116street Soccer

Footballing from a lesser authority...

Location: New York, New York

Sunday, July 09, 2006

All Good Things (Part 3)...

About a week ago, I was down in the Lower East Side, saying what's up to my friend Abby as she worked behind the bar at Lucky Jack's. "Zach," she started, "I think I love soccer now." As startled as I had been that her fine @$$ even had a frame of reference for anything sports-related, she wasn't the first to confess her newfound enjoyment of the beautiful game. At work, people have come to me asking for my opinion on the U.S. team, or "The Great Zidane" (thank you, ABC/ ESPN, for coming up with a lame nickname for the legend, when we all know that "Zizou" is sufficient). Friends have called me asking why Portugal is such a diving bunch of cheaters. All in all, it's been a great month to be a "soccer obsessive," as the annoyingly highbrow crowd (Slate, anyone?) has taken to calling us.
Unfortunately for us, after this afternoon, our time among the cool kids shall come to an end. Has this year's World Cup raised the profile of soccer in this country? Sure it has, but does that mean that two months from now the guy from the office is going to be quizzing me about who I expect to win the Community Shield? I think not. No kids, after today, expect to return from the lofty status of "soccerphile" back to the slightly-above-comic-geek status of "soccer nerd." Nevertheless, my fellow footballing obsessives, we stay the course, because supporting the game was never about popularity, anyway. Be kind to the newfound fans, explain the seemingly obvious to them, and remember the days when all you had was Soccernet and the vague memories of a Chelsea FA Cup video to go on (maybe that was just me). Enjoy the transfer season, as only a true soccer nerd can, and remember the summer of '06, when the soccer fan was on top of the sporting food chain (sort of), with dignity.


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