THE MONTHLY ADVOCATE
Though I never played soccer (I have two left feet), I have enjoyed watching the beautiful game since I was little. I started watching games from a young age with my family and I learned to root for different teams and cheer when a goal was scored or boo when a player made a reckless foul. This summer, I watched games with our family friends, mostly at home. That’s part of the beauty of it. You don’t need to fly anywhere or get expensive tickets — you can watch the games almost anywhere that has a TV screen or radio, such as a restaurant, a bar, a park, or the comfort of your own home. Some places have a big fan base for a particular country or player — you’ll see a tide of yellow at one spot, a bunch of red jerseys at another, and at least one Messi jersey at all of them. It’s cool to see people sporting their pride and nationalism literally on their sleeves. There’s a sense of camaraderie and pride you feel when your nation is represented by a team. Not to mention soccer is just a fast-paced sport that’s fun to watch. The players are always on the go. It contrasts in this way with the sport I grew up playing: baseball. They’re completely different styles, and I enjoy them both. When you watch soccer, your eyes dart back and forth as the players move the ball up and down the field. You lean in when a shot is made, throwing your hands up when your team misses a goal or a shot is saved. In baseball, you don’t necessarily have to watch every pitch to see what’s happening. It moves much more slowly, but each movement is still very deliberate: Each pitch has to be made with strategy and accuracy, and each swing of the bat is made with the same precision. I find myself leaning in when the ball is hit, holding my breath to see if the opposing team catches it or if the player will be safe. Even with the World Cup over, there are still plenty of local games to see around town. It’s been awesome to see soccer’s popularity grow in Georgia. I heard that there were more fans at a recent Atlanta United game
For as long as I can remember, our family would find time to watch the World Cup, along with the rest of the world. It’s a tradition that started when I was young and has now become a ritual in my life every four years. This summer, I watched as many games as my schedule allowed, catching some of the early games, plenty of recaps, and others on the weekend. This year’s World Cup was interesting because a lot of the traditional powerhouses — Argentina, Spain, Brazil, Germany, Portugal — were eliminated early. I didn’t make a fantasy team this year, but maybe I should have. Belgium was looking strong from the beginning, and I sensed they would be something of a dark horse in the competition. When they beat Brazil in the quarter finals, I said, “I called that!” I’d been saying that they would go far since the beginning of the competition. Of course, hindsight is 20/20 and they didn’t quite make it all the way, unfortunately. Still, it’s fun to recognize the strong teams early on. Soccer Takes the Stage GOOOAAALLL!
than there were at some World Cup games! Incredible, right? The games are always selling out and it looks like it will continue to grow. I’m glad we won’t have to wait four years to see the next game.
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