Sunday, January 14, 2007

my wild fantasy about the man in the sarong

I live in a town now. A big one, built around a Shakespeare festival, not an ordinary town by any stretch, but a town. You can walk anyplace, one end to the other. Even dawdling and malingering, I still get to work within minutes. I am a town-dweller.

In my town, there is a single soccer bar: one of those faux-British places with a nonfunctioning red phone box where they'll give you fish and chips if you give them a $20 bill and a true pint for an additional fiver. I ask the waiter for a match schedule. He says, "Yeah, we show soccer. I don't know anything about it. Ask the bartender." I ask the bartender. He says, "Yeah, we show soccer. I don't know anything about it." Vaguely he agrees that my best bet is to wander in when I know a match is on.

I wander in when Valencia is playing Villarreal. Soccer? I ask. The bartender says, "We can't show soccer during football playoffs. Nobody wants to see it."

Read that sentence again to let the full horror of it sink in. Where do we, Joe Soccer Fan, get recognized as other than Nobody, if not in a town's solitary soccer bar? If you cut us, do we not bleed? If you call yourself a soccer bar, will we not demand soccer? If you make us watch any more American football, will we not run mad?

It was from beneath this pall that I heard the news of Beckham's approach, like the welcome clattering of hoofbeats when the cavalry's on the way. Picture this (I give it a year, maybe two): I am sitting in a random sports bar, some little joint off the highway on the way to nowhere. On the television screen, Sheringham heads in a Benayoun corner to give the Hammers an edge over their Real Madrid opponents. On the sidelines, Fabio Capello is spitting mad. Meanwhile, a guy walks up to the bar, says, "Hey, can you flip it over to the Steelers game?"

And the bartender says, "Sorry, man. We can't show American football. Not during Champions League knockouts. Nobody wants to see it."

It'll happen. (OK. Maybe not the part about the Hammers. A girl can dream.) When it does, you'll be able to draw a direct line straight back to the arrival of the blond man with the tiny voice and the beautiful moves.

My hero.

6 comments:

drgogol said...

Ashland!!!???!!!

Helluva schlep for a Timbers match, mate...

(The little pub down the stairs next to the river on the northern & eastern end of downtown always is nice.)

Lisa said...

Yeah, it'll be a long-distance love affair I have with the boys in green this summer. A melancholy prospect, but my blood pressure will be lower. An upside is that I won't have to drink that liquid weirdness they call wine at the Bullpen.

linda said...

I have to say, I wish Becks well. If he can turn soccer into a major sport in the US, then good for him. People are too hard on him in England, I reckon.

(He went to Real Madrid for non-sporting reasons? Yeah, because no one ever leaves Man Utd because of anything else, not even for what was the most exciting club in the world at the time.)

Anyway, rant over. I do sympathize with your plight - our version of Sky TV comes with some Premiership games, A-League coverage, and...EPSN. God. No La Liga.

xcout said...

I will love to hear that: we can't show anything else that Champions League knockouts!!

Lisa said...

Now I have to chew on a decision: retirement fund or Fox Soccer Channel? I'm thinking I should take the plunge and get the football, figuring I won't ever be able to retire, anyway...

Lynda said...

Lisa: this is a beautiful fantasy, and I hope it comes true. And as for the retirement versus FSC question...what's the point of living to retirement age anyhow if you can't watch footie?

Linda: no La Liga? Gasp! We complain a lot about the hardship of living in a soccer-unfriendly country but we are still pretty spoiled. We shell out a ridiculous amount of money for the package of Spanish-language channels we had to buy in order to watch La Liga, and try not to mentally add up what we'd save in a year if we cancelled it...

As to people trying to suss out Beckham's motivations for the Man U to RM switch...now I've read people online saying his signing with the Galaxy means he obviously doesn't care about football any more...right, since he was getting so much playing time at Real Madrid.