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Futbol Fever June 19, 2006

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Odds and Ends, Ramblings.
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Football – that sport Yanks insist on calling soccer – isn’t as popular in America as it is in many other places in the world. Notwithstanding that, I think there is a sizeable silent minority that follow the sport with a passion. With the World Cup ongoing, it’s difficult not to notice the number of bars that invite customers in to watch the game over a pint or two, as welll as the people who duck out of work for very extended lunch breaks to do just that. And there are the other amusing things that people do just to catch a game or two.

For instance, I happened to be in the economics faculty room in the afternoon of the first Saturday that the Cup was playing. True enough, it was only a matter of time for a professor and a student or two to trickle into the conference room to watch one of the games on the plasma tv that I never thought anyone put to use (or maybe put to use just to catch some news).

Or, there was the time I went into the computer center of the library to type up some coursework, where in plain sight (but turned down to mute) the plasma tv behind the circulation desk was airing a match, with the students hanging around more to watch it than to do any work. Too bad for me, there were only two minutes left to the game.

By then, I figured I could catch the games at school, but when I went to the computer center the next day in time for the game, the tv was off, much to my disappointment. So I shifted gears and logged onto one of the public-use computers to work. No sooner had I begun, I was disturbed by the sudden whooping noise of “oohs” and “aahs” and “goal!” of a bunch of students and staff congregated in one of the audiovisual rooms watcing (suprise, surprise) the World Cup game.

Go figure.

For my part, I’ve generally caught it over the weekends, where they air free on network tv. You see, I didn’t sign up for ESPN with my cable provider. But there is hope. I learned just now that all the World Cup games are aired on one of the Spanish channels. That’s quite an experience in itself. American commentators during the games I’ve seen are rather terrible, and even if I don’t understand the language, there’s nothing like the sheer thrill of hearing the announcer scream “Gol!”

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