Vuvuzelas! Hot soccer players! Unbelievable passes, saves and goals! It is a beautiful game!
Even with all those bad calls.
I didn't recognize the soccer's beauty until I had the chance to see the creators of the beautiful game in action. When D and I traveled to Brazil to visit our good friends Darlene and Tarso in 2006, we watched the city finals at Maracana between Botafogo and Madureira. Talk about an incredible soccer experience. Even though the teams would be the US equivalent to minor league baseball, throngs of chanting fanatics clogged the streets and horses herded us into the stadium. Once inside, fireworks exploded from the crowd and chants of Botafogo echoed from our section. I was sold on soccer.
The 2006 World Cup? I can't even remember who won or where it was played. All I remember is watching Zinedine Zidane's headbutt. Maybe this year's World Cup will fade away too, but I truly enjoyed getting caught up in the vuvuzelas buzz.
First, I trotted alongside the US Soccer Team bandwagon for a couple of games. I guess getting up at 6:00 am and heading to a bar to watch a soccer match will make me do crazy things. I had lost all hope and then that Landon Donovan, he finished! Finally! At least we advanced out of pool play. But I am afraid I'm still an American doubter, as unpatriotic as that is. I just don't think the US men's soccer team will ever get really good until we win big internationally and I just don't think we will ever be good enough to do that. Who knows, maybe someday we'll get lucky. Again.
But once the US was out, (that Ghana team sure made us look slow and lumbering) and I arrived in Paris, I saw the game the way much of the world does. Seriously, it doesn't get much more beautiful than this Paris viewing venue at the Trocadero in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower. Oh, and then there's the Spanish team.