Thursday, June 14, 2018

Nurse the Hate: Hate the World Cup

The World Cup starts today and I couldn’t be happier.  It is not because I am a slave to following the glories on the pitch.  In fact, I’m not even sure of what that last sentence I just typed out meant.  I have a very flimsy working knowledge of “football”.  This is in spite of the fact of my recently discovered English heritage.  I would suspect that my blood runs deep with the DNA to go full hooligan and drink 718 pints, sing terrible songs, and beat a stranger senseless because he is wearing the wrong shirt.  It just hasn’t flickered on yet.  I’m still coming to grips with my love for the Queen, calling cookies”biscuits”, driving on the wrong side of the road, the recorded catalogue of Herman’s Hermits, and substituting the word “mate” where “dude” used to be.  It has not been easy.  I can’t seem to muster much enthusiasm for the English Premier League and my personal relationships with the English people can be categorized thus far as “disasterous”.

My happiness for the World Cup is not because I’m an Ameri-English bloke.  No, it’s much more basic than even DNA.  The World Cup is so exciting because it combines blatant nationalism with the potential for reckless workday gambling.  I ask you, what could be better than sitting in a cubicle sweating out a match in which you are dangerously leveraged despite having no real working knowledge for the rationale of your bet?  It’s a sporting event that allows sweeping stereotypes be the guide for confidently gambling on games where you don't know a goddamn thing.  “Hmmm…  Russia versus Saudi Arabia?  That’s easy.  Russia will kill them.  They’re always super tough villains in movies and TV shows.  There’s no way a bunch of guys smoking hookahs in flowing robes will be able to beat enormous emotionless Russian super robots.  Give me $500 on Russia.”  It’s really that easy.

No before the first match starts I will need to lay some action down on the winner of the Cup itself.  This is where I can really let my prejudices and personal feelings run wild.  A quick scan down the list of countries allows me to quickly dismiss almost all of them.  Costa Rica isn’t going to win anything.  Those people are very friendly and warm, but the population of the place is 17, and they can’t afford to keep a field landscaped much less train a winner.  Japan at 250-1 would be a wonderful story, but they’ll be lucky to tie a match.  They will play a precise and measured game that will make me feel sad for them when they lose 5-0 to get eliminated by someone like Belgium.  An Asian country isn’t winning this thing.  It’s Europe or South America.

I’m tempted to bet on Brazil after their horrible humiliation to Germany four years ago.  Losing 7-1 on your home field with the entire nation weeping blood is tough to get over.  During that broadcast, whenever they did a crowd reaction shot, the expression on people’s faces was like their dog has just been shot in front of them.  This World Cup has to be the only thing that the nation of Brazil has thought about for these last four years.  They’ll be there at the end in all likelihood.  However, it appears I will be on European shores during the World Cup final, so I am going to have to throw in with a European nation. 

I briefly thought about embracing England.  After all, these are “my people”.  I do know two things about soccer, I mean “football”.  1.  There isn’t much scoring.  2.  England always flames out in embarrassing fashion on the soccer (I mean “football”) world stage.  I always feel sad when I see my brethren with sad little pasty faces when they trudge out of the stadium after inexplicably losing to someone like Senegal.  I know that those poor guys on the team will be savaged in the British press for months.  They will still be writing terrible things about the coach by the time I get over to London this winter.  They love to put giant unflattering pictures of the targeted person on the front page with wild misleading headlines like “Coach Fondles Teen?”.  I see the English team steaming into this tournament on the Titanic.  Chin up boys.  Man the lifeboats.

I have to really decide between Spain, France and Germany.  I was in Spain a week after they won the World Cup.  As soon as I got off the plane in Madrid I was handed three cold beers and engaged in sexual intercourse with very beautiful women that had been partying for the week prior to my arrival.  My memory is a little foggy so in full transparency that might have been a movie I saw on Cinemax once and not my own personal experience, but I do remember how excited the people still were.  I’m not going to Spain anytime soon though, so I am going to have to eliminate them from contention.  

This leaves France and Germany.  The press seems to have anointed France the “sleeper” team.  I like the idea of watching the World Cup Final in Paris being fully vested in “Le Bleau”.  I have a distinct vision of myself crammed into a terrible sports bar in the Latin Quarter where a man next to me will yell in my ear " Pourquoi applaudissez-vous pour le français vous sale américain?" to which I will reply, "Yes, it's very exciting!". It would be fun to be in Paris if they won the World Cup, but I'm concerned. In any sports gambling, when a narrative begins to take hold that "so-and-so is a real sleeper", this is the kiss of death. As far as I know, the French are absolutely loaded with talent. I don't care. There is too much misinformation trying to get me to bet on them. They're out.

I am placing my dollars on the cold calculated German team.  They methodically destroyed teams in the last World Cup with what was essentially Bayern Munich, their version of the Golden State Warriors.  I have to assume they will logically and mercilessly go about their work once again.  Even more importantly, I have a German National jersey which I purchased on a drunken whim while in Munch some years back.  This will show the indifferent American sports bar patrons that I have "always" been on board with Deutchland.  It's like talking about how you saw Nirvana play live in a punk rock squat 7 years before they got famous if someone puts a Nirvana song on the jukebox.  "Yeah... I've always been into these guys."

As I have said before and I will say again, Wir werden dich mit Präzision zerstören und dann werden wir viele Biere auf deinem Grab trinken. 



At June 27, 2018 at 2:10:00 PM EDT , Blogger AZ said...

Scheiße! I agreed and went along with you, thereby sending their fate to 1945 Dresden like proportions. The last time they did not make it out of the Group Stage was in 1938. Wonder where they went from there?


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