According to every news source imaginable—it’s all over the Innerwebs, from social media to porn sites, every TV news outlet (I heard Fox News is blaming Obama for Spain’s defeat), even front page above the fold of the local newspaper—this thing called the World Cup has started. Apparently, that’s a big deal. Apparently, it’s a big soccer tournament.
Being of a certain age and growing up as a true American, I know very little about the sport. But, I am the inquisitive type, so, when it came time for my cardio session at the gym this afternoon, I decided to dial up the game, or match, or walkabout, whatever they call it, on the treadmill’s TV monitor. I figured, it’s sports, I’ve got 30 minutes, how hard could it be to figure out what was causing all the fuss?
I set the timer, set the duration, settled into a steady jog, and began my study. The green team was playing the white team. I don’t know where they were from, I had the sound turned off and was listening to Neil Young’s “Harvest” on my iPod, but the two teams seemed to be evenly matched. Really evenly matched. Amazingly evenly matched. That helped me to figure things out pretty quickly.
About five minutes into my workout and at what looked like 24:16 minutes into the soccer contest-slash-event, my hill section started and neither of the soccer teams-clubs-groups had scored yet. By the seven minute mark, my breathing fell into a routine. Still no score. Things got a little fuzzy for me around the 8 minute mark and I think I either dozed off or entered some dream-like state of Zen nothingness.
At the twelve-minute mark, the nice lady wearing far too much perfume on the treadmill next to me nudged me awake with a gentle tap on my shoulder. It must have been the raised consciousness of the Zen thing that allowed me to absorb the intricacies of the sport without realizing it, because when she touched me, I knew exactly what to do.
I flopped off the back of the treadmill and writhed on the floor with all the dramatics I could muster. My exposure to the sport was brief, so I drew on what I’d learned from all those hours watching wrestling as a kid. Everybody gathered round. I grabbed my right ankle, then my left knee. I reached for my elbow, my hip… I would have reached for my pride but after watching for only a few minutes, I knew pride was not a requirement. They brought over the stretcher, loaded me up (I screamed in agony every time they touched a different appendage, just to make sure), and carted me out of the way. Most of the folks went back to their workouts while the staff checked me for injuries. After an appropriate amount of time passed, I told them I would fight through the pain, that I had to get back to my workout. I jumped up and sprinted to my treadmill as the patrons cheered wildly. I started the machine, went directly to the hill section, and even increased my pace. Fifteen minutes later, when I saw the words “You Have Successfully Completed Your Workout” appear on the monitor, I dashed off the machine, both arms high above my head, and ran in circles around the entire gym, screaming “GOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLL” into everyone’s face.
Now you’re probably thinking, naw, he didn’t really do that, but then you’re also thinking, well, I don’t know, Winchester’s a little unbalanced and he did have two sections of Freshmen last semester…
Relax, I made it all up. I had to, thirty minutes on the treadmill is a long time, and it was a hill workout. I did give the sport a chance, I really did, but it was sooooooo boring. I’d rather watch golf. At least with golf, somebody scores every few minutes, or hits it in the water, or beans a spectator, or you see an alligator, something happens. I checked the scores in the paper the next day. The final of the soccer gathering I watched? Zero to zero. Zero. To. Zero. I… it’s just… if… like those two teams, I got nothing.
I know, I know. Futbol is the world’s most popular sport, and it’s growing in popularity every year, even right here in America. Yeah, keep telling yourself that, soccer fans. You can have it, world. Me? I’m good. I tried it. Been there, done that, don’t need the t-shirt. And as for my next hill workout on the treadmill? I heard NASCAR has its own TV channel, maybe I can ferret out the appeal of turning left all afternoon.
Until next time…