Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.

20 June 2006

The Don Attends a Soccer Game - Somebody Should Get Whacked.

Greetings. Before I start my Soccer Takes, let me say this. You are either reading this on the Airliners.net Forums or you are reading it on my Blog. If there is a reference you don't understand, it may be directly related to one or the other. Just don't want anyone to get hung up on something…especially when I am lambasting Soccer. Also, I don't want to hear how bad you think baseball sucks etc. Start a thread. This is about me giving Soccer a chance. I know that Soccer Fan's only comeback to to bash baseball whether they know it, understand it, or have seen it or not. At least Iknow Soccer, understand Soccer, and have seen Soccer.

As many of you already know, after years of vexatious urging, LHMark finally got me to attend a Soccer Game. Saturday - 17JUN is a day that will live in its own infamy around here. My abhorrence of Soccer is not a secret with anyone who knows me. However, I went in with a clear mind (as well as Kevlar body armor and *911 all cued up on the celly) to give Soccer a fair shot.

The evening got underway with a small tailgate in one of the parking lots. Ironically, it’s the parking lot I use when I got to baseball games and there was a baseball game that night. The urge to grab my nuts and man up and see a real sport was overwhelming, but I fought it off. The tailgate lasted about 5 minutes seeing as the logistical master that LHMark is, never called me to let me know when he was getting there etc. By the time I get the genius on the horn and found out the game plan, its past 6pm, game time 7 something. Off to the stadium Brenna and I go. That’s right, fellow Soccer hater Brenna was coming along too, because I was not going through this alone. As we approached the exit off the Expressway for the Stadium, the traffic was backed up more than LHMark after eating a Louisville Slugger and a Foot Long Hebrew National. I thought I would go down a few exits, turn around, and get off in the other direction…apparently there were about 3,000 other extremely intuitive people who all had the same idea. Fuckers. A baseball game and a Soccer game on the same night at the same time. Brilliant. I ended up getting off in the hood. I had Bren load the gat. Turned up the rap music and tilted my hat sideways. Yes…I blend. After getting some Rand McNally-esque directions from Mark, I find a spot to park and we start our 3 or 4 block walk to where Mark and his crew are. The walk wouldn't have been bad, if it wasn't about 94 degrees out. By the time we find Mark, we have enough time to throw down a couple beers real quick then gear up to leave for the walk to the Soccer Stadium. And its not like Mark was sporting any good beer either. I had to ruin my body with German Beer. Oh the horrors…Mark even has pictures.

The Crew

Me ruining my stellar physique with a German Beer.

PAETEK Park - We managed not to get assaulted on our way to the stadium. Once we get there, my initial thoughts of the stadium were all true and then some. It looks like a giant robot stopped in the Crapchester ghetto and took a big aluminum shit that came out looking like a Soccer Stadium. Apparently the stadium is still incomplete, as they plan on adding another upper deck to one side of the stadium - once they can bend the taxpayers over for more money. Of course Mark splurged for the tickets on the one side that does indeed have an upper deck. Should have known better. On our way to find out seats….we are held up in a mass of people as the Soccer teams need to take the field. The entrance "tunnel" that lacks any characteristics of a tunnel went right across the concourse. Excellent planning. Whose bright idea was this? LOT's? This break in action though, did give me a chance to notice that the offices of the stadium as well as the merchandise shot were both being run out of…trailers. Fucking perfect. What, there wasn't enough aluminum left over to build a storage shed that could double as the team store?
Once the players finally dragged their asses on the field (and hey, who actually wants to get out there and play Soccer?), we were underway again in search of our seats. On the way, Mark stops and buys a Keg Can of Heineken. 6 bucks. 6 fucking dollars for 12 oz. of beer. Who in the blue hell is in charge of concessions here? George Steinbrenner? After giving the concession's a few looks and deciding I didn't want to eat anything off of a cart, we started to head up to the upper deck. The stairwell was a blast from the past. I think they used recycled aluminum foil to build it, and I won't lie, I thought I was climbing up a few stories to get to the waterslides at the local amusement park. Wait, waterslides are fun. This is Soccer…Soccer isn’t fun. Must be the heat. We climb past the "Suites" with fake grass rugs and some multipurpose folding chairs and reach our level. Bren and I need a beer. $5.50 for a 16 ounce plastic bottle of Bud Light. God I miss Frontier Field. God I miss Baseball. God I miss my manhood that I lost at the entrance gate. But I digress. Right about now, Mark made a masterful observation. When they gave me my plastic bottle of beer, they kept the cap. Apparently so you cannot go Soccer Fan and fill the bottle up with piss, cap it up and throw it at someone. However, they gave him his keg can of beer unopened. That thing is as solid as a 3 day old growler and could do a lot more damage than my plastic bottle. Gotta Love Soccer Logic.

View of the surrounding neighborhood - Just out of site are the muggings.

Finally, we start the climb to our seats. Jesus the steps are at an 8degree angle. Misstep and you are going down no doubt. Here's our row. Sweet, there isn't enough legroom to sit there comfortably, much less walk by people on the way to your own seat. As we sit down, I suddenly feel like I'm 4 years old sitting in a booster seat at a restaurant. I think the city bought up all the used booster seats from the area Pizza Hut's, gave'em a hideous paint job and installed them. LHMark warned me that the announcer who pretty much doesn't shut his piehole all game would get on my nerves and sure enough he had. The game hadn't even begun. I'm already looking at my watch thinking I would rather be a fluffer in a gay gangbang film…but CastleIsland already has that job so I'm stuck.

Tip-Off, or Face-Off, or is it Kick-Off…ah screw it. The game starts. Gotta love games played on fake grass…"but it looks real". Something even more disturbing was that on the fake grass, whenever a player kicked the ball…fake dirt went flying as well. WTF? During this time, Marked befriended some lady and her husband sitting next to him and proceeded to let her know I hated Soccer, liked baseball etc. Well, it was clear that she was truly a child of Satan because she bashed baseball and tried to talk up Soccer. How you can talk up Soccer at a Raging Referee's Game (errrr Rhino's but help me out here. The teams colors are sinus infection green and yellow, yet their jerseys are white with black stripes), with the various selections from "Jock Jams", "Party Hits of the 90's" and "Worst Dance Music Ever" CD's playing constantly? Oh wait, back to the field…some guys are kicking the ball back and forth to each other - yawn.

A few minutes into the game…it happened. Commercials on the big video scoreboard. Now wait a second. While the game is going on, on the field…they are playing commercials? Did I not have to pay 15 bucks for a nose bleed seat? Did I not just drop $5.50 for a goddamn beer? Now, I have to watch or at least be distracted by commercials in the middle of play?!?!?! This was the first thing that set me off. Soccer Fan tried to defend it and say baseball does the same thing. Not true. In Minor League Ball, they run promotional contests in-between innings while the players are warming up. Never once has Rich Ferrari tried to tickle me with stories of stacking cars right in the middle of a 2 run scoring triple by Jason Bartlett. Not Soccer though. Commercials for Cars, groceries, movies, tampons, educational videos on how to make the most effective blood and urine bombs not to mention several other things all ran on the scoreboard. I have never missed a big play in baseball because I was watching commercials on the scoreboard. Meanwhile, back on the field, some guys were still kicking the ball back and forth to each other - Yawn.

Here is the Monitor for all the commercials. It also doubles as a scoreboard apparently.

Despite feeling violated with the constant barrage of commercials and Ace of Base songs, I did concentrate as best I could on the game. Believe it or not, I do understand how Soccer works. I understand the bulk of the rules. I understand much of what goes on, on the field. I watched, but I had a complete lack of enthusiasm. And it wasn't from a lack of trying…I tried. I watched the crowd erupt whenever the ball got within a hundred feet of the goal then fizzle out like LHMark's sex life when it was kicked back past midfield. I sat there…void of all feelings towards the action (or lack there of) on the field.

The first half was cruising right along. I told Brenna the time is going by quickly (thank god), when all of a sudden the crown goes nuts. Holy shit - A GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL. *Yawn*. I watched the replay. Some Raging Referee scored on a header then proceeded to go Kerri Strug and start doing back flips and shit all over the field. Dude realizes he scored a goal in Soccer right, and didn't win the MegaMillions Lotto right? Although the chances of getting either are very similar. Seriously. Even the "excitement" of a goal didn't get me greased up. And like I said Soccer Fan…I had an open mind. Its just that things are not going well for the game in my view.

Halftime - Time to reflect. I came in with an open mind, and I thought the "action" on the field was boring. Just my view. I hate the announcer and wish vultures would peck out his vocal cords. The music was bad 15-20 years ago and its still bad now. The commercials were ridiculous…just like Soccer Fan. Sorry guys. Also, I know American Soccer has a lot more scoring than say "World Soccer" and even the goal I already saw didn't get me exited. It didn't get me impassioned about the game or what was going on down on the field. So far the highlight was a couple of Portland Timbers laying on the field with tears in their eyes are they feigned injury. I was extremely disappointed because I wanted to see someone flopping on the ground grabbing their Hamstring like it was just torn from the bone, only to pop up good as new a minute or two later. I couldn't even get that.

Halftime is over. 45 minutes left. Time starts dragging worse than the play on the field. After a couple fabricated injuries, Portland Scored a goal and the stadium became silent. I thought the score was tied at 1 now, but much to my surprise Portland now has a 2-1 lead. It seems that Portland managed to score a goal late in the first half and I didn't even know. Must have been watching commercials again. I know at a baseball game, when the opposing team hits a home run - I know. Time is dragging. I'm railing on Soccer to help keep me entertained, and after being reserved for much of the game (lets face it, I don't want Soccer Fan beating my ass…I was out numbered greatly in their home), I started to get loose.

At some point Mark made the treacherous journey through the seats, over the people and down the stairs to the concourse. Brenna had him pick up 2 more beers for us. God we need it. We need it to breath some life back into us. The life that this Soccer game is dragging out of us! Mark comes back with 2 cold ones. Should cost $11 but he says $12 because he "tipped". Riiiight. Lets tip the chick who is just standing there making an hourly wage who had to reach and grab two bottles then twist the cap off. Right. Give her an extra dollar. Funny, I didn't see mark tip the guy who handed him his Keg Can. I can't help but think that after the game LHMark was eating off the McDonalds Dollar Menu courtesy of Mike and Brenna. L-H-Mark Math. It screws you every time.

On the opposite side of the stadium, in the corner are a band of diehards that were in a bleacher section. Banners, flags, chants you name it they were doing it. And yeah, plenty of "Ole Ole Ole Ole" chants. Matter of fact, there were so many of them I was about 3 chants away from going on a killing spree. Any time a bold of lightning wanted to cook them in their aluminum seating…I was all for it. They had mottos hanging up like "Life free die on the field' etc. Where did they get their inspiration from? Kevin Winslow? What's next, Raging Referees - Semper Fi? And while I was just joking about that, the group of halfwits broke out with military cadences - Soccer style. I love cadences and somehow I have to believe that if my old T.I. was there, MSgt. Rodrigue would have been wipping all kinds of ass over there. Crapchester Soccer - Semper Fi Hoorah! Oh, action on the field…its still booooooring. Hell, a lady 2 rows in front of me had it right. She as reading a book! Damnit. Why didn't I think of that. Nothing could make me read like the boredom induced by a Soccer game!!!!!

Finally, the clock is winding down. There is a sense of urgency in the air. Crapchester Soccer Fan is nervous. Their streak of 4 ties in a row could come to an end with a loss. Crapchester has the ball, they are deep in Timber territory, there's a shot on goal, it’s a header, the crowd goes freaking crazy it’s a goal…..nope, the ball sails wide right like a Scott Norwood Super bowl kick and goes out of bounds. At this point I start screaming "TAKE THAT SOCCER FAN! THAT’S WHAT YOU GET! Best time of the night right there. Best time. Soccer Fan did start taking a burn with that comment though. They can kiss my Italian ass …seeing as it was Italian Night at the park! If I gotta suffer through this drudgery, I can talk shit. With a couple of minutes left, the Raging Ref's tied the game at two. I have no idea what happened other than they scored…and I couldn't have cared less.

Regulation time runs out and there are a few minutes in grab your hammy and dive time. That time ends with little fan fair. The real ref's whistle blows and simultaneously the entire crowd gets up and starts to leave. You gotta be kidding me. It's 2-2! I did not just sit here in the blazing heat getting ass raped on the price of beer for the better part of 2 hours to not see an outcome! I watched wto teams play a game for over 90 minutes and there was no victor? This just sealed Soccer's fate in my book. Where the hell is the shootout? Maybe give a free goal to the team with the best "injury" performance? Something to actually get a goddamn winner on the field? Things like this are what will keep Soccer from ever making it big in America - And that’s fine by me!

Apparently the attendance was disappointing, according to Rochester sports columnist Bob Matthews. 9,174 people showed up for the game. Even though that was more people than the K.C. Wizards of the MLS drew that night (9,014 in a stadium about 10 times the size of Paetek park) and the NY Soccer team only drew 10,207 in their game in their huge stadium. However, in Crapchester a town dominated by Soccer Fan, this was a "small crowd" And guess what Soccer guy - The night belonged to baseball. Over 12,000 fans went to Frontier Field to watch the baseball game. Best crowd of the year for the Redwings. I should have been there. I hope the team, Spikes, and Conehead can find it in their collective hearts to forgive me. I'll be back after the wedding boys.

Sorry Euroguy and Soccer Fan. I gave your game my best effort. I tried to like it. I tried to watch it. For my efforts I got what I deserved. Boredom and a sporting event with no outcome. I should have known better. Sorry guys, but my Anti-Soccer takes will continue!

My assessment -


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