FIFA World Cup kicks off in South Africa

By Doug Halberstadt
Sports Columnist

Soccer fans all over the world are all gaga this week. The 2010 FIFA World Cup has kicked off in South Africa. This is the professional soccer world’s equivalent of the Olympics. Thirty-two teams from every corner of the globe have gathered there to try to win soccer’s biggest prize.

As I have previously stated numerous times in this column and anywhere else anyone would listen, I am not a fan of professional soccer. I have the utmost respect for their athleticism and stamina, and I fully realize it’s a sport that has millions and millions of passionate fans all around the world. I just happen not to be one of them.

I think David Letterman said it best the other night on his late-night television program. When referring to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, he said, “We’re Americans, and we don’t care!” OK, I know that’s not true of all Americans, but I do think it was funny, and he’s really not that far off.

I’ve gotten repeated calls from one friend of mine who has asked me if I was going to do a FIFA story, and my mailman is a huge professional soccer fan. Other than a handful of people I know, I think it is quite safe to say professional soccer has not reached the level of excitement in this country that it has elsewhere on the planet. I don’t think it ever will. One problem is they let their games end in a tie.

In supposedly one of the biggest games in American soccer history, team USA and England played to a 1-1 tie. How incredibly exciting is that (sarcasm intended)?

Team USA plays again this Friday, June 18. They square off against Slovenia. Slovenia won their first match 1-0 against Algeria.

There you have it, soccer fans. I’ve done my FIFA story. I hope you are satisfied. I hope I won’t have to do that again for another four years. If you really want more thorough and up-to-date information, I suggest you log on to I’ll be busy watching a true American sport, baseball. Nothing says pure Americana more than watching the Cubs lose another game.

From the June 16-22, 2010 issue

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