If you’re a betting person, America’s chances of winning are 80 to1. This doesn’t seem too bad considering that our first game is against England where our odds of winning are about 7 to 1. It would be about the same as us beating Italy or Brazil.
I used to play soccer when I was a kid. I was on two different teams. But when I moved to Hawaii, soccer wasn’t a big sport for boys to play there. You either played baseball or football and I played both sports until I hit my freshman year of high school.
I had played sports all my life but it was the summer of my freshman year that my mom said, “You sure you want to play high school football? I mean, you’re not very good at it.” That was the day that I stopped playing organized sports and even stopped watching them on TV. Not having to play on a team was one of the biggest burdens that I have ever had lifted off my shoulders. It freed me up to do other things, like learning to play pool and body-board.
I’ve always been the type of person who’d rather be playing the sport than watching it on TV. I kind of understood how people could sit around and watch a whole three hour baseball game, but only because I grew up watching the Cardinals until I moved to where they didn’t show it on TV. But to sit around and watch a 90 minute soccer game? That was unthinkable. That was until I moved in with my college roommate who was from Oman. Soccer or “football,” was his sport and Manchester United was his team. Everything would stop when they were playing a game, including classes.
I still remember the first year I watched the World Cup. It was in 2002 at my other Omani friend’s apartment, which was famously known as “415”. The USA was doing well in the tournament and I would brag every time they’d win a game. I believe the US won their first three games and by this time the shit talking was in full-effect. I would come over to friend’s apartment every morning after each game and say, “Did you see the game?” Like I was some sort of World Cup aficionado.
All soccer clubs have a song or chant they do and this was mine, “What’cha mutha-fucka’s gonna do, when we beat the shit outta you, you, you?” I chanted this pointing at the TV and to my Arab friends.
They took delight in my new found soccer enthusiasm, but knew it would be short lived once the US lost; which we did, I believe on the fourth game.
So what did I do when my friends were proved right and the USA lost? I did what any red-blooded American man would do after talking to shit to a bunch of Arabs. I took my medicine like a man—three days later.
I had decided that I needed a cooling off period, so I just stopped going over to their apartment for a few days. But I couldn’t stay away from them too long and when I returned it was on.
“Ahhhhhhhh!!! Kaaadooo!! Kaaadooo!!!” They teased rolling their tongues making the high pitched noise. They sounded like a bunch of coo-coo clocks. And I know that “Kaaadooo,” doesn’t actually mean anything, it was just their war-cry and a way to say, “You lost mutha-fucka,” as lovingly as they could.
I have not watched another World Cup as intently as I watched the one in 2002. I did watch the entire Italy versus France game in 2006. But this time I would like to catch a few games that the US is in and as long as they do well, I will follow it again. If not I’ll be like every other average American male and say, “Soccer’s for pussies.” But regardless of how well the US team does, it won’t be the same without my Omani brothers yelling, “Kaaadooo, Kaaadooo! You lost mutha-fucka!”