Thursday, July 01, 2010

Summer doldrums & World Cup

I think we've hit the summer doldrums around here. We've settled into our routine. World Cup games are taking a hiatus for a few days. We've got about a month left in the country. We don't have any big trips planned for the next little while.

It's the lack of World Cup games that has really thrown me for a loop. We've been overseas for the last three World Cups (in Russia, Jordan, and now Egypt) and it's great as far as societal awareness goes - pretty much everyone is following the games to some degree, so you can always count on a lively crowd if you go to watch the games in public. However, maybe just once it would be nice to be in the US for the World Cup because there, at least you get to watch all the games for free (on if nowhere else) (and yes, it's blocked outside of the US. I tried. Several times).

There are fancy satellites here that broadcast the games to your home television, but you have to have a certain one and even then you have to pay extra for the World Cup package. That wasn't going to work for us, so Jeremy and I thought we would be stuck taking turns going to cafes to watch the games and possibly giving up a few years of our lives to the lung cancer we would certainly contract as a result.

Jeremy took the first turn going to a cafe to watch the game and an employee there told him he could buy an antenna for two bucks and tap into the Egyptian terrestrial channel, which, out of the kindness of its heart, bought the rights to a few dozen games and was showing them for free to the masses.

He came home at halftime with the bunny ears, and it worked! Sure, the picture quality was terrible to the extent that at times each player had one or two duplicate shadows chasing after it, but we could watch the games at home, together, without choking down second-hand smoke for two hours (hubbly bubbly smoke is INTENSE).

Egyptian TV doesn't show every game, but you can pretty much count on watching whichever one is on at 9.30pm (Egyptian time). Last night, when there was no game on for the first time in weeks, I was suddenly aware of a gaping void in my life.

So we flipped over to our satellite and found a channel showing the old Time Machine movie from 1960. It was so weird and so mesmerizing that we watched it for a good hour before thinking of turning it off. Needless to say, I'm excited for World Cup games to start up again.

In the meantime, discuss:

1. England's non-goal against Germany. UNBELIEVABLE. If FIFA does not take action and institute some kind of video review or at least a simple, immediate appeals process, I don't know. The game could become irrelevant. It's all well and good to have the game be just as the ref calls it, real-time, but when they start not noticing goals that are actually scored, something's got to change. And for those of you claiming that, well, Germany won 4-1 so it's not like that goal mattered anyway, I beg to differ. That goal going uncounted changed the whole feel of the match. Though I admit that 4-1 is about as good of an outcome as you could hope for in that case. And I do think Germany was the superior team on the field, but still, the injustice of it all!

2. Argentina's entire team sporting 1970s hairdos. Their uniforms are a bit 70s-ish, too. Every time I see a group of them together I feel like I'm seeing pictures of that rugby team that got stranded in the Andes in 1972.

3. Japan's heartbreaking loss to Paraguay. On the one hand, I think it's really exciting when a game comes down to penalty kicks. On the other hand, it doesn't seem fair that the game can be decided that way. I was really cheering for Japan to pull through, but even though they didn't, I at least wish that FIFA would let them complete the penalty kicks so their "score" could have possibly been a more respectable 5:4 instead of the official 5:3.

Are you watching the World Cup?


Suzanne Bubnash said...

Several males in this household are watching WC, so I get to see bits and pieces as I pass through the room vacuuming around their feet & removing the stacks of dirty dishes . . .

Liz Johnson said...

I make the following prediction: the next World Cup will have video replay with officials in the booth, at the very least for goals. Too many goals have been incorrectly allowed/disallowed to ignore it any longer. England was robbed, Mexico was robbed, the USA was robbed, etc. And since the bribing of officials is a legitimate concern (given past WCs), FIFA will have to go that way to avoid corruption accusations and to save face. Bah.

Also, the Argentine players are the dirtiest in the world... and this is partially why they're so good. They know how to flop convincingly and get the refs on their side. I'm convinced part of it has to do with their hair. What gives, Argentina?!

Did you see that Maradona apparently requires his assistant coaches to have the same hairdo as him? Awesome.

Liz Johnson said...

Also, what is in those hubbly bubblies??

Crys said...

So that video has been blocked...conspiracy!

Susanne said...

I've been watching some and then hearing daily discussions while talking to Samer on Skype. Lucky me. :) No, really, it's fun. I plan to watch some of both games tomorrow since they are on ABC. I don't pay for cable so I've only watched the ESPN games if I happen to be visiting my parents.

I heard today's Uruguay/Ghana game was quite something there at the end! And Brazil finally got booted.

Who are you predicting to win it all?

Glad you have been able to enjoy some of the games at home. The hookah smoke is intense, but it's better smelling than tobacco, IMO. More fruity, I think.

Off to bed ...

Bridget said...

FIFA pulls those videos down so fast. I wish they would just leave them up. I know it's copyright infringement, but the world must know. :)

I agree that hookah smoke smells MUCH better than cigarette smoke, but I've heard that it's like 20 times as bad for you to breathe in.

For now, I'm guessing Germany all the way!

Jake and Becky Veigel Family said...

We also have been loving the World Cup. I'm feeling a little guilty that we've been so fortunate to have ESPN and DVR every game, so we can watch as much as we want to. Sad that FIFA has played oblivious to the MANY referee errors, including unwarranted offsides calls against the US and the unfortunate England "should have been a goal." I also wanted to add something to your style observations--how interesting it is that a lot of the European coaches wear these suits with shirts open down to mid-chest, looking like the next Vegas lounge act. The funniest thing is to see a couple of them next to each other, in their twinner lounge suits. B


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