Thursday, July 29, 2010

FIFA with a chance of Meatballs

I confess I haven’t always understood nor appreciated soccer.  The game can be confusing and convoluted to the novice. 

It is the athletic equivalent of River Dancing – rapid-fire lower appendage agility that defies the eye’s ability to track the action, while the upper body is supposed to NOT touch the ball, nor the opponent, nor the officials.  But, when the camera shows a clip in slow motion, there seems to be a lot of extreme cage-fighting going on under those shin guards.  This isn’t exactly a non-contact sport.

The rules are not very clear, like they are in, say, football or basketball.  In those contests, it doesn’t require much IQ to spot the flagrant foul…that’s because the foulee usually requires hospitalization and an orthopedic surgeon.  And the perpetrator is awarded his own reality show.

And just what is “off sides?”  Many people have offered explanations, but I have better success understanding Einstein’s string theory and parallel universes.

Exactly what infractions prompt yellow cards?  Whenever a ref flashes one, six guys hold up their hands in a collective gesture of innocence and claim they never laid a glove of da guy.  But a review of the action in slo-mo confirms the foulee will be lucky to walk upright.  These are all-out aerial assaults.  The offenders could be charged with felonious cleat impalement.

The logic of any pastime is suspect when the players must line up in front of a drooling pack of Philistines, hands over crotches, while some Goliath prepares to launch a penalty kick into the net located just behind them.  It’s preposterous!

And what’s with those horns???  The incessant drone is enough to warrant involuntary institutionalization of every fan in the stadium.  These weapons of total ear drum annihilation are called vuvuzelas…VUVUZELAS!  Honkers owe a big apology to the honkees.

Erin gets soccer…which in itself makes us question her genetic integrity.  She speaks names like Kyle Beckerman, Nick Rimando, Javier Morales and Jamison Olave in hallowed tones of reverence and awe.  She does not take “Spain” in vain.  I sometimes wonder if her judgment isn’t a little impaired from inhaling too much second-hand jock sweat. 

She shouts to her sons to, ”Mark up”! and “Beat him to the ball!”  Except for the decibels, she could be the FIFA whisperer.

But then we went to Abram’s recent soccer tournament.  He is almost 12, and he gets the game.  In the second half, with the score 0-0, against a team of carnivorous apex predators, Abram eyed the goal, sized up his opponent, lined up his right foot, and with the precision timing of a Swiss watch, and all the planets in the galaxy in perfect alignment, he bent that ball squarely into the center of the net.  VICTORY! 

I went berserk!  I cheered louder than all the vuvuzelas on the entire African continent.  I got a red card from the ref for excessive decibels in the end zone.  Suuhhhweet!!


On an entirely different note, I have decided that it is bad karma to by-pass any lemonade stand on a summer morning.  Our family considers that tradition inviolable.  Besides, there is nothing more pleasant than to raise a cup of semi-cool refreshment (I like my lemonade weak and warm) and discuss the sour economy mano a mano with these diminutive CEO’s of citrus.

There is no end of opportunities to quench the solar thirst.  Every corner of every street of every neighborhood bears a lemonade stand…a fact not lost on our grandson, Carter.  Being an astute observer that the prevailing market was saturated, so to speak, Carter chose to diversify. Exercising his entrepreneurial options, he decided HIS lemonade stand would sell – what else – meatballs!

Now, there are several advantages to selling meatballs.  First of all, a glaring lack of competition.  It’s the only game in town.  Second, meatballs can be eaten by themselves OR with lemonade.  I don’t know how many times I’ve been sipping the sour nectar and found myself craving meatballs.

I purchased six of these little delicacies.  They were so spicy, that it required a multi-chambered stomach just to digest them.  Thankfully, I’m well endowed.

Phenomenal success has fueled Carter’s plans to expand the enterprise.  Tomorrow he plans to sell steaks!  I’ll be first in line.

Besides goals and meatballs, we got even more good news last week.  Dennis’ lab draws came back showing his tumor markers to be normal.  We rejoice.

So our plans for the remainder of the summer include sitting on the deck sipping lemonade till my lips fold themselves into a perpetual pucker, eating spicy meatballs, tooting my vuvuzela, periodically shouting “Mark up!” to no one in particular…and hoping my neighbors don’t yellow card me for being disturbed.

I Love Summer. 

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