02.07.2010 - 02.07.2010
Josh opted out, so I’ll tell you everything I learned about soccer. It’s a fine tabula rasa of a game, as simple or complex as one cares to make it. Soccer drives supposed grown-ups into flights of verbal ecstasy unmatched by any sport, save maybe baseball (Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu, Donald Hall, the benighted George Will, yadda yadda).
I can’t join them. Soccer is a delight to watch, especially in person. My instant-replay-lazed brain learned—again—to rivet its attention to a game where the merest lapse on the field (oops, the pitch) invites the direst consequence. But it was equally a joy to see, from our speeding car, the same game played by township kids. Half-buried tires served as goals on rutted and dusty roadsides, and even in the median of the four-lanes. It’s a kid’s game, after all—and at Johannesburg’s Soccer City and Cape Town’s Greenpoint Stadium, it’s still a kid’s game. That is best of it.