‘Tis true, what it says in Ecclesiastes. Fittingly then, I am going to re-post here a couple of articles I wrote a few years back, both related to current events: in honour of the World Cup, I give you my essay about attending a Serie A match in Italy in 2013 (though ’twas published in 2014); and not in honour but given that the Calgary Stampede has just started up, I give you this piece from three years back.
Although I have been watching some of the Women’s World Cup, I freely admit that it is not anywhere as interesting as the World Cup (i.e., the men’s tournament). I love soccer and even spent a tiny fortune a couple of years ago in Italy to attend a Serie A match.
But the women’s game is just, well, kind of boring. It isn’t that the Women’s World Cup athletes aren’t extraordinary and talented. Of course, they are. So what are the differences and why isn’t the women’s game as exciting? I think Duleep Allirajah sums up the matter here. I would agree with the reasons he gives for the discrepancies, though he leaves one out of the equation: for reasons on which I can’t quite put my finger, it is not nearly as much fun to make World War II jokes while watching the Women’s World Cup. For example, as I type this, I am watching the Germany-England third place match. And even though the English have a goalkeeper named Chamberlain, I can’t muster up a good Sudetenland joke!
Why is that?
In part, it may be that there were not female soldiers in combat during World War II. But maybe there are other reasons. I don’t know. Perhaps we don’t think of women as warriors (silly, as women can be far more vicious and petty fighters than men), or maybe it all comes down to the lack of physical power and speed in the women’s game, making it less likely to inspire a “panzer” joke. Whatever the reasons, it’s a crying shame, because the final tomorrow is a U.S.-Japan battle.
I’ll be watching, but I won’t be screaming “Tora, Tora, Tora!”
In honour of MLB season starting up, and for my friend Gerry — who loves baseball — and in memory of my late brother, Alan — who used to regale me with tales of his Little League days — I give you a few seconds of Italian Little League batting practice. I stood next to this young man’s proud parents last Saturday morning in Perugia, and chatted with them. (The video is very short, because they seemed a bit perplexed that I was filming/taking pics. Can’t say I blame them.) It was a complete fluke that I discovered the league. I was just out for a walk in some green space on the periphery of the city. They are under-14s, and from what I could see, quite passionate. Mind you, Italians seem passionate all the time about everything.