World Cup fever- I got it

Published On June 24, 2014 | By Alice Cook

 

I have said it for years.  I am a football girl.  And by football I mean the American version.  You know, the guys who wear helmets, shoulder pads and tight pants that go past the knee.  I like a clock that counts down to zero signaling the game is OVER.  I like the straight formations on the field, the precision of an offense working their way down the field,  I like hard tackles that are not u penalized, passing plays that are generated from a quarterback’s arm, not somebody’s foot. I’m into the  stunts and fades, play action and  pass protection. Football, the NFL in particular, is America’s game, and  it will remain that way until the end of time.

The other kind of “Futbol” belongs to the rest of the planet.  I decided to make an effort to embrace it during this year’s World Cup. So far, so good.

So there I was rushing home from the beaches of Cape Cod  on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in time to watch the United States play their all important match against Portugal.  I was not alone.  Sunday’s game  was the highest rated World Cup match ever on ESPN.

The 9.1 rating, which represents 24.7 million viewers.   That’s a larger number than every MLB, NHL, or NBA game this past season.

On Thursday the Americans take on the Germans.  One point against Germany will be enough to get the United States out of the “Group of Death.”  ( I love the World Cup even more for the colorful names they give each round)

I freely admit that I am in no way qualified  analyze  World Cup soccer.   Right now I am watching it for the same reasons that millions of other are.  The sport is elegant and fluid.  The players are terrifically skilled.  It’s a game that is played on fields in every country across the world at every level.

Last year when I was in Haiti, our service group played some games with kids from the local village.  Their skills were amazing.  Trust me, there is are no town soccer programs in this part of the world.   If there is a ball, the kids start kicking it as toddlers, and they never stop.

Now the question that begs is will we all keep watching once the Americans are “out.”

In 1999 when the U.S. women won it all, everyone hung around to the final bell.   Who will ever forget Brandy Chastain whipping off her shirt and making the Sports Bra an American symbol of success?

We followed that one to the end because it was all about  the”USA”- and not necessarily about the success of women’s soccer.

It remain to be seen how many of us hang on once the United States is eliminated- as in  “knocked out of the  Knock Out Round.”  I think we might be surprised.  I say the numbers will remain high.  We are looking at a whole new generation of people in their 20’s and 30’s who grew up playing this game in pre-school, grade school, high school and beyond.

I, for one will stick with it.  I can do without mid-season MLB.  Watching World Cup Soccer really proves how dreadfully long and unexciting baseball can sometimes be.

By the time the World Cup wraps up,  it will be time for some ‘real’  football.  Training Camp begins the third week of July.

Bring on the helmets and shoulder pads.

 

 

 

 

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About The Author

is a veteran television sports reporter and Olympian. Her experience includes 25 years of sports reporting for WBZ-TV, the CBS and former NBC affiliate in Boston. Cook has worked for ESPN, Turner Sports, and WTBS. Cook is a feature writer for She’s Game Sports and Boston.com. She is also President and Founder of She’s Game Sports LLC.