5 things I had forgotten since the last World Cup

A Post By: Michael Gallo

Four years is a long time. In that time frame, I had forgotten a lot of the things that make the World Cup great. Besides the intense soccer action, there are plenty of idiosyncrasies related to the World Cup broadcast that makes it awesome.

1. The crowd shots of the losing team’s fans are extremely depressing.

After a team loses, ESPN loves showing shots of the loser fans in the stands. Most have forlorn looks, with tears, snot, sweat, or all three streaming down their faces. After the Japan loss, several Japanese fans looked like they were contemplating suicide. Which was made all the more ridiculous by the giant, papier-mâché World Cup trophy the fan had on his head.

Japanese Fan committing ritual Samurai suicide.
Japanese Fan committing ritual Samurai suicide.

2. ESPN and the World Cup crew love slow motion shots for cutaways.

There are almost no commercial breaks during the actual matches. To break up the action (and sometimes, the monotony), ESPN loves cutting to fans in the stands. But for whatever reason, they always show the fans in slow motion. No vivacious cheering, just men and women turning their face to the left or right and blinking. In slow motion. It makes no sense. Coaches get the same treatment. After a penalty, or a controversial call, they’ll show the coach of the team that just got charged with the penalty and he’ll contort his face in slow motion and raise a hand (“Oh shit, he’s about to give a Nazi salute—oh nevermind, he’s pointing to the ref…phew”). But it’s always in the dramatic slow motion. And maybe that’s why they like it, because Europeans and South Americans are dramatic people. See: #5.

3. You have to stare at your television if you’re going to watch a game or you’re going to miss something.

I can’t tell you how many goals I’ve missed because I blinked. Or looked at my finger nail. Or texted a friend. Or checked the time.

And it’s frustrating, because some of these games end in a result of 1-0. How do Europeans handle this? I can’t check my email during a game. I can’t check Twitter. Do you know how tough this is for someone with an attention deficit dis

In fact, I’ve missed three goals just while writing this post.

4. Europeans are weird.

Okay, let’s be honest. If a European saw an NFL fan painted with house paint, and wearing a fake football helmet, then he would probably think we’re weird too. But when you see Dutch fans in the crowd wearing bright orange airline pilot outfits…it’s hard not to think Europeans are weirdos. At least NFL fans dress up like football fans. What does an airline pilot have to do with a soccer game?

I'm sure this makes sense to someone.
I’m sure this makes sense to someone.

Although, I guess trying to make sense of what the Dutch are doing is a dangerous game. In another instance, I saw an Italian fan dressed up like Super Mario. That would only make sense if they had a player named Mario. And what are the chances of that?

It's a me...a Mario!
It’s a me…a Mario!

 

 

 

5. Soccer announcers are awesome.

Group of Death, Group of Life, Hand of God, the beautiful game. Soccer announcers, especially the foreign ones, use awesome, poetic descriptions when trying to explain the game of soccer. The World Cup, just like the Olympics, will sometimes cut to interviews or press conferences with different players and coaches. These coaches and players will somehow mention unseen universal forces to describe what made them commit a penalty, or use complicated philosophical terms to describe their corner kick placement. It’s sort of strange, but in another way, very beautiful.

This time around, I’m taking notes. This way, when the next World Cup rolls around, I’ll be ready for the weird things that make it great.

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