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The World Cup For An Older American Woman, Or, Saturday Morning at 8:34am

So this morning I am sitting in front of the television as World Cup coverage plays. I use those words advisedly; no one’s actually playing right now, men are just bouncing around on a field in brightly colored shorts.

America doesn’t do soccer as well as the rest of the world, for reasons I’m sure experts have discussed ad nauseam. Let’s just say by the time this country found the sport we’d already coopted the word “football” for something completely different and leave it at that.

Even so, I’ve got memories of World Cups past. As a little guy my son was obsessed with the tournament chart. One year he told me he liked soccer for the same reason he liked Pokémon, i.e. so many possible outcomes. Another year, or maybe that same one, memory is tricky, Brazil was headquartered in a neighboring suburb. At night players and celebrants crowded the previously twee streets. Transformation. I remember, four years ago I was newly married, my youngest sister’s husband and son travelled to a few games in Brazil. They sent photos.

A world event that repeats on schedule doesn’t care how it highlights your personal life. It’s a vivid experience of random, one in which we ourselves are the unpredictable.

In any case, I notice, at 61, when I spend a lot of my time sitting on this same sofa writing and groaning about writing, how much these guys love to move. The pregame exercise look like dancing, or horses out to pasture. Heels up. I think about how I creak to stand sometimes – it’s renewed inspiration to get going.

And so gorgeous all of it. They call soccer “The Beautiful Game;” I just see beautiful players. I mean in the usual way, of course, so many handsome men in one place. Such a plus. But also human beings in comfortable clothes moving as we were born to.

I know there’s all kinds of non-beautiful in soccer’s history, corruption, injury, violence. But since no one will die or be left starving if I stick my head in these particular sands, I claim impunity.

Match time. I hope you’ve got a moment of indulgence lined up, one that makes you happy and hurts no one at all.

Have a wonderful weekend.


15 Responses

  1. Stopped watching spectator sports awhile ago, but I always appreciate beautiful and healthy men!

    Enjoy the weekend.

  2. It’s interesting how events mark our lives. In this case, soccer.
    I also have my share of difficulty moving but move I do for fear I would never be able to get up!
    Have a great weekend.

  3. Generally, I am not a sports fan and do not follow any teams. That said, lately I think about Ascot and how I’d like to attend. Maybe next year.

  4. Good soccer is like a ballet (and like ballet there are unsavory parts to the business). My boys played goal keeper, which was fun when they were little, but a bit scary when large teenagers were bearing down on them. At least are women are world class players, and we can have fun watching the guys from around the world.

    1. @Lynn, It is like a ballet. Conversely, ballet takes as much or more physical conditioning than sports, of course. And my son played center mid, infinitely easier to watch than having a child who was a goalie. And two? I admire your fortitude, and that of your boys.

  5. We were in Lisbon one World Cup — magical, the huge squares full of fans watching the giant screens in the balmy June weather. . .
    I have to admit my memories of soccer include much tedium, much huddling under blankets or umbellas by the side of a gravelly field, much driving carloads of adolescent girls to games, one of mine (Centre Mid) often very tense, moody before a game. . .
    And once I caused a Soccer Dad on my son’s team to roll his eyes in barely disguised disgust because I expressed relief that the fourth game of a weekend tournament — my ten-year-old son’s Rep Team — was going to be kept at a tie rather than sent into overtime (which would have meant waiting for the 7 p.m. ferry home on a Sunday night. . . . he would happily have given up those hours for the possibility of our team trouncing their team. . .
    But my five-year-old and three-year-old g’daughter and my three-year-old grandson have been kicking a ball around lately, their moms and dads all having spent considerable time on the soccer pitch, so it’s only a matter of time before I’m there again. . . and once again, probably reluctantly admitting that I actually enjoy. Otherwise, there’s scarcely a spectator bone in my body ;-)

    1. @Frances/Materfamilias, Lisbon sounds magical.

      Soccer games in the early years sound, well, like they made good stories to retell;). In retrospect, my feelings about soccer were encouraged by my son’s attitude (not a moody sort) and the California weather!

    1. @Suz, Those are amazing photos. One of the things about soccer being so easy to play, stripped of equipment, the people show through.

  6. Hi Lisa, i sent you photos of hundreds of kangaroos on soccer pitches n Australia. I took these photos today when we were driving back to Sydney from Canberra after seeing the Cartier exhibition at the National Art Gallery.
    I took the photos for our son primarily who loves soccer. He’s played since he was 4, & now 14 years old, soccer is still key. Needless to say we’re barracking loudly for our Socceroos! May they succeed at this World Cup. Den xx

    1. @Den, What a cute thing to do:). And those kangaroos! Took me a while to be able to see them big enough to understand what they were, because I don’t have enough memory on my laptop so I had to do some phone updates, oh that’s not important.

      So cute!

  7. Soccer (Football in my case -and country-) is a beautiful game (although a little bit of slower kind-I prefered basketball) when played for fun by little or grown up people,usually handsome,too (moving,playing,running….being outside-perfect!)
    Competition games make me nervous (as a spectator )these days. But,I watch from time to time ( you have to be prepared to follow a conversation,even if it were about looks or hairdos of the players :-))
    It is maybe the most important thing right now in my little country -all problems are forgotten as long as “we” are playing well
    And yes,time goes by so quickly,four years period seems to be shorter and shorter

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