I’ve never been much of a sports fan. There are only a couple I’ll pay attention to: tennis and soccer. I’d follow fencing if it were shown on television, but it’s not.
Since I was nine years old, I’ve watched Wimbledon every year, and that is still the only tennis tournament I follow. Not so religiously as I once did, but I still watch it.
I saw my first World Cup when I was in high school — until then it wasn’t broadcast in the US, although it might have been available on cable. The announcers were atrocious: the network apparently couldn’t be bothered to hire people who actually knew anything about soccer, so they got regular ol’ American football announcers who no only knew nothing about the game but also had the audacity to insult the players’ athleticism. Yeah. Guys who sprint non-stop for an hour and a half. Wimps. Whatever.
Things since then have got better, and I’m sure that the performance of the US team at the World Cup this year can only help. I’m rather impressed by the announcers this year, truth be told, especially whoever did the final. It was good enough for radio: I could close my eyes and still follow the game.
Now that the World Cup’s over, I can turn to Wimbledon; when that’s over, I can go watch the USA Cup, a youth soccer tournament that takes place just a little bit north of where I live. In years past it seems to me that they had a lot more international participation, but this year it seems to be almost entirely teams from the US Midwest. Nonetheless, there are teams from Costa Rica, Ecuador, England…
I wonder if the weather’s had anything to do with it. The last few years, the tournament’s been held during what felt like the hottest week of the year. Temperatures in the 90s and maybe even over 100F.
The fields are built on what used to be a peat bog, I think, so they’re really springy. I can remember the first time I went, being surprised by these huge English kids thundering past a few feet away, causing the ground beneath my feet to swell and rise just a bit. This effect hasn’t been so pronounced recently, but with all the rain we’ve been getting this year, you never know.
If you live in the area, I encourage you to go. It’s good fun. And Schwan’s sponsors it, so there’s decent ice cream, too. :)
And when it’s over, I can go back to ignoring sports.