Wednesday, July 05, 2006

You Are a Citizen of My Butt

Ever notice how outspoken fanatics of World soccer tend to be cartoonishly elitist twitfaces?

Oh, you have? Well, then, here's more evidence:

Ahmed Tharwat: An event for citizens of the world citizens

Huh of the huhs?

In contrast to World Cup, American football invites competition on American terms.

Hence the name "American Football," I guess. Or, if you're an American, it's just "Football."

So far this is just brilliant; and we haven't even gotten past the catchline yet.

A football fanatic myself, I've transformed my complicated schedule to live in the world football time zone. I change meeting times, walk the dog at 6 a.m., leave phones unanswered and skip outings. I got in trouble by missing my mother-in-law's 80th birthday party to watch the games.

OBSERVATION: Soccer fans are horrible people who - if their employers knew any better - should be fired from their jobs.

I'll bet you a Coke that Ahmed here hosts some sort of ethnic MPR or cable access program.

Watching fans of different countries, their faces painted in their national colors, sitting side by side enjoying a game is to glimpse the huge impact of this event. The World Cup extravaganza comes thundering as if it were a world war fought by 22 players armed only with the shirts on their backs, without equipment, helmets or sticks. It is a civilized sport. Players seem to exaggerate their injuries for the world to see as if to condemn violence and not to condone it.

Wow! I haven't seen such intricately layered self-contradictory stupidity since the last time I read a Molly "There's a LOOMING Social Security Crisis - Oops, Now it's Gone" Ivins column. In fact, this graf, in its totality is self-fisking.

Soccer players exaggerating injuries as a symbolic gesture to condemn violence????

Yeah, and all those f-bombs we dropped on KAR last week came from our hearty endosement of that imbecilic proposal that the "Rich" should be taxed more, and "Rich" being defined as "income over $45,000."

A better explanation for soccer players exaggerating thir injuries is that they're pansies.

Or they're trying to hook up with a Spice Girl by using the "I'm an Injured Athlete" card.

It's a game where small countries like Togo, Tunisia or Ghana can challenge superpowers like Germany, England and the United States without fear of retaliation or invasion. The worst that could happen to them is to lose a game, and there will be always another game and another World Cup.

In contradistnction to the Gophers winning the NCAA hockey tournament; which will merely get your car fire bombed if you live in Dinkytown.

It's a chance to compete on a playground that is just and fair, to compete on a frontier where the West does not yet dominate.

Yes, because we all know that "western domination" = widespread misery. Oh to live in a place that has not yet been sullied by 'western domination"! Like Tunisia.

To those who favor American football, which is about following the playbook, playing accurately, focusing on specialization and dividing players into offense and defense, world football is creative, complex, multifaceted and inclusive. It is not so much about occupation of territory; it is about shifting positions, maneuvering and orchestrating a series of attacks and retreats, winning without physical elimination.

"Hey! The ball is over there now! Let's go chase after it!"

While American football has always invited people from all over the world to the American way, world football invites people from all over to be citizens of the world. It is about playing your best with the rest of the world.



(Though, I'm not entirely sure Ahmed is currently inhabiting this particular planet.)

On the other hand, just think of all the crap you could pull if you carried this "citizen of the world" garbage to its logical conclusion:

COP: You there! What do you think you're doing?

STONER DUDE: I'm smoking a big fat Marley.

COP: Smoking pot is illegal, son. Especially at 1:00 in the afternoon on the corner of 9th and Nicollet. I'm gonna have to take you down to the station.

SD: Dude. Like, honkin' fatties, clearin' bongs and smokin' bowls is legal in Amsterdam 'yo.

COP: Yeah, well this is Minneapolis, and -

SD: But duuuuude - I'm a citizen of the world, man. The arbitrary laws of some city don't apply to me. Got any Doritos?

COP: I'm going to beat you with my nightstick now.

We die-hard World Cup fans here in the United States live like insurgents hiding in the shadow of American ambivalence and contempt for the game: lonely and overlooked, but watching, or taping, cheering, holding our breath or cursing through every game that is played.

Oh come now. just because you have bad taste in sports doesn't mean that you are relegated to some second-class lonely subculture. Take Chad, for instance. He enjys a rather robust social life that is only occasionally interrupted by getting hit in the face with hockey pucks.

We can identify Guagua, Al Doquie and Kaka as well as Klose and Beckham and Al Jaziri.



I'll leave that one to Ryan, and just say this:

I can identify Gagne, El Duque, and Conseco as well as a closer and Beckett and Kaline.

So. F-ing. What?

But because we are "world" football fans, we can't bring the conversation to the water cooler, find much coverage in the local paper, or even listen to the national news for updates.

Oh, you poor, poor thing. Welcome to my world - being a Packer fan in Minnesota.

Even the broadcasters carrying the games don't fathom the drama. Though I'm not a Spanish speaker, I find myself watching the Envision broadcast because here is a channel that understands the world football fan's emotion and language.

Uh, this might be picking at nits, but:

How do you know that the Spanish-speaking announcers understand the "world football fan's...language" if you don't speak Spanish?

In the United States, our sport is overlooked and left out. We are looked at askance, treated like outsiders or worse. World football fans in the United States will be always be the illegal immigrants.

And so we end as we begin: with complete and utter nonsense.

Ahmed Tharwat is host of "Belahdan," an Arab-American TV show in the Twin Cities.

HA! I so called that one. Someone owes me a Coke.

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