change of pace

one of the really addictive things about blogging is located in the upper right hand corner of your screen. click "next blog" and you are instantly sent literally around the world in a completely random way (as far as i can tell). maybe that's how you arrived here! welcome! i have looked at lots of blogs, everything from a teenager's diary to advice on gardening or cooking. recently, however, click on "next blog" and you're likely to read about the world cup.

for those of us americans unfamiliar with what i am talking about, it is the sport called soccer, or as it's known around the world, football. the world cup, unlike the world series, is literally a world tournament, and fans from every country are blogging about their team's chances. i have heard countless times this sport referred to as the world's most popular game. i can't figure it out. to my admittedly untrained eyes, futbol is the most boring game on earth.

i am used to the great american sports: baseball, basketball, football (the violent kind), and hockey. at any given moment, mark texeira can take a guy deep, terrell owens can score a touchdown on a drew bledsoe pass, dirk can drain a fall-away, mike modano can score on a break-away. the other team has the potential to do the same immediately. we're used to high scores, not 2-1, 1-0 ("nil," not "zero"-- even that's annoying), or, worst of all, a 0-0 tie. sheesh.
when a goal is scored in soccer, however, it's an event: "GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

please do not take that last comment as an endorsement to the game. no one on earth, world cup crazy as it is, can be less interested about futbol than me. i am still not sold on letting my sons play it. i will not watch one second of commercial-free "action," even if the u.s. makes the finals (haha). watching a game on tv is just brutal. it's too slow and boring. maybe that's our problem: we are so used to the up and down of our sports that there is no sense of anticipation, of expectation. turn away from a soccer match for a second and you may miss something really important, which might not happen again for a long time. maybe never.

perhaps we soccer haters could learn something in spite of our spite. not to love the game--forget that-- but to learn something about our pace of life. like the games we love, our lives go from one thing to the next, up and down the court, and we go faster and faster. soon we have to go full speed just to keep from falling behind. we end up numb and exhausted.

looking at those world cup blogs, however, i have to pause. whether they are written by someone in england, france, portugal, or brazil, the enthusiasm and love for their team and country is obvious. soccer may seem boring for those of us who don't know any better. but its pace, the potential for something new and important at any instant, the savoring of it when it happens, is a great lesson to all of us, not just on the ice or diamond or pitch, but in the everyday-ness of life.