad.

jen - My high school team was considered as important as the football and baseball teams and they were better (we were state champs several times) than our basketball team. Then I got to college and other than the foreign kids no one seemed to care about our soccer team, lacrosse was a bigger deal.

I remember when France won the World Cup. I was living in NYC then and spontaneous block parties broke out everywhere. It was so much fun.

Homebody - It was sad to watch! Holland completely outplayed them. I know this is the "Group of Death" but 3-0 ? I don't know much about the Romania team. I have to do some research.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

jen in NJ - Nope Beck won't be able to change that. We like to have higher score games. One of my friends said she didn't get the point of soccer. It was a waste of time to watch a game where the score was a draw.

LuLu said...

I really like watching World Cup and Euro Cup because you get to see so many great players play together on the same team. In Toronto, the World Cup is a pretty big deal...being such a big multicultural city almost EVERY country is represented here. You can already see the many different flags making appearances on passing cars.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

lulu - I can just imagine College Street right now. I really enjoyed my time in Toronto. Such a great city.

Kataroma said...

I have a huge crush on Henry. He's gorgeous, a great player and also seems like a nice, normal bloke. Glad to hear you've got a geographical connection with him.

I'm becoming a soccer fan too. In Australia no one plays it either really (although it's increasing in popularity) - in Sydney everyone plays rugby league and of course cricket. I remember when I was in high school some US promotors came over and tried to introduce American football (complete with cheerleaders) - it didn't go down very well with people used to rugby league (and union) - they just looked like wimps/girly men in all that padding and helmets.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

kataroma - I really like how carries himself off the field as well. Speaking out again racism in soccer among other things.

Ha! compared to rugby American football must seem like a joke. My dad used to play cricket. I don't really know much about that sport.