Looking Back On A Torrid Affair Of A World Cup

As I entered the New Year resolution-making time before January, I was confident that increased blog writing was a “gimme.”   I mean, c’mon… it’s a World Cup year.  How could I NOT write tons of really interesting blogs during this time?

Well, the World Cup has come and gone.  And aside from a therapeutic open-letter to Soccer Haters, I didn’t mention the World Cup.   Not the USA games, not the French debacle, not the surprise Italian exit… heck, not even the Vuvuzelas.

This lack of writing had nothing to do with any corresponding lack of interest or attention to the month long orgy of soccer that was World Cup 2010.   I saw more games than I feel prudent to even own up to.

I followed the United States as close as anyone had a right to outside of South Africa.  And I forever wished I was there in person.

I was enthralled.

However, it became clear early on in the World Cup that there were enough voices, maybe too many voices, talking about the competition on twitter, in blogs – heck, even in mainstream media.  Frankly, I saw no need to chime in early or often.

However, any soccer blogger worth his Twitter account needs to at least mention the competition and some views, controversial or not.  I’m convinced that otherwise, some other-worldy force will somehow shut down Soccer Soap Box from behind the scenes in contempt of my lack of commentary.

So, here it goes…

This World Cup felt like what I imagine a brief, torrid, lusty and certainly ill-conceived affair with a ex-girlfriend (or ex-boyfriend, ex-wife… whatever your case may be) would be like.

It was emotional.   (Thank you South Africa.)

It was familiar, and new all at the same time.  (Wow, the Brazilians are still amazingly skillful.  Why do I find myself rooting against them?)

It was dramatic.  (Thank you Landon, among others…)

It was sexy.  (Well, we did have Ruud “Sexy Football” Gullit talking in our ear, and Ms. Riquelme didn’t hurt either.   And yes, lot’s of eye candy in shorts for the ladies.)

It was never likely to live up to expectations.  (Thank you Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, Franck Ribery and though I hate to say it, at least to a degree, Lionel Messi of Argentina and all of the Brazilian squad.   Oh, and thanks to the Dutch for the empty promises to take the game to Spain.)

There were misunderstandings.  (Who was that foul called on?  Wait, the USA?)

There was lots of emotional baggage.  (I want to root for you Argentina, but it really seems like your coach is a clown in some porn-actor’s suit.   That makes it REALLY hard.)

It was filled with excuses.  (Jabulani, anyone?  Altitude?  Vuvuzela noise?)

It was abusive.  (Ok, most affairs hopefully don’t have this component, but I suppose the worst ones might.  And besides, I needed to call out the Netherlands since their display during that final was certainly an abuse of soccer, especially when we know they are capable of so much more.)

So, while this is the closest I plan to get to any torrid affairs with an ex-anything, I cannot help but feel that it would end similarly.

The time spent with this World Cup was more about the excitement of the matches than the quality of the play.  Few soccer moments will live long in our memory for their skill, beauty and execution, but certainly moments of excitement will remain.

And like a torrid affair, you didn’t want it to end, but you knew it had to.   However, unlike most relationships that revisit past flirtations, this month long affair was worth every minute.

That said, I look forward to Brazil 2014 hoping for a more fulfilling relationship.   Yes, I want all the emotion and I will expect some let downs.

But coaches, players, referees… I really want to move from lust to love.

Are you with me?

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