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An Ethiopian woman's musings on Africa, the world and everything in between

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        Global Voices Online - The world is talking. Are you listening?
        Saturday, June 17, 2006
        Soccer gives the world a much needed break

        What quadrennial sporting extravaganza brings the world together for weeks on end, transcending war, poverty, class, and culture, and culminating in the most watched television event ever? If you guessed the Olympics, odds are you're an American. The rest of the world knows better…And while the month-long spectacle may not leave much of an impression on Americans, for most other nations it is an incomparable event.

        It is too bad that the world cup does not occur every year to give us a break from gloomy realities, especially in Africa. There is hardly positive news about Africa, but now, the focus is on the African teams participating in the world cup.

        Soccer pushed politics to the sideline [in Ivory Coast] when the Elephants qualified for their first World Cup last fall. Since then, the team - made up of players of various ethnic backgrounds from both the rebel-held North and the government-controlled South - has represented national unity, something that the country desperately needs if it is to preserve its tenuous peace while moving toward disarmament and fall elections.

        Somethings will never change, unfortunately.
        While Angola's team put up a good fight against Mexico (0-0),the poor in the capital, Luanda, still can't get a break from cholera - soccer or no soccer. The New York Times tells us that "Economists say the government simply has more money than it can spend." Now too much dough is the problem?

        Then there are children who hand-saw the footballs at a cost of their health and their childhood.

        My personal issue with this year’s world cup is that I’m watching it in the US. It is just uninspiring to watch soccer in my neighbourhood. Totally boring. This is because I compare it to what goes on during the The drama, the preparations, the plans what to do with the kids while the grown ups are watching football etc. can be nerve wrecking. My husband and I are still trying to understand football, and it is hard for our neighbours to explain the rules while watching the game on TV. Sentences are never finished – "Now when he passes the ball to him and he runs beyond that line… Yeah! That's what I'm talking about, baby! Shit, did you see that?" Ehm, not really.

        The live transmission thing is not working out for me either. Who has time to watch TV at 11:30am and 2:15pm in the same day. With live online coverage, there is no avoiding learning about the scores instantly (without watching the game). That takes the whole fun of watching the game after knowing the results. My alternative has been to watch a repeat of the game on the Spanish channel with hyper commentators, who make you nervous. When the game starts and the first player barely touches the ball, the commentator starts screaming as if it were a goal already. There is one who even sings “La la la la…” in the middle of the game. When a commentator screams for nothing, it makes you feel as if you missed something cool, and you start asking around “what just happened?” To make the screaming worse, Ronaldo of Brazil was clumsy throughout the game against Australia. Have you seen the way he was dragging himself on those stairs when the plays were returning after the break?

        This World Cup has made me realize how much I’ve failed my children. Because we the parents don’t understand American football, we kept them quite ignorant about the rules and fun of football. This is our first World Cup in the US. We felt that we had to live a wholesome life without television during the last one. When we realized that we had pushed our children to wanting to be adopted by the neighbours who own 5 TV sets, we gave in and bought one to keep our children from running away from home. In retrospect – WHAT WAS I THINKING rejecting the perfect babysitter? The kids have never seen mom and dad being so loud and rude to strangers on TV. At times, they were even on the verge of being upset because we were so loud. I had to sit them down and tell them that while watching soccer, we are not really mom and dad. We become somebody else like when the prince in Sleeping Beauty was under a spell and he becomes a monster. Thank God for TV and Disney – I can communicate with my children better! Also, thanks to soccer I'm having a break from trying to look a prim and proper mom in front of the kids, and become temporarily hooligan.
        posted by Fikirte @ 2:52 AM   Digg!
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