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The Breakdown: Not as planned

BRYCE EVANS
summit daily news
Summit County, Colorado
Sports editor Bryce Evans
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Some things just don’t work out as you planned.”

While writing this, I’m sitting and watching the U.S. and Ghana play in the World Cup’s round of 16. You see, I’m trying to make good on my pledge from a previous – albeit grossly misunderstood – column I wrote about soccer. The point from that column was to say I was giving soccer its chance to win me over. I’ve never enjoyed watching it, apart from a U.S. match here or there, so I figured what better time to try than during the sport’s biggest and most important event, the World Cup?

That’s why I’m sitting in front of a TV watching the U.S. play extremely uninspired through the first half, trailing 1-0 from an early goal.

As far as soccer winning me over – and the column I expected to write about it doing so – it’s not going so well, either.

First off, I don’t have much of an attention span. I mean, I made it through only 38 minutes of Ghana dominating play (or at least what we are expected to assume is 38 minutes of play since the only person that knows the official time of the game is the officials on the field) before picking up my computer to get some work done just before halftime.

Secondly, for someone who has a low attention span, it’s really hard to watch a game when the only aspect of it that has me interested at all is the fact the U.S. is playing.

Really, I can get into pretty much any sporting event if the U.S. is competing, as I’m sure most people can. Just think of the Olympics: I couldn’t care less about sports like swimming, but once every four years, I’ll watch some dudes in Speedos with more (genuine) enthusiasm than I ever thought possible.

That’s the way I’m feeling about soccer, and as the U.S. is starting to look a heck of a lot better – ooh, and just got a penalty kick goal by Landon Donovan – I don’t think it’s foot(hits)ball that’s getting my attention as much as the patriotic notion of a group of athletes from our country achieving something great.

Don’t get me wrong, I like seeing the highlights of soccer; there are certainly a number of plays each game that are really impressive to watch. But sitting through more than two hours of vuvuzela-filled diving and whining is a bit much for me to take. It’s like watching a regular-season NBA game if there were 22 Rasheed Wallaces on the floor and none of them could hit a shot.

But everyone just has their own preferences. It just so happens I’m a sports writer and all of you are reading mine. (And, after all, you’re choosing to read this, right?)

I mean, some people don’t like hockey, and I can’t think of anything better to watch on TV.

That being said, I think that any true sports fan can get into any game that they have some sort of stake in, whether it’s watching their alma mater or their hometown team or their country.

And that’s why during this U.S.-Ghana match, it’s taken me more than two hours to write a simple column. Despite the fact I normally find soccer about as compelling as reruns of “The Golden Girls,” each moment of action in this game – no matter how spread out they come – makes me lose all train of thought and I have to watch.

Because, in between all the faked injuries, there actually is something pretty compelling about it all.

And even though the U.S. just wound up losing 2-1 in extra time, I can’t say that I regret sitting through all of that.

Sure, it didn’t go exactly as I planned- or, rather, hoped – but what does?


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