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WWCup Japan US Soccer

AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Sixteen years of disappointment, heartbreak and anticlimax led to this moment. For every commercial featuring Brandi Chastain, the weight of the world pushing her to the ground at the very moment it lifted, there was a rumble about Abby Wambach’s training regimen, Carli Lloyd’s inconsistency or Hope Solo’s extracurricular activities. Not having won a World Cup since 1999, despite a trio of Olympic gold medals, wore on this team. They grew tired of heeding to the Germanys and Japans of the world in its most important tournament, and a shaky start did not bode well for the Americans.

When they needed to get it together in a time of dire need, however, where they so often had misstepped on the biggest stage, the U.S. women delivered a barrage of cannonading blows, exorcising demons and returning their country to a once and present glory.

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(Courtesy of Amazon Studios)

Amazon’s forward thinking decision to be the next content supplier along with Netflix and Hulu gave the world the Golden Globe-winning Transparent. Now, with both Netflix and Amazon being validated as outlets worthy of cranking out new stories that can be both critically acclaimed and popular, the rush to create content with high profile names outside of a cable box is now the new normal.

With this, a few new pilots have been dumped out-of-the-blue for the casual consumer on Amazon. And there’s Mad Dogs with familiar names like Michael Imperioli and Billy Zane. Some show that looks like a highly polished Civil War dramatization (we sure do need another one!). And then there’s Man in the High Castle – a joint whose most high profile association is its executive producer, Ridley Scott.

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a_nice_place_to_visit_still

Think, if you will for a moment, of your country’s wildest sporting dream. For Canadians, a gold medal in hockey might be just the accessory to go with all that maple syrup. In Australia, winning the Rugby World Cup over rivals New Zealand and South Africa is a source of pride for locals. The people of the United States find it best to rest laurels on domestic competitions, only really getting involved externally if their nation happens to be exerting dominance as a sort of athletic manifest destiny. Regardless of the means, people love putting stock in competition because they believe the payoff far outweighs potential letdowns. It is fun to concoct scenarios, however unlikely, in which your team defies all the odds to win. Be careful what you wish for, however. Living vicariously means dying vicariously, and the only resting place for most is a grave on the world’s most visible stage – the FIFA World Cup.

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The setting for the World Cup’s final scene

Thread count – high

Commission – high 

Hourly rates – high

a minute of your time? forget about it

The line above is from Parquet Courts’ “Master of My Craft,” the first song from their “formal” 2012 debut, Light Up Gold. The song is a smart ass take on why anyone in their position cannot be bothered by street teams trying to peddle political ideology or social change via flyers and “quick surveys.” I know what it’s like to be in their position. Four years ago, I was also stoned, starving and making my way down M Street in Georgetown as the know-it-all with a grand, post-grad scheme. On our way back to the student apartments, we were approached by a young woman who, like one of the antagonists from Parquet Courts’ ode to slackerism, was carrying a clipboard and a pile of paper. “Wanna know what’s sexy?” she asked, her question simultaneously rhetorical and seductive. “Politics,” she said, as she handed me an informational slip from a non-profit I didn’t care to remember. A trash can was nearby. “No,” I chuckled with my friends as I balled the piece of paper up and crammed it into the trash can sitting within earshot of the young woman and her fellow street teamers. This was the same summer that I also shrugged my shoulders with the same passive indifference at the USMNT’s loss to Ghana. “Well, at least we have more money than their country,” I said reductively and offensively as I walked away from the Black Stars’ celebration. I gave soccer all the thought and consideration that I gave the woman’s curbside elevator pitch about her organization’s efforts.

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Tim Howard, a portrait

Tim Howard, a portrait

The 2014 FIFA World Cup is here, and I have a novice’s degree of knowledge as to what’s happening, as well as a small amount of sentimentality for the event. This is me traversing through work, drunken weekends, and Spotify with the World Cup either in the fore or background

Monday, June 30th

I wasn’t really interested in how France – Nigeria, or Algeria versus Germany for that matter, was going to play out. It seemed inconceivable to think that the two African teams would be able to put up a fight against two European powers that were at the top of their rank. So I ignored the matches, which were mostly scoreless affairs until the final minutes. There were plenty of moments when Karim Benzema and Thomas Müller could have knocked in shots to put their opponents in utter despair but some cosmic force was unwilling to give these two teams an easy victory. France would ultimately run away with the game in the final minutes while Germany required extra time in order to advance. Based on both performances, I would say that both teams acted a little entitled throughout the entirety. It would have been interesting if Nigeria and Algeria would have scored, and I wasn’t in the middle of closing financial reports, but, alas, such is life.

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Jogi Loew and Jurgen Klinsmann, bruders

The 2014 FIFA World Cup is here, and I have a novice’s degree of knowledge as to what’s happening, as well as a small amount of sentimentality for the event. This is me traversing through work, drunken weekends, and Spotify with the World Cup either in the fore or background

Thursday, June 26th

Time. That’s the only thing that was in the US Men’s National Team’s favor when facing Group G. The USMNT was given the ‘Group of Death’ with three titanic opponents that would crush any hopes the US had for, at the most, making it to the semi-finals. There was the unconquerable Ghana and the soccer stardom of one of the world’s best in Cristiano Ronaldo and, by proxy, Portugal. Then, there was the polished, mechanical, engineered-to-kill creation known as Germany. It was only a matter of months before all three would send the US packing back to a place where the MLS failed to attract a million viewers for its championship game. American ‘soccer’ has no place here, they seemed to mock. The United States was given 270 minutes before the vultures would come to pick the remains.

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The Sum of All Fears

The 2014 FIFA World Cup is here, and I have a novice’s degree of knowledge as to what’s happening, as well as a small amount of sentimentality for the event. This is me traversing through work, drunken weekends, and Spotify with the World Cup either in the fore or background

Saturday, June 21st 

I woke up on Saturday morning on the uncomfortable, green couch in my apartment. My throat was killing me and my head was heavy. I looked around the living room and two of my friends were both curled up in fetal positions on the floor. On the coffee table were three empty bottles of Pabst Blue Ribbon, an open bag of Cool Ranch Doritos, a barren pack of Camel Blues and the controller to my roommate’s Playstation 3. I lifted myself off of the couch then stared at the mess that lay in front of me. I thought it best to settle into this hangover by playing Grand Theft Auto V because, of course.

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Italo-Disco is Dead (Courtesy of the Augusta Chronicle)

 

The 2014 FIFA World Cup is here, and I have a novice’s degree of knowledge as to what’s happening, as well as a small amount of sentimentality for the event. This is me traversing through work, drunken weekends, and Spotify with the World Cup either in the fore or background.

Sunday, June 15

My head was pounding as I was blaring a song called “The Dream” by Thee Oh Sees. I have been noticing that my summer song selections seem to be filled with riff heavy garage rock post-2010. It’s a far cry from the disco induced summer I endured via Daft Punk in 2013. Maybe I am experiencing an inner “Disco is Dead” moment.

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argentina vs portugalOn Thursday, the 2014 FIFA World Cup begins in Brazil. While many eyes will be on the home team, which is the nominal favorite to capture its record-extending sixth World Cup title, thirty-one other teams will be vying to bring the glory of the beautiful game’s most hallowed prize to their homelands. Many of these sides have legendary players in various stages of their primes. Some seem simply to be along for the experience of playing on a senior international level as a sort of deposit for the future (See: Green, Julian). For all the acclaim of Brazil’s joga bonito, Italy’s azzurri and Die Mannschaft of Germany, two individual players are carrying the weight of their countries perhaps more heavily than anyone else, with the outcome of the tournament potentially dictating their places among the game’s all-time greatest.

I am, of course, talking about Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Argentina’s Lionel Messi.

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