So I'm watching the most important, exhilarating, satisfying game of the Mavericks' season last night when my Twitter is suddenly bombarded with … soccer?
S'rnuff. "Turn on U.S.-MEX and watch a real sport!' one follower implored. And another: "How can you not root for your country to win this huge match?"
That's it. I've had it up my crossbar with soccer dorks trying to convince/persuade/bully me into thinking their sport is:
I don't hate the game. I really don't. In fact, my first job as a professional sports writer was covering the Dallas Sidekicks. I've covered a World Cup. I played indoor and outdoor leagues, even one recently for Over-40 dudes. I coached my step-son's youth team for four years alongside a former soccer star who played at Richardson Pearce High School and Texas Tech. I know soccer. I just don't love it. And it apparently that is not okay.
But, after last night, I'm certainly not moved to watch it over an NBA game. Here's why:
The Mavericks are surging. They're within one game of .500, within one game of shaving their beards and within one game of the playoffs. While the Lakers are reaching for their throats, the Mavs are grabbing for their razors. It's great stuff, and last night at American Airlines Center was electric.
Dirk vintaged his way to eight points in overtime and 33 overall as Dallas won a must-win game over the Western Conference elite Clippers. Lamar Odom was showered with boos. O.J. Mayo hit a game-tying layup. Smirkin' jerk Matt Barnes air-balled a crucial 3-pointer.
Best part? When regulation ended with a tie score, the players didn't assault the referees, strip off their shirts, shake hands and go home. Nope – I hope you're sitting down for this novel idea – they kept playing until somebody won, and somebody lost.
Not so down in Mexico City, where we're being led to believe today that the U.S. "won" a game in which it never ever never even scored. Welcome to soccer.
It's a good sport. Great for kids via fitness and agility and foot-eye coordination and learning the values of sharing and teamwork. But ties? C'mon. They're reserved for Bruce Bowen and calf ropin' and – since they're like kissin' your sister – Kate Upton's brother.
The U.S., attempting to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, earned a precious point against Mexico. But they did it by not scoring, getting out-shot a whopping 19-1 and by having two blatant penalties in the area (each should've resulted in a penalty kick) inexplicably go uncalled. Final score: Nil-Nil. Yawn-Yawn.
Maybe for a lot of Americans soccer should just increase the value of a goal to, say, 7 points so it would feel more like a touchdown. But even under that innovative scoring system, last night would've ended 0-0.
Just because I don't love soccer doesn't mean I don't understand soccer. I just love the NBA and the Mavericks more.
A lot more.
So put a sock in your soccer already.
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