Monday, March 21, 2016

Neo March Madness!

First things first. I like soccer. Unlike my late father who despised the sport because a drill sergeant in WW2 made him play it against his will while he was supposed to be killin Nat-zees, I enjoy it. In fact while the rest of you were watching March Madness last week, I was watching some German soccer match between Bayern Munchen and some Italian team. So yeah, I know nothing of the sport, I just enjoy watching it. It's slow, yes, it's low or no scoring, it's foreign, it's played by everybody except us Americans which naturally means it's inferior in every way but so what. I like it.

One of the things I placed on my bucket list, which of course means things I will never ever do before I drop dead, was to witness a European soccer match in person. To sit in an old English soccer stadium in a winter coat and scarf hollering nonsensical chants and screaming at nothing going on was something I find fascinating. But in reality, the chances of me leaving the country, at least voluntarily, is fairly remote so to see an MLS match in person will have to do.

Sporting Kansas City is one such team. A mere 3 hours away. What the hell. Get a half check on a bucket list item is better than leaving it blank.

So the Max's Dad family got into the rented Dodge Charger (wow, thats a powerful car) and flew down I-29 to Kansas City to witness the match between Sporting KC and the Toronto FC. Damn, I love the fact they call themselves FC or Sporting. It makes me feel all Euro. Now the ads on their jerseys kind of turn me off, ya know being a Feel The Bern guy and all, but going to a live professional match is gonna be great. Quite fascinating old sport.

The stadium is in Kansas by the gigantic Nascar track. How quaint. One niche sport I really like, another niche sport I wouldn't be caught dead at. One sport with a stadium seating 20,000 and another sport that seats 100,000, though to be fair, considering the size of your average Nascar fan, maybe only 20,000 can fit in there for the two times a year they use it. Sorry for that cheap shot at Nascar fans. It was another elitist Feel The Bern moment I couldn't resist. Ya know, kind of like the Hillary is a corporate stooge moments I have, right before I realize I'll be tearing off a Bernie sticker and putting a Hillary sticker on the not Dodge Charger I actually drive sooner than I'd like.

Once again, I know nothing about soccer. Not going to pretend I do. I just like watching it. I like the enthusiasm of the crowds, I like the methodical way in which it is played, I like the fact the clock starts running at the start of the game and it doesn't stop every time some coach wants a timeout or a manager walks out to talk to a pitcher or some penalty is called or a pass is incomplete or whatever. Start the fucking game and play it. That's my theory.

Sporting Kansas City plays in a modern stadium for modern people. Giant concourses, strange food stands, and lots of beer stands. My gawd, there's an actual concession stand if you want fruit. Fruit. You can buy an orange or an apple or a container full of grapes and pineapple. To be fair, the lines to get fattening Papa Johns were much longer than the fruit stand but come on. How hip is that? Grilled cheese? Yes they one of those stands. Bud Light? Yeah those invaders got their Clydesdale piss into the park too. But you could get a Boulevard Wheat also. Those Kansas Citians sure do like their local beer. And their soccer club.

The game itself was very uneventful. Lots of missed opportunities. One goal scored. See above. If you don't find a soccer goal being scored (see above) exciting, well then, stick to football and the rousing 11 minutes of action you love. But soccer is so slow and boring. Yeah stick to the 11 minutes of football action. I like football too so don't get all pissed off. I like basketball too so don't worry about my Yankee-ness. I like hockey, well, at least during the playoffs when it suddenly turns into the greatest sport ever. And I worship baseball, so there. But a soccer goal in person. Wow! I never knew it could be so good. I really is exciting. The energy is overwhelming. Really unlike anything. Yes, it may be because finally something happened after 62 minutes of nothing happening, but nonetheless, it was a rush.

The players are also fascinating to watch. A tiny little man named Sebastian Giovinco, laboring for the Toronto club, was obviously the best player on the field. I later found out well of course he was the best player, he's the league MVP for chrissakes. But little Sebastian was so little. I mean, riding a horse at Santa Anita little. But he was fast and damn near scored a couple of goals thwarted by the Sporting KC keeper. Hey man, it was freaking fun!

The park is packed. 20,00 people. The end zones are full of young rowdies chanting what turned out to be very American chants while some guy beat a drum the entire game. The crowd is young. Very young. I could count us olds on two hands. Very few boomers were there.

So a warning to the 3 major sports we bow before in this nation of Trumpites. This crowd is young. It's energetic. It loves this sport. It loves this atmosphere. And it loves the fact for a 6pm game, you are in your car and out of there by 8:30. You aren't stuck in a parking lot for hours with a bunch of alkies looking for fights like at a KC Chiefs game. You aren't stuck in a baseball stadium for 3.5 hours watching prima donna baseball players stall for time and think this game is all about me. You aren't stuck in a basketball arena for 3 plus hours because referees decide the game is all about them. You are in, and out, in 2 hours. Tops. Cuz the game lasts 90 minutes plus maybe 4 more stoppage minutes. Period. For a generation of sports fans to be given that convenience. Well, there it is.

Hey, I love baseball, but it's slow and needs some updating. But I'm old and got nowhere to go, except back home to watch Bluebloods so I don't care if it takes for-freaking-ever. But kids do care, they have lives to lead, mistakes to make, fun to have. My generation's fun took its toll and soon theirs will also. But for today, I am no longer an old, I am a millennial having a blast. Goooooooooooooooooooooooooallllllll!!!!!

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