Posts Tagged ‘football’
The world’s biggest party kicks off today. Nope, it’s not the Stanley Cup, much as we might like to think so (oh, and congrats, Blackhawks) but the cup that only comes around once every four years - and never to the great white north. That’s right, it’s futbol time! Ole, ole…
During the last two world cups, I was in Europe, in the middle of the frenzy. This time I’m in Montreal, so I imagine it will be somewhat different. As usual, Damian says it best: “For Canadians, the World Cup is like a really awesome house party that we’re longingly watching through the window.” Well, Damian, if we have to press our faces up against the glass, might as well make it the glass of a big-screen TV in a pub, with plenty of beer.
Four years have passed since the last World Cup, and that means four years’ worth of digital technology advances. Some cool tools and toys for this year’s World Cup enthusiasts include:
- Marca.com’s World Cup Wheel (via Sean) – extremely cool interface providing an overview by country, date, city, group and stage.
- BBC Sport’s World Cup Predictor (via Adrien) - make your picks and watch the magical, hypnotizing, colourful lines.
- That Nike commercial that everyone’s been talking about.
- Watching the World Cup for the first time? Never fear, The Onion has you covered. (Via Ken)
And in case you’re wondering where my loyalties lie… Go England!
The world’s most famous footballer, David Beckham, announced yesterday that he’s leaving Madrid to play for the Los Angeles Galaxy in the rich-in-cash, poor-in-fan support MLS.
Beckham claims the reason for his move is to promote soccer to American kids. I’m thinking it may have more to do with the lure of some of Beckham’s favourite things: glitz, glitter, glamour and celebrity.
Not to mention the 5-year deal worth $250 million – one of the largest ever awarded to any sports player anywhere. Of course, the money is more for his profile off the field than for his talent on it, which makes me wonder why the MLS bothered changing their salary cap rules to allow for signing him at all when they could have simply offered him a massive celebrity endorsement contract.
In any case, he’s on his way. And while it’s debatable how much of a boost he’ll provide to American soccer, it’s a certainty that he – and his Spice-girl wife – will provide an immediate boost to the paparazzi industry.
Love Castro. Hate Bush. Be popular. At least that seems to be the general idea for one soccer star:
Argentine soccer hero Diego Maradona promised Cuban President Fidel Castro on Thursday he would be at the front of an anti-Bush march in Argentina next week.
[ . . . ]
“I think Bush is a murderer. … I’m going to head the march against him stepping foot on Argentine soil,” Maradona said, appearing on Cuban television with Castro.
“I promised the ‘Comandante’ that I would do it and I will,” the 44-year-old football legend said, referring to Castro.
“For me he is a god,” Maradona said of the 79-year-old left-wing Cuban leader, whom he considers a friend and a father figure who helped him kick drugs.
Oh, get a room, you two!
Somehow I think these guys would tend to disagree with Maradona’s assessment of the ‘Commandante’:
The 40-member National Chorus of Cuba, which specializes in patriotic songs about the glories of the Revolution, is touring Canada. Twenty members just defected en masse in Toronto.
But of course, what would they know? Unlike Maradona, they’re actually Cuban.
Thanks to Tom for sending me the link to his article in the London Times about Iraq’s national football team (that’s soccer to us North Americans). Tom interviewed Sharar Haydar, who played professional football for Iraq’s national teams for 12 years, and says he was tortured by Uday Saddam Hussein, Saddam Hussein’s son:
“He didn’t just torture us when we lost,” Haydar said when we met last Wednesday in a London coffee shop. “Even when we won. He started by shaving hair — I know in Britain it’s a fashion now but in Iraq it’s a big embarrassment. After that he started to put players in prison. He used to come to watch us, sometimes we won three or four-nil but still he (ordered his guards to) take three or four players, put them in prison and torture them because he didn’t like their form. Then he started to beat the coach, referees . . . ”
Food for thought the next time a high school basketball coach gets chewed out for making his team run laps.
Today is, of course, Superbowl Sunday. And as the dish seems to be working (for once), I’ll probably watch just for the commercials.
I must admit I’ve never really understood football. To me it’s a bunch of oversized guys jumping on top of each other, but with a lot more commercialization than, say, Sumo wrestling. Oh, I know there’s more to it than that, and I have no doubt that true sports fans would have a lot to explain to me about the intricacies of the game . . . but for now I’ll stick to watching the commercials cause that’s what interests me.