Monday, August 20, 2007

Two Nations

Feature Post
by Around My kitchen Table

I'm a Brit so I know I'm treading on dodgy ground when I start talking about sport. The Aussies whip our asses regularly in rugby, the Kiwis whip our asses regularly in cricket, and the whole of the world whips our asses regularly in tennis, athletics and, our supposedly national game, football.

We don't mind too much; we have a culture which glorifies the "gallant loser" -

and we've had plenty of practice in that fixed "no, no it's perfectly OK that you've beaten our team (combined worth £300-million) 7-0, you part-time team of taxi drivers and plumbers" look.

For my American readers, by football I mean soccer. My friends across the pond, I understand, tend to think that soccer is a game for cissies, girls and little people under the age of 11.
Half a dozen of you may have heard of Pele and one or two of you may have heard of David Beckham, but only because he's the other half of a Spice Girl and is the new best friend of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.

So forget about America and Britain being two nations divided by a common language (to coin a phrase from George Bernard Shaw), we are two nations divided by the shape of our balls. Yours are oval and ours are round.

Americans are under the misapprehension that there is only one type of football game which, as far as I have been able to ascertain, involves lots of men dressed in duvets, running around like rutting stags on speed trying to beat the crap out of each other. British football is based on the ability of over-paid prima donnas being able to fool a referee by falling over and feigning imminent death if an opposing player so much as looks at them funny.

Both games have their world cups. The "proper" World Cup involves teams from all over the world (the clue is in the name) - from Bolivia to Bulgaria, Nigeria to Norway and Ireland to Italy. The American World Cup, on the other hand, involves teams from, well, America. So, novel use of the word "world" there, guys.

America usually qualifies for the Proper World Cup and next time round (South Africa, 2010) I wish them the best of luck. Because when America starts doing really well on the world stage (rather than the 'my backyard' stage), maybe they will become as passionate as the rest of the world about this most beautiful of beautiful games.


nutmeg said...

And there's the fact that your balls are bigger than our balls too. We can't forget that!

I so enjoy your writing!

The Farmers Wife said...

American Football: a game for men with odd shaped balls.

ok, ok, i know it's supposed to rugby but it still works eh?

Anonymous said...

I dunno.

Charley Spedding was a fine runner in his day. As were Steve Binns, Geoff Smith, Seb Coe and Steve Cram. And then there's that old phart, Roger Bannister.

GB puts out some mighty fine sports.

Just my opinion from this side of the pond.


Mama Zen said...

I've tried, honestly I have, but I just don't get soccer. It's a shame, too, because there seems to be quite a few very attractive specimens playing the game!

Around My Kitchen Table said...

Nutmeg: As men are always telling us, size doesn't matter!

Farmer's wife: I have never looked too closely at the shape of American men's balls - but I live in hope!

Anonymous: Thanks for reminding me of some great British sportsmen. Maybe it's that we're better as individuals rather than part of a team.

Around My Kitchen Table said...

Mama Zen: There are some very good soccer/football specimens but, like thoroughbred racehorses, they're very highly strung and high maintenance!

laurie said...

ok, this might be the snobbiest thing i've ever said, but i only like watching soccer when i'm in europe!

maybe because i can't watch it here. it's hardly ever broadcast.

love the balls joke. that made me laugh out loud.

and yeah i kind of wondered how we got off calling it the american world cup. and then i figured, well, the world series is also all american teams....

Akelamalu said...

LOL - we are, without doubt, the best losers in the world!

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