Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Cheers and Jeers: Agent Orange Edition


You might be wondering right now why this edition of Cheers and Jeers is a drink that basically representing every known type of liquor? What in the world does this have to do with sports? Will I die if I drink this? Well the answers are: World Cup, World Cup and probably. While most Americans are loathe admitting it, soccer better known as football is THE global sport. Everyone is included. Everyone goes to the party. And especially if you're English everyone gets drunk. There are more members of the international soccer federation, FIFA, (207) than there are members of the United Nations (191). While we here in the states are amazed by the national holiday known as the Super Bowl it's dwarfed in viewership by the World Cup final (218 million compared to 95). Sure we here in the USA find soccer an amusement, much like we find the notion of a Queen, but there are a bunch of reasons to cheer on the World Cup and here are some of my reasons (and their German translation given that World Cup will be held in Germany this year):

1) Region of Death (Lander des Todes) - Americans like fights and long odds. Well we got them. The USA is situated in one of the two toughest Groups (the round robin portion of the tournament) one could have. We face Ghana, the Czech Republic (turns out this indeed is a country) and Italy to get the next stage. Italy is having a few corruption problems and a nationwide shortage of gelatto so there's an outside hope. USA starts up on June 12th.

2) Revenge (Rache)- Lots of times in world history, stuff happens and a country really can't get back at the other side. World Cup lets a country get out its aggression in a healthy manner against a sworn enemy (unless of course war breaks out as a result of the soccer match as occasionally happens in Central America). Poland invades Germany in the first round and Angola plays its former colonial/brutal oppressor in Portugal. Last time Angola played Portugal the match had to be suspended. Who knew killing hundreds of thousands of people would leave such enmity?

3) Ronaldinho (Das Boot)- Brazil has won more World Cups than any other nation (Five in total. Germany is next with three). They play with a rhythmic style akin to the samba or Debbie Does Dallas (the good parts). This time Brazil is led by the young superstar known only as Ronaldinho. He may easily be the greatest player since Pele and only now is he reaching his prime. He is must see tv!

4) Juju (Das voodoo) - Ivory Coast is barely avoiding a civil war. As corny as it sounds the team really is a symbol of national unity as average citizens root on different ethnicities and religions (albeit only for their nation). Ivory Coast's President publicly apologized to a witch doctor, who had put a curse on the team in 2002, which directly resulted in the Ivory Coast making the tournament this year. According to the National Geographic Ivory Coast has used over 150 juju men to use magic, chicken blood, amulets and pigeon ears to ensure victory. Africa's soccer body has banned them from following the team but when has rules or regulations stopped a shaman? I fully expect that an Ivory Coast player will tear and possibly devour the heart out of a defeated foe.

So for all these reasons and more check out World Cup.

With all the cheering here's just a short list of my Jeers: Jeb Bush being contacted about the NFL commissioners office (there are so my problems with that I don't know where to begin), any interview involving Mark Cuban, traffic in Atlanta (where I'll be headed this weekend), and myself when I'm forced to agree with Steven A. Smith (when he defended Lebron James against a ridiculous argument from Ric Bufford that Lebron pulled a Kobe against the Pistons in Game 7).

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