David Henry Sterry

Author, book doctor, raker of muck

David Henry Sterry

Tag: soccer

The Glorious World Cup presents: American Soccer Fanatic on Reuters

we’re all very excited to be on one of the great new services in the world today. Thank you Reuters.

http://blogs.reuters.com/soccer/

Birthday Boy Gets Severe World Cup Fever, Sex Worker Literati at Bowery Poetry Club & Essential Guide to Getting Published


Today is my birthday. I’m going to have very good pancakes and go see Henri Carter Bresson photographs and then some kind of spectacular meal and see some kind of spectacular theater. As I look back on May and forward to June there’s been so much done yet so much to do that my head spins. We finally got to the top of the mountain of The Essential Guide to Publishing a Book. The book is now in the hands of our incredibly excellent copy editor at Workman. It was a long excruciating climb through massive blizzards temperature dropping way below zero no sleep migraine clusterfuck headaches the closer we got to the less oxygen there was our Sherpas fled, and of course we’re hauling it 2 ½ year-old with us. Sadly, we lost a man. Milo didn’t make it this time. But he gave it his all, 110%, right til the very end. Given the proper burial and if there’s any justice, he’s up in Cat Heaven chasing that wind my, basking in the sun, frolicking in fields of catnip. But luckily, we have an incredible team at Workman, and we are planning a spectacular tour of these great United States, helping writers get well published.

The Glorious World Cup: A Fanatic’s Guide, kicked off, and the team has had a very bright beginning, lots of thrusting offense, some brave defending, and massive amounts of daily grinding. My partner in crime, San Francisco literary legend Alan Black, has been hacking and slashing all over the soccer blogosphere and set up a bunch of kick ass events in the Bay Area. Meanwhile, in my hometown of Montclair New Jersey, at my way awesome local book emporium Watchung Bookstore, we had a rocking soccer event as well. And here’s the beauty of both my new hometown and doing events at your local independent bookstore. I just happened to run into an expatriate Englishman who just happened to be purchasing a book. Turns out he works for Reuters, the international news service. Turns out he was looking for an American perspective on the world cup. I sent him something. He told me I needed to dial it back by approximately 42%. I did. And there it is, alive and kicking. We also had a piece of Arielle-related good fortune. She hooked us up with National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition. They asked us if we would like to be interviewed about the World Cup. We said yes. So on Thursday, through the miracle of modern technology, will be interviewed from Washington DC, with Alan in Berkeley, Ca, and myself in Montclair, NJ. I also put up a series of predictions for the World Cup which are extremely fanatical. The response has been amazing. I’ve been called everything from a fag to a genius, and I’ve made a new friend from Uruguay. And there it is, that’s the beauty of the beautiful game. So were going to San Francisco to do a bunch of soccer events. The big day is June 6. Three events I’m very excited about.

Major changes afoot with the Sex Worker Literati. We decided to move the show uptown. And by uptown, I mean the Bowery. Tres excited about our 1 year anniversary show at the legendary and absolutely fabulous Bowery Poetry Club. I just couldn’t think of a better place. Although I loved Happy Ending, it was just so tiny, and there was no stage. Now, the gloves are off. Throbbing music, wild stories of sex & $ from hard working hos, hustlers, call girls & rent boys, bumping burlesque, ribald questions and answers, I’m slightly dizzy with the possibilities. My most excellent new friend Zoe Hansen will be my cohost with the most. We’ll be taking the summer off, and having our 1 year anniversary extrvanganza in September. Details to follow. Audacia Ray will be continuing at Happy Ending Lounge, with a show entitled The Red Umbrella Project: http://www.redumbrellaproject.com/. This Thursday, totally psyched about my last Sex Worker Literati at Happy Ending: Passing and Coming Out, with amazing guests, Cameron were, Randy Newton, Sarah Jenny, and special guests from RentBoy.com, which has been much in the news recently due to some crazy political sex shenanigans.

Also, there’s a very cool event on Saturday, June 6, Sex Worker Cabaret. I had to drop out of the lineup, because of the events in San Francisco. But it’s a great great lineup, and I’m sad I won’t be part of it. http://www.sexworkercabaret.com/

Sex Worker Literati:
Thursday, June 3, 7:30 PM, 302 Broome St., New York City
Hos, Hooker, Call Girls and Rent Boys: http://bit.ly/afCbkh
Sex Worker Literati Facebook: http://bit.ly/a9HBw1

The Glorious World Cup:
Thursday, June 3, 7 PM, Green Apples Books, 506 Clement St., San Francisco (I will not be at this event, I will be doing a Sex Worker Literati that Happy Ending in New York City)
Saturday, June 5, 10 AM, NPR’s West Coast Live, Ferry Building, Embarcadero, SF
Saturday, June 5, 3 PM, Borders Books, 400 Post St., SF: http://bit.ly/bkTDrl
Saturday, June 5, 8 PM, Edinburgh Castle Pub, 950 Geary St., SF: http://bit.ly/9nF45r

(A goal will be built, and the public is welcome to take your best shot and try to beat yours truly, who will be manning the goal and talking a lot of smack)

The Glorious World Cup: http://bit.ly/ahXLPi
The Glorious World Cup Facebook in Korea: http://bit.ly/9WnpwC

Huffington Post piece: American Manhood from Mickey Mantle to Landon Manchild Donovan, and Why America Can When the World Cup: http://huff.to/c4OEri

Digital Sports Daily piece: http://bit.ly/cd9IE8

Largeheartedboy: http://bit.ly/cvnlLe

Glorious World Cup Predictions
Group A: http://bit.ly/b9DGs
Group B: http://bit.ly/ba99lC

Group C: http://bit.ly/bcqBFJ
Group D: http://bit.ly/bHMxnO

Group E: http://bit.ly/9Oy2sT
Group F: http://bit.ly/cn4xsW

Group H: http://bit.ly/bHKcPQ
Group G: http://bit.ly/b3wXnE

Final: http://bit.ly/949YrC

BEA pictures: http://bit.ly/ansbev
Olive: http://bit.ly/cyy4oH, http://bit.ly/9x0VCE, http://bit.ly/bLfwb4

The Glorious World Cup Presents: An America Soccer Fanatic’s Predictions for South Africa 2010 : Group H

GROUP H: YES: Spain & Chile NO: Honduras, Switzerland

Spain is in theory the #1 team in the world. They are the odds-on favorite to win the World Cup. They have an absolutely gorgeous goalscoring machine in Fernando Torres. His cheeks are so rosy and his eyelashes are so long, he looks like a cheesecake pinup model. And he can flat out play. They have a bad boy defender was perhaps the worst haircut at this edition of the World Cup, Carlos Puyol. “Tarzan” from Barcelona sports a ‘do that equal parts Conan the Barbarian, Prince Valiant, and trailer trash mullet. Many are predicting Spain are the will go all the way. I am not. While they have the capability of playing better than anyone, they have deep insecurities regarding their own national identity. They see themselves as the inferior cousins of Europe, and in the end they will fold like a house of cards, while falling apart like a cheap suit. Chile will make it through to the next round if for no other reason than their coach’s nickname is “The Madman”. Switzerland is much like a clock when it comes to soccer. They’re not fast, they’re not slow, they just keep on ticking. The good news is, they don’t allow very many goals. The bad news is, they almost score even less. Honduras? They have two chances of making it through to the next round. Slim and none.

The Glorious World Cup: A Fanatics Guide is, pound for pound, the funniest book about World Cup 2010 on the market today.

http://www.amazon.com/Glorious-World-Cup-Fanatics-Guide/dp/0451230205

The Glorious World Cup Presents: An America Soccer Fanatic’s Predictions for South Africa 2010 : Group G

GROUP G: YES: Brazil & Ivory Coast NO: Portugal, North Korea
Every World Cup has a group that makes its players and fans quiver in fright and shiver in terror: The Group of Death. And if you had to face Brazil, North Korea, Ivory Coast and Portugal, you’d be quivering and shivering too. Brazil is, and always will be, Brazil. Yes, they no longer play some football, but they’re so good they didn’t have room for one of the highest paid soccer players in the world, Ronaldinho. Robinho, Luisao, Kaka, with all their one name superstars, they are certainly the Madonna of world soccer. And this time around, they also have some bad ass defenders, and a hotshot goalie. Good luck everybody. That being said, last year in South Africa at about this time, Team USA laid some hard wood on Brazil, and should’ve beaten them handily in the Confederations Cup. Portugal has the player with the greatest ratio of pretty boy to talent of any athlete in the world. Cristiano Ronaldo is ridiculously, sickly talented, and so easy on the eyes it almost hurts to look at him. The downside: he’s a delicate genius, fragile as a hothouse flower. And while he is surrounded by lots of world-class one-name superstars like Deco and Nani, the only reason they got to South Africa was the Ingmar Bergman like death swoon that Sweden performed at the end of World Cup qualifying. The Ivory Coast should go a long way in this tournament. Didier Drogba is possibly the best striker in the world, a man with Michael Jordan like strength, skill and breathholding athleticism. He builds hospitals, he scores goals. Kolo Toure is not only a fun name to say out loud, he is also a wise and savvy hardman who has a nose for goal and a very talented younger brother named Yaya. “Yaya, Kolo, time for supper.” Then there’s Salomon Kalou. If Kolo Toure married Salomon Kalou, he’d be Kolo Kalou. Didn’t think I’d find a way to work gay marriage into the World Cup did you? The point is, Ivory Coast is packed with take-no-prisoner tough guys who are also highly skilled practitioners of their craft. I’ll say it again, the Ivory Coast should go a long way in this tournament. And then there’s North Korea. Yes, they will terrify people with their nuclear capability, and surprise people with their bright attacking style, but sadly, I believe the group of death will kill them.

The Glorious World Cup: A Fanatics Guide is, pound for pound, the funniest book about World Cup 2010 on the market today.

http://www.amazon.com/Glorious-World-Cup-Fanatics-Guide/dp/0451230205

The Glorious World Cup Presents: An America Soccer Fanatic’s Predictions for South Africa 2010 : Group F

GROUP F: YES: Italy & Paraguay NO: New Zealand, Slovakia
The last time we saw Italy at the World Cup Final, they were saying rude things about people’s sisters, getting head butted, and dancing gleefully with the trophy. They are back with much of the same crew intact. They still have that mad handsome dashing cat between the posts, Gianluigi Buffon. If he's not the best goalkeeper in the world, he's certainly on the short list. But they're old and they're slow and Gatusso, the barking dog, is getting long in tooth, his bark becoming increasingly worse than his bite. Yes, they will get through this round, if for no other reason than Buffon is no buffoon. But will they be the first repeat winners since Brazil almost half a century ago? I don't think so. No, make that, absolutely not. New Zealand? I just don't see it team named after a fruit, even a fruit as adorable as a kiwi, making it through. Slovakia? They got to South Africa courtesy of a Polish own goal, so I believe they are doomed. Paraguay’s best player has a world-class name, Roque Santa Cruz. The fact that they hacked their way out of the jungles of South America, (good preparation for success in almost any field) I believe they will make it through to the next round.

The Glorious World Cup: A Fanatics Guide is, pound for pound, the funniest book about World Cup 2010 on the market today.

http://www.amazon.com/Glorious-World-Cup-Fanatics-Guide/dp/0451230205

The Glorious World Cup Presents: An America Soccer Fanatic’s Predictions for South Africa 2010 : Group E

GROUP E: YES: Netherlands & Cameroon NO: Japan & Denmark
I can’t help it, I am so on love with this Holland team I want to marry it. .Robin van Persie is like a cross between Dutch Master Johann Cruyff and the little boy who put his finger in the dyke. Arjen Robbin, in addition to being an absolutely fabulous artiste with the ball at his feet, is also a diva of divers, ready to crumble in agony when struck by a stiff breeze. But can they win the whole thing? Absolutely not. They are, after all, Dutch. They will eventually, inevitably disintegrate like a bunch of spoiled high strung schoolgirls. The Danes have some seasoned veterans, but their dark brooding nature is an insurmountable obstacle. Cameroon, the Indomitable Lions (greatest team name ever!), do in fact have an indomitable lion spearheading their enterprise, the resplendent Samuel Eto’o. And they are buttressed by a splendid hardman who is part of World Cup history. Rigobert Song is not only the youngest player ever to be ejected from a World Cup, when he was given the heave ho at the tender age of 17. He is also one of two players to be sent off at two different World Cups. You may have heard of the other: Zinadane Zidane. I’m rooting for Rigobert to break the record. The Japanese have perhaps my favorite uniform in the tournament. But they can’t score goals. Which makes it very difficult to win games. So I believe Japan will fall on their own sword in South Africa.

The Glorious World Cup: A Fanatics Guide is, pound for pound, the funniest book about World Cup 2010 on the market today.

http://www.amazon.com/Glorious-World-Cup-Fanatics-Guide/dp/0451230205

The Glorious World Cup Presents: An America Soccer Fanatic’s Predictions for South Africa 2010 : Group D

GROUP D: YES: Serbia & Ghana NO: Australia & Germany
If Group G is the Group of Death, Group D is the Group of Do Not Resuscitate. A crazy melting pot of bizarre juxtapositions, these surreal pairings are just one of the reasons I love the World Cup above all other sporting events. Germany is, well, Germany. It doesn't really matter how much they suck leading up to the World Cup. They still have Thomas "Der Hammer” Hitzlberger, and all that maniacal Mercedes-Benz precision. But without Michael Ballack, their cultured, stylish, stiletto-sharp midfield maestro, they can't make it to the Finals. The Socceroos? How do you not love a country who calls their team that? And Australia has some playaz: Lucas Neill, a very handsome fellow you'd never want to meet in a dark alley in. Ghana is a fierce beast. Led by one of my favorite players on the planet, Michael "The Bison" Essien, the Black Stars are a dark horse capable of laying a righteous beat down on anyone. Serbia has been through so many brutal wars they can take anything you have to dish out and just stare back without blinking or batting an eye or a lash. They have a great hardman was a great hardman name: Vidic. Vidic the Impaler. Vidic the Slayer. Vidic the Vicious. They have a deep squad full of hard-working technicians of the highest caliber. I would not want to face them. Very tough group, I'm going way out on a limb here and picking Serbia and Ghana, but I don't feel good about it.

The Glorious World Cup: A Fanatics Guide is, pound for pound, the funniest book about World Cup 2010 on the market today.

http://www.amazon.com/Glorious-World-Cup-Fanatics-Guide/dp/0451230205

The Glorious World Cup Presents: An America Soccer Fanatic’s Predictions for South Africa 2010 : Group C

GROUP C: YES: USA & England NO: Algeria & Slovenia
June 12, 2010. USA versus England, the imperialist colonizers who taxed us with no representation. 60 years to the day after the greatest American sports upset you never heard of. 1950, World Cup, Brazil, long before information could fly around the world at the speed of light, a ragtag group of plucky, scruffy unknowns went up against England, the self-proclaimed "greatest soccer team in the world". No one gave uber-underdog Americans a ghost of a chance against the pampered, privileged, pedigreed professionals. How little the world has changed. England boasts a cavalcade of superstar millionaires with beautiful wives and girlfriends, some of whom their own teammates have sex with on the sly (giving the phrase, "I got your back," a whole new meaning). US is a 66-1 longshot. But mark my words and mark them well, if the holy triumvirate of T-Ho, the fiercely mighty Tim Howard, Clint Eastwood Dempsey, and Landon Manchild Donovan are all healthy, they will smack England down, just as they did 60 years ago. Algeria? Slovenia? Thank you for coming to the dance, better luck next time. And don't think this draw is an accident. The powers that be, and all their money, desperately want America and England to: a) play each other in their debuts with galatic ratings off the charts; 2) make it through to the next round against some weak-ass opponents. All due respect to Alvenia and Slogeria. In fact, there's A LOT riding on the US hosting the World Cup in the near future. Don't be surprised to see self-confessed soccer fanatic President Barack Obama give some serious face time to South Africa this summer.

The Glorious World Cup: A Fanatics Guide is, pound for pound, the funniest book about World Cup 2010 on the market today.

http://www.amazon.com/Glorious-World-Cup-Fanatics-Guide/dp/0451230205

The Glorious World Cup Presents: An America Soccer Fanatic’s Predictions for South Africa 2010 : Group B

GROUP B: YES: Argentina & Nigeria NO: South Korea & Greece

Argentina has, pound-for-pound, the greatest player in the world, The Flea with the genius feet, Lionel Messi. Yes, he does weigh 104 lbs. soaking wet, but still, the man is a maestro, a modern artist/dancer/madman. Problem is, Argentina also has the craziest coach, not just in soccer, but in any sport (and that’s a bold statement given the well-documented craziness of coaches), scorer of probably the greatest individual goal in World Cup history, Diego Maradona. They will make it through by sheer dint of the miniscule magician. With midfield marvel John Obi Wan Kanobi Mikel waving his wand doling out punishment, they will be a scary scary foe. Even though Greece recently won the European championship, and have a most excellent team, their entire economy’s in the toilet, so naturally they’re going to tank. South Korea has the hardest working soccer player in show business, Manchester United’s Energizer Bunny, Park-Ji-Sung, but after that they are woefully thin and wickedly undermanned.

http://www.amazon.com/Glorious-World-Cup-Fanatics-Guide/dp/0451230205

Glorious World Cup Prediction Group A: Mexico, Uruguay, France, South Africa

Hundreds of millions of humans will soon gather in bars, barns, parks, taverns, caverns, caravans, caves and bunkers, some crossing vast deserts just to find a radio so they can listen to a sporting extravaganza that’ll be bigger than the Super Bowl, Stanley Cup, NBA Finals and will at the Ohio 200 of them “World” Series all rolled into one. It’s humanity’s biggest pilgrimage: the World Cup. The pot’s been simmering for four years, and it’s finally coming to a boil. 204 teams played 848 matches and scored 2,337 goals, battling hammer and tong, tooth and nail for the right to become one of the chosen 32 nations who gets a chance to bring home both the bacon and the gory. June 11, 2010, strap it on and strap him yourself in, as the mother of all sporting events crashlands for the first time in history on the mother of all continents. Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for, live from a Jo’berg, it’s, World Cup 2010 South Africaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!
The World Cup is a month long marathon disguised as a series of furious sprints. Lemme break it down fa ya. Group Stage: 8 groups of 4 teams. Everybody plays 3 games. Top 2 go teams through. Elimination Stage: win and live to fight another day; lose & it’s instant extermination.

GROUP A: YES: France & South Africa NO: Mexico & Uruguay
Call me a cockeyed optimist, but I’m picking South Africa make it through to the round of 16. Bafana Bafana, Zulu for “the Boys”, has a world-class forward in double-somersaulting Stephen Pienaar, and a hulking, humongous, yet surpisingly skillful shaved-bald defender in Matthew Booth, who looks shockingly like a huge Q-tip. Plus they will have the maniacal sound of 1 billion vuvuzelas, their ear-bleedingly loud local noisemakers, trumpeting their every triumph. Plus this is a nation that overcame hatred and pain in part through the beautiful game. Call me a bitter cynic, but I’m also picking France to advance. After the galling display of Gallic dishonor in the infamous Hand of Henry cheating scandal, they’ve come to represent the way the world is now. Turns out cheating is, after all, the best way to win. If you don’t believe me, go ask Goldman Sachs. Mexico? Having watched the fiery Mexicans go cold in the hot spotlight so many times over the decades, I believe our neighbors to the south are a taco short of a Combo Platter. Uruguay? Too much bad karma. Their legacy of World Cup brutality is well documented, most famously in the person of José Batista, ejected 53 seconds into a 1986 game for chopping a Scotsman in half.

Huffington Post: American Manhood, from Mantle to Manchild Donovan & Why America Can Win World Cup 2010

Thanks once again to the Huffington Post for giving me some love. Nice to see World Cup fever is spreading.

http://huff.to/c4OEri

The Glorious World Cup presents: Photos from an American Soccer Fanatic

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Musical Playlist & Interview for Glorious World Cup from Largeheartedboy

I love this website, and the guy who runs it is way cool, David Gutowski. i had a blast putting this 2gether.

2010-fifa-world-cup-south-africa-artwork-wallpaper pg-44-iggy-pop-ap

http://www.largeheartedboy.com/blog/archive/2010/05/book_notes_davi_13.html

 

 

The Glorious World Cup

To buy the book click here.

glorious world cup_If a guide book was a riot, then this is it. The Glorious World Cup is a smash and grab read with propellant laughs, and wicked satire. Expect some crunching tackles on the establishment with profiles on hooligans, World Cup villains and serious national grudges. Stuffed with country and player profiles, bags of footie history, and all you need to know about South Africa. Shooting on target are contributors Irvine Welsh, author of Trainspotting, best-selling author Po Bronson, and the world’s best soccer writer, Simon Kuper. This is the rebel guide for the soccer masses and the fanatic. Score one.

Now you know…

*1 million condoms have recently been shipped to South Africa.

*USA v England on June 12, the second day of the tournament, around the 60th anniversary of one of the World Cup’s most famous matches – USA’s shock 1-0  victory over England in the 1950 tournament in Brazil.

*The first recorded soccer game in America took place at Plymouth Rock on what is now known as Thanksgiving.  They used a pumpkin for a ball.

*Henry Kissinger is soccer mad. Kobe Bryant too.

Welcome to the club.

The Glorious World Cup getting a very nice shout out from Washington Post: Original article.

From Library Journal:

A fun yet informative guide to the World Cup, this inexpensive volume provides group match ups, player and country profiles, trivia, and brief histories to cups of the past. Generously illustrated, the book is ideal for reading on your flight to observe the World Cup firsthand-or for browsing between television viewings….a useful guide to casual or serious soccer fan.

 

Eulogy for Milo

 

May brought the first summer day in 2010, when it’s so hot you sweat just breathing, and the streets shimmer in protest. As we were broiling in the car struggling in the parking lot that was Rt. 3E just outside the Lincoln Tunnel, I was overcome with the hubris of we humans, chanting like ravenous jackals, “Drill, baby, drill!” And I imagined Mother Nature shaking her head in disgust as the latest national unnatural disaster is unleashed. I’m just so angry when I see the pictures and contemplate the massive clusterfuck gushing into the Gulf Coast waters. But then Olive started singing, “American Pie” from the back seat, and I had hope again. Olive is 2 ½. Not 2. 2 ½. May be a most excellent mother. The new book drops on May 4. Doing event at my favorite local bookstore, Watchung Bookstore. And of course another month brings another Sex Worker Literati.

America Doesn’t Suck After All: Confederation Cup 2009, South Africa

Hear that faint distant humming sound, like a billion buzzing bees? That’s the sound of millions of soccer fanatics ratcheting their vuvuzela noisemakers as they gear up for what is predicted to be biggest sporting event on the planet: World Cup 2010 in South Africa. For the uninitiated, it’s like the Stanley Cup, NBA championship, Super Bowl, US Opens (golf and tennis) and the World Series all rolled into one. World Series? What world is that? No, in soccer, World Cup means everyone in the whole wide world has a chance to win. And because it’s the first time the tournament has been held on the African continent, this World Cup promises to be a Nelson Mandela, Euro-samba oriental blowout of global proportion.

Which brings us to South Africa, June, 2009, where poor, pitiful, ragtag Team USA was scheduled to compete in the last major tournament before next summer’s World Cup. Going up against a galaxy of Goliaths: 2006 champions Italy; world numero uno Spain; and mighty mighty Brazil. Armed without even a slingshot, based on their recent mauling at the hands of Costa Rica where they played like a bunch of soccer moms.

It’s been hard to be American lately. When you go into a bar basically anywhere in the world and say you’re American, people often look at you like you just tried to kill their dog. Bombing civilians, raping the landscape, setting up puppet governments and trading blood for oil. These are just some of the answers to the question that I’ve heard so many bewildered, innocent looking Americans ask: Why do they hate us? But if you are a member of the American national soccer team, you have felt hated for decades. You’ve had foreign fans throw coins, batteries, even baggies full of warm urine/hot p*ss at you all over the world. Worse, you’ve been the object of pity. The butt of jokes. Because so often you have just plain sucked. Sure, every once in awhile Team America would make a little splash. And they have come to dominate what is a very weak region of the soccer world. But time and time again, when they come up against the big boys, they have turned from men into mice.

So, as America opened up against Italy, they seemed nervous, shaky, and insecure, like a homeowner six months behind on the mortgage who’s expecting a foreclosure notice any second. For one brief shining moment there was a ray of hope, as the penalty machine himself, former golden boy Landon Donovan, slotted home a penalty kick. Shockingly America had a lead. Before you could say badda bing badda boom, they were drowning in wave after wave of pressure from men with vowels at the ends of their names. Suddenly Italy was up 3-1. But it wasn’t just the fact that Team America was bitch-slapped so badly. It was the fact that they looked like a mediocre college team trying to play against the Yankees. The salt in the wound came courtesy of two brilliantly taken goals scored by a guy from New Jersey. Because his parents happen to be Italian, he got to choose which country to play for. He chose Italy over us. Bastard.

That’s when the nightmare really began. Because next up were the kings of soccer, the team that puts the beautiful in the beautiful game, Brazil. Sure enough, the samba masters toyed with the red white and blue like an alpha cat with three blind mice. The low point was when Brazil scored on an American corner kick. In football terms, that’s like being on your opponent’s goal line, handing them the ball, and watching them run 99 yards for a touchdown. The final score, 3-0, in no way reflected the utter degrading humiliation that Brazil laid on America in this righteous smack down. If not for T-Ho, the indomitable goalkeeper Tim Howard, the score could have been 10-0.

A great cry was heard on the World Wide Web: Fire Coach Bradley! He is home grown, not a fancy foreign import, but he is untested on the world stage. Plus, his son plays almost every minute of every game. And recently his son had been “skinned” as they say, turned inside out by an attacker, made to look like a rank pansy amateur. The heat was on. America had one game left, against Egypt. Who, miraculously, had beaten Italy. Which made America’s dismal loss to the Italians seem even worse. And Egypt had scored three goals against Brazil. Although they had allowed four. Still, Brazil had whipped America like a dominatrix at a submissiveness convention. So a stake was poised over the heart of Team America. Well, there was a tiny, slim, infinitesimal chance. But judging by how badly they had sucked, the fat lady was warming up to sing. By all accounts the Americans should have just pack their bags, and slunk away in shame, tails between their legs, licking their wounds.

Then something strange happened. America started being, well…America. Whatever America has had success on the world soccer stage, it’s because they worked harder, ran more, through their bodies around with mad abandon, left their hearts, guts, and nuts out on the field. Suddenly, against Egypt, the Americans were playing balls out. Flying around the field like this might be the last game I ever played. Not just in this tournament, but in their whole lives. Lo and behold, they got a lucky break. Funny how that works right? You bust your ass, you play with crazy passion, and all of a sudden you get a lucky break. How lucky? In this case, new boy Ricky Davies actually scored off the Egyptian goalkeepers face. Not how they draw it up on the instructional video. Abut a goal is a goal. The news came in from the Brazil-Italy game. Brazil was running roughshod over the suddenly hapless Italians. If Brazil could get three goals ahead, and America could win by three goals, the miracle would be manifest, and the USA would be through to the next round. Nose to grindstone, pedal to metal, fingers to bone, America scrapped and clawed, and there was Michael Bradley, son of the coach, stroking the ball home like an old pro. Scoring a goal for his old man on Fathers Day. Word came in that Brazil had spanked the haughty Italians sufficiently. America needed one more goal. They needed a hero. That’s when Clint Eastwood Dempsey made America’s day, streaking into the Egyptian goalmouth, muscling a header past the traumatized goalkeeper. Miraculously, America was through to the next round.

Now all they have to do was go up against Spain, the number one soccer team in the world, a bunch of it pretty, pampered, delicate genius multimillionaires who recently won the European Championship. To put it in perspective, the American striker Jozy the Pussycat Altidor can’t even crack the lineup of the second division Spanish team. But the USA came out guns blazing against the Spanish Armada: chins thrust forward, Devil may care glint in the eye, a jaunty red white and blue spring in the step. While the Spaniards looked like they sincerely believed all they have to do was throw their jockstraps out onto the field, and the uncultured, uncouth, uncool Americans would bow down before them. The Spaniards were in for a rude awakening. From the get-go the Spaniards were full of brilliance. And arrogance. While the Americans had a fire in their belly, and threw themselves relentlessly in front of everything the Spanish could muster. They chased and harried like hungry pack animals looking to feed. Their naked aggression seemed to offend delicate geniuses of Spain. Time and again, one day were tackled and stripped nude of the ball, they stood and counted like sulking children.

And then there was Jozy the Pussycat Altidor, being fed the ball at the top of the penalty box. In every contact sport there is that mano y mano moment where it becomes one man’s strength against another. It’s caveman primal. Can I beat you down? Or will you beat me down? Jozy Altidor proved to be the better man, kicking sand in the face of the feeble Spaniard like he was a 98 pound weakling. Having bested his foe, the Pussycat took its sweet time; set his sights, locked and loaded, and pulled the trigger like that’s what he was born to do. 1-0. The world bugged its eyes, palms outstretched as if to say, “OH MY GOD!”

Wave after wave of the Spanish Armada tried to land on American shores. But each time, led by Oguchi Double O Onyewu, they were thwarted by another proud American giving up his body for his country. Once again, T-Ho was a God, repelling attacks with a fierce animal agility combined with a mind of a brilliant tactician.

There’s an old rule of love and war. When you attack him from the front, you leave your back door open. And the increasingly frantic Spaniards did just that, committing forces willy-nilly upfront, while their unprotected ass was sticking right up in the air. And there was Landon Donovan, restoring some of the golden boy luster, driving with the ball at his feet, making things happen, putting in nasty little cross. Still, the Spaniards had the situation well in hand. Except for two things. Their arrogance. And good old American never-say-quit. Clint Eastwood Dempsey, this time like a sneak thief in the night, nipped behind a multimillionaire Spanish defender, who had casually, thinking he had all the time in the world because he was so rich, talented, and dashingly handsome, trapped the ball right in front of his own goal. With some serious foot-is-quicker-than-the-eye action, Clint had the ball in the Spanish net before the Spaniards could say OLE OLE. On the replay there was a fantastic shot of the Spanish defender, beautiful as a supermodel, and just as confused and vacant, with a look on his face that clearly showed his brain trying to understand, “How did that just happened?”

America, that’s how that happened. Say adios, Spain! Team America had, against all odds, and with a horrifying start it seemed to confirm their own patheticality, made it to their first final of any FIFA championship. Now all they have to do was put away mighty mighty Brazil.

But the strut was still in the stride of Team USA. They were bright, confident almost cocky. Stroking the ball around, defending with calm assurance, attacking intelligently and economically. America was playing like, well…Brazil. Even more shockingly, Brazil was playing like America at her worst. Giving the ball away sloppy, passing the ball to no one in particular, crying like little bitches when they get hit. Then in the blink of an eye, very was again, Clint Eastwood Dempsey. With a silky delicate world-class touch, he massaged the ball into the Brazilian net like tantric master. USA 1. Brazil 0. Not by some crazy fluke. This is the real shock. USA deserved to be beating Brazil.

Naturally Brazil brought it hard and heavy. But the USA stood strong. At one point Carlos Bocanegra was riding Brazilian superstar Kaka like a pony. And once again, when you attack from the front, you leave the back door open. From Brazil pressure, America made a defensive stop, in three quick passes later, Landon Donovan evolved from golden boy into golden man. He made a monkey out of the Brazilian defense, and like a lion ripping the jugular of the throat of an antelope he slammed the ball home, triggering a wild red white and blue celebration. If you had offered a betting man $100 that the US would be going into the final of the Confederation Cup leading Brazil 2-0, you would’ve gotten looks suggesting your insanity, and 1000-1 odds.

But as soon as the second half started, Brazil demonstrated why they’re Brazil. Out of nowhere, out of nothing, a quick Brazilian pirouette followed by a slashing shot from Fabiano, and America was digging the ball out of their own net. USA 2. Brazil 1.

This is where USA teams of yore would have folded like a house of crooked cards. But not this team. They didn’t panic. They didn’t freak out. They kept defending. They kept attacking. And all the while, T-Ho the Magnificent was a true tower of power, near post, far post, and everywhere in between. He even showed some excellent acting skills, convincing everyone he had saved a Brazilian header which clearly crossed the goal line. Although he didn’t win an Oscar, he was named Goalkeeper of the Tournament.

But Brazil is, after all, Brazil. And they kept knock knock knocking on the door. Finally America cracked, just a little. A defender missed a clearance, the ball bounced kindly off a post, and suddenly the score was tied. As an American, with each second that ticked by, you hoped for the best, but you just had a feeling that somehow Brazil was going to find a way. That’s what they do, these world champions. They find a way.

America made it all the way to the 85th minute. 17/18ths of the way through the game. Then it happened. A big booming back post header. Brazil 3. USA 2. Even so, in the 88th minute, the USA had a free header right in front of goal. All they had to do was put away. But they didn’t. Brazil wins the Confederation Cup. Again. Ho-hum.

America didn’t win their first international soccer tournament. But sometimes winning isn’t the only thing. Sometimes getting to the finals is the next step toward winning the finals. We saw it with the Lakers this year. We saw it when Michael Jordan kept getting beaten up by the Detroit Bad Boys before he became the King of the World. Team USA showed that they can play with the big boys. They turned from mice into men right before our eyes. They hope that they can continue to be the Cinderella who ends up with the glass slippers back here in South Africa at World Cup 2010.

And just for today anyway, it really doesn’t suck at all to be an American.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-henry-sterry/america-doesnt-suck-after_b_222031.html

 

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