I realize that the following statement may cause me to lose half of this blog's readership, but here goes nothing: I am not a soccer fan.
Before you send me hate mail, let me note that:
- Yes, I understand that everybody else in the entire rest of the world thinks soccer is the greatest sport ever and the World Cup is the greatest spectacle in sports and that we Americans just don't get it.
- Yes, I know that it takes incredible athleticism and stamina to run around a field for 90 minutes.
- Neither of the above facts has been enough to convince me that watching a bunch of men run in circles for an hour and a half while the actual action is confined to two or three fifteen-second segments is interesting.
- I'm sorry.
- I'm still interested in the World Cup as a phenomenon, especially given that this year's event takes place in South Africa.
- I really liked the K'Naan song as it was before Coca-Cola got ahold of it.
Nope, we're going to stick to the usual agenda of politics, development, and advocacy for now. In case you're looking for some good coverage, here are some people who'd be good to follow:
- Derek Catsam, who does actual academic research on soccer and politics.
- Sean Jacobs, who in addition to being an expert on all things South Africa and popular culture is accompanying the cutest Bafana Bafana fan ever to several games.
- My friend Evan, who explains the basics as well as which teams you should follow if you're a clueless American.
- And here's an excellent article from Scott Bauldauf, who places it all in context while managing to avoid the usual tropes.
(See The Onion for this post's title's origin.)