The World Cup! Eh.

I thought about watching the U.S. play England yesterday in a World Cup game. Then I forgot. Then, while watching Iowa play Nebraska in a surprisingly fun game of real football, I saw the score roll across the bottom of the screen. U.S. 0, England 0.

Perfect. All that running around for an hour or however long they play one of those games and the thing ends in a scoreless tie.

I have watched exactly one soccer game from start to finish in my entire life. I’m pretty sure we played Germany and it was probably one of these World Cup things. My recollection is that we lost, but this in no way diminished the fact that we crushed their sorry asses in WW II. But what I really remember is that it just ended. I don’t know why. One of the referees just looked at his watch and decided that was enough and it was time to go home. My overwhelming impression from the whole experience, was, “Huh?”

In real football the game doesn’t just end. In fact, there’s a TWO MINUTE WARNING! As if nobody on the sidelines can read a clock. I watched a couple of the high school football championship games earlier this month and I noted that they didn’t have a TWO MINUTE WARNING! Apparently, high school teams were given credit for being able to tell time. But not in the NFL. Maybe they have the warning as an excuse to ladle on some more commercials. But that is a cynical attitude on my part and I apologize to you and directly to Roger Godell.

Millions of people around the world feel this way about the World Cup. Me, not so much.

Let’s move on from that ugly moment. It doesn’t help that the World Cup is being played in a country that is run by a bunch of guys who need a two minute warning that it’s about to become the 12th Century, a country that used what was essentially slave labor to build its stadiums and a country where it is about 1200 degrees in the shade but you can’t find a cold one anywhere.

Yeah, yeah, I know. You can find a human rights violation just about anywhere, but in Qatar it’s just the way they do business. We live in a country where Colin Kaepernick once got Nike to throw away millions of perfectly fine shoes because they had a Betsy Ross flag on them, Betsy Ross having had the temerity to design her flag at a time when slavery was in place. To my knowledge, Betsy Ross did not intend a pro-slavery message, she just liked the design. No matter, a lot of rubber was wasted to make Colen Kaepernick feel better.

We live in a country like that and yet it’s okay to participate, and bring with us billions of dollars in revenue largely due to the huge American television market, in an event that will benefit and help burnish the image of a country that uses slave labor today. Complete this sentence: This makes sense because…

But I’ll stop with that line of argument. After all, one of the things that drives me nuts about liberals is their moralistic finger-wagging, so I’ll stop wagging my finger. And, to be honest, I’d probably look the other way on the slave labor thing if I actually found any of this entertaining. The truth is that I’m not boycotting the World Cup to signal my virtue. I’m not watching the World Cup because I just don’t care about soccer.

Besides, I’ve got other sports to watch today. Michigan plays Ohio State (notice how I left out the “The” just to rub the Buckeyes’ noses in it) in a real football game and later Wisconsin will play Minnesota in something like a real football game, with Paul Bunyan’s Ax at stake and little else.

They’ll be playing in stadiums built under prevailing wage laws and OSHA regulations where a fan can find a beer, if not in the stadium then at more than a few venues only steps from it, not to mention in the parking lot. And I can promise you that those games will not end in a scoreless tie and that we will know just exactly when the clock strikes zero. God bless America.


Published by dave cieslewicz

Madison/Upper Peninsula based writer. Mayor of Madison, WI from 2003 to 2011.

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