June 2010

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My posts have been pretty sparse over the past few months so you may be wondering what I’ve been doing. Well, I’ve been writing a novel and a couple weeks ago I finished the first draft. Tons of work remains, but I’m excited that the skeleton is built and I’ve added a few organs and muscles here and there. I dig the skeleton.

I don’t want to say too much about it at this point but I can tell you this: it takes place in Germany during 1943. Some Nazis get shot. There’s a love story. It ends happily — for some of the characters. It turns out very badly for others.

As I was writing the first draft, by the time I was halfway through several characters still didn’t have names. I called them, for instance, “German #1″ and “German #2.” So the first order of business in the second draft will be to give everyone their names. Then I have to flesh out the story and the characters a bit and solve a few problems with continuity.

When the second draft complete I will be looking for volunteer readers…

Must have been a boring game, right? Wrong. It was every bit as exciting as any Colorado Avalanche Stanley Cup Playoffs Game 7 I’ve ever seen. This game is in my top ten favorite sporting events of all time. It’s definitely the most excited I’ve ever been about sports at 9:45am. I don’t follow soccer outside of the World Cup so I can’t claim to be a superfan. Let’s just say I’ve come down with a severe case of World Cup fever.

It wouldn’t be World Cup season again without all the usual soccer haters out there. They mock because they are ignorant. I don’t care anymore. I’m not going to try to convince them anymore that soccer is thrilling. If they insist on proof, have them watch this game. The USA had 5-6 great opportunities and Algeria had 2-3. There was only one goal scored but the game was all offense. The Stanley Cup can come down to one lucky bounce of the puck. Soccer is not much different. How many times did the ball hit the crossbar today?

As I have been watching the World Cup, one thing has struck me. I see these guys out on the pitch, the best players in the world, and it is amazing how little control they have over the ball.

That made me think of the old American whine, “These aren’t our best athletes. That’s why we don’t win.” It’s true to a point but I wonder. How good are LeBron James and Kobe Bryant’s feet? As ESPN analyst Michael Davies pointed out on his blog, footwork is a skill. It’s a different skill than shooting a basketball or throwing a football or catching a pass or making a tackle or shooting a puck or batting a baseball.

Tons of American kids play soccer. But let’s say it was the most popular sport in the USA. Then likely more would continue with soccer. Out of that group, we would probably get better athletes than we currently have in USA soccer. But would they be the same guys who now dominate the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB? I’d say no. Would Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey still be our best
players? Maybe.

I think it’s likely that the missing links of our 2010 World Cup Championship Team thought soccer was for sissies, quit soccer and moved to football in high school, played college football for the Sooners or the Trojans, and if they were lucky played in one NFL game. It’s too bad they thought soccer was for sissies, because they’d be kings today. Every kid on Earth would know their name.

Soccer is not boring. It’s like every other competition, exciting when the games count and when the team counts. Our guys were playing for the USA today, they were tilting at windmills until the 91st minute, and they pulled out a win with three minutes of stoppage time left in their World Cup. It doesn’t get any better than that.

If we have to leave the soccer grumps behind, fuck ‘em. They’re missing a helluva ride.