Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

SET ALARM OR SLEEP IN? Wake Me for 'Kickball' Highlights

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

SET ALARM OR SLEEP IN? Wake Me for 'Kickball' Highlights

Article excerpt

Byline: Gene Frenette, Times-Union sports writer

I usually look forward to events that come up every four years -- presidential elections, the Olympics, a Boston Red Sox pennant fling. During all that time on the sideline, there's usually enough story lines building to captivate my interest on some level.

But the World Cup? No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. . . .

My Times-Union colleague, movie critic Matt Soergel, is on the opposite planet when it comes to soccer. He loves the game like a Brazilian, giving it five stars. Me? I've given it about five minutes while channel-surfing the last two years, most of it watching replays of Brandi Chastain do for the sports bra what Charlie Chaplin did for silent movies.

It's not that I condemn the game or wish it would disappear from our landscape. I'm not one of these stereotypical soccer critics who dismisses team kickball as not serving a useful purpose.

The numbers verify that it remains the universe's most beloved sport. From my required attendance at World Cup games in Orlando back in 1994 featuring Mexico-Ireland and Netherlands-Belgium, I have no doubt that fan passion for this quadrennial spectacle equals or surpasses anything you'll see in college or pro football.

And the athletic skill required to play Pele's game on the highest level is far better than most beer-guzzlin', soccer-hatin' Americans would care to admit.

That said, the time I'll probably invest watching this year's World Cup is roughly equivalent to sitting with my kids watching Sponge Bob, Square Pants. It's got to be in small doses.

Soergel gets paid to watch all of a bad movie. Well, there better be serious coin thrown my way to get me to park in front of a television set for two hours to stare at even a good soccer match.

In other words, never done it. Probably never will. And certainly won't attempt to looking at the live starting times for the United States' Group D games against Portugal (June 5, 4:45 a. …

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