Saturday, August 12, 2006

On The Pitch

[music: Rosetta Stoned by Tool]
[mood: okay]

In 1999 Madden Football for Playstation was my game of choice. I wanted something different, but didn't care for the shoot-em-up games. A friend let me borrow FIFA Soccer 2000. I was aware of soccer as an international sport, but never followed it or played it. So, I popped in the game, and chose a team to try out. Arsenal sounded good. Never heard of them.

Never heard of these names... Overmars, Henry, Vierra, Bergkamp. I won that first game, and picked up on the rules of soccer pretty quickly.

That night, I flipped on a sports channel (we get 4 of them) and an English soccer game is on. Low and behold... it's Arsenal. Caught the game late, but it was pretty exciting. They won, of course, and not only that... I was suddenly HOOKED on soccer.

I knew they broadcasted Mexican league soccer on Univision, so I tuned in that weekend. I never heard such passionate sportscasting! I couldn't understand a word of it, but if a player got anywhere near the box with the ball they talked faster and louder, the crowd would go crazy (and of course Goooooool!) As I continued watching these games, I noticed they always showed a team called P.U.M.A.S.

I followed the U.S. National team's journey in the 2002 World Cup. I was very sad when they lost, and since there was a lack of decent Premiership coverage, I couldn't keep track of Arsenal (except the internet), and with no Philadelphia MLS team to root for (and lack of coverage,) I stopped watching soccer.

The USA was goiong to be huge in the 2006 World Cup. We all know how that turned out, but I was hooked again. As I understand it, I missed some great Arsenal moments over the years. There are rumors of an MLS Philadelphia team, but I guess I can default to New York Red Bull for now (I drink enough of it) ...I set the TiVo for the P.U.M.A.S. match this Sunday.

As for Arsenal... Bergkamp may be gone, but let the good times role again!


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